Buhari, Obasanjo, Jonathan, govs mourn as Balarabe Musa dies at 84
He was a principled progressive politician, says Tinubu
The death of former governor of old Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, in the early hours of yesterday has thrown Nigerians into mourning.
Musa died at the age of 84 years.
Senator Shehu Sani, a leading member of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), first confirmed his death on Wednesday. Musa was Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PRP until he quit active politics last year.
He was elected governor of Kaduna State in 1979 during the Second Republic. He was, however, impeached on June 23, 1981.
He died in his Ungwar Rimi residence in Kaduna. His family confirmed his death to The Guardian.
It was gathered that the elder statesman had heart problem, some years back, which got worse in recent weeks, leading to his death yesterday.
His son, Kazeem Balarabe-Musa, who spoke with The Guardian on the telephone, said: “It is true that Baba has died; he died this morning, about an hour ago (at about 8am).
“Alhaji died at home. You know, he had heart problem some years ago. But, for some weeks now he has not been feeling fine.”Shehu Sani had, in his earlier announcement of the death, expressed shock and grief at the death of Musa, who was also the chairman of the Conference of National Political Parties (CNPP). He said: “Alhaji Balarabe Musa, the former governor of Kaduna State and the leader of the PRP has died.”
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari lamented that Nigerians would sorely miss the former civilian governor as a voice for the voiceless.
He said Musa reflected the passion and vigour that heralded Nigeria’s independence, which translated into activism for return to democracy at the height of military rule, stressing that he left a bold footprint on Nigeria’s democracy.
Musa, he added, would be remembered by posterity for promoting good governance.
The President, whose reaction is contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, prayed God to grant the bereaved family comfort.
EX-PRESIDENTS, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, also expressed sadness at the death of Musa. While Obasanjo described him as a patriot whose death was received with deep shock, Jonathan said the former Kaduna State governor was a sincere politician who protected the interest of the people.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, Obasanjo said Musa had unwavering belief in a greater Nigeria. Jonathan noted that Musa was a highly principled politician, who avoided convenient politics and relentlessly pursued his beliefs, even at the risk of suffering personal losses.
GOVERNORS also expressed grief at the death of Musa as they eulogised his sterling qualities.Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, described the death as a huge loss to the country.
His message, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Terver Akase, described the deceased as a true patriot, who made his views known on national issues in an unbiased manner and contributed in several other ways to nation building.
While the Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, said the late Musa was a politician, who gave his all for the people he served without expecting anything in return; Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, said Musa would be remembered as a progressive politician who tried in his time as governor to expand opportunity for ordinary people.
Fayemi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Yinka Oyebode, described the former governor as an icon of democracy in Nigeria and a champion of the downtrodden.
Fayemi, who is also the chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), said the late former Kaduna governor was a father figure of opposition politics, who spoke the truth to the governments of the day without fear or favour.
El-Rufai said Kaduna State is proud of the public service Musa rendered to the state and its people.
“Alhaji Balarabe Musa will be remembered as a progressive politician who tried in his time as governor to expand the horizons of opportunity for ordinary people.
“He made notable contributions to industrialise the state. As a leader, he demonstrated at the ballot box, the capacity of a political party devoted to the protection of the interest of ordinary people to acquire power democratically.
“As a private citizen, he projected the qualities of principled politics, decency, integrity, consistency and commitment to improving the lives of our ‘talakawa’ in Kaduna State and Nigeria.”
AFENIFERE chief, Ayo Adebanjo, also expressed sadness over the passing of Musa, saying he was in the class of the late Alhaji Aminu Kano,
“who stood solidly for the masses and did not crave for money or wealth.” Describing him as a progressive, he recalled that Musa was a member of National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) during the military regime of the late Gen. Sani Abacha.
The Yoruba Council of Elders, in a statement made available available to The Guardian in Ibadan through its Secretary-General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, described the death of the Second Republic governor as a loss of a patriot.
Dr. Olajide said: “Nigeria has lost an elder statesman. He was a patriotic Nigerian. He played his part well as an administrator and a politician.”
The Conference Of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, said the death was highly regrettable because it came at a trying times of the nation.
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) said Musa demonstrated sterling qualities as a veteran politician, starting in his days as “an active member of the Northern Elements Progressively Union NEPU.”
In a statement, the ACF spokesman, Emmanuel Yawe, said the late politician would be remembered for the legacies he left behind. A national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and a former governor of Lagos State, Ahmed Tinubu, described Musa as a statesman and principled progressive politician.
“He was very uncompromising. He stood unwaveringly by his convictions even at the height of his impeachment by the NPN-controlled state Assembly in 1981.”
He added that the entire country, particularly the talakawas, for his consistent struggle and commitment to social and economic change, would sorely miss him.
Similarly, a former liaison officer to the late President Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai; and President, Women Arise and Centre for Change, Dr. Joe Okei Odumakin, said the death of Musa was an exit of a titan.
They agreed that Musa did not allow wealth to control his life as a nationalist, describing his death as a great loss to the country.
MEANWHILE, Musa, at his last moment shortly before he passed on, told The Guardian, exclusively, that he had handed the future of the nation to God.
Musa spoke with The Guardian on phone three days before his demise, saying he was not disposed to speak on the EndSARS protests and other national woes again because of his failing health.
He said: “I have been very sick for the past four weeks. I have avoided comments about Nigeria for now and let us leave the future of the nation to God.
“I have been receiving treatment. Everything is alright with my body, it is only my legs now. And it has affected my breathing. I can’t walk well.”
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