Balarabe Musa: A study in simplicity, selflessness and honesty
Alhaji Musa, the crusader of the Talakawas’ rights and a revolutionary crusader for change in Nigeria, had been battling with heart disease for decades, according to the family sources. He was flown to Hungary for a major surgery by the Kaduna State Government, which was carried out successfully.
However, since his return, Musa continued his fight for the emancipation of the Talakawas through his political ideology embedded in the principles of the socialist mantra, under the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), in the belief that one day the country’s economy and polity would be rescued from the capitalist elites.
But his ambition of a total transformation of the nation and upliftment of the social, economic, and political superstructure could not be achieved in his lifetime, as death took him away in the early morning of last Wednesday when he breathes his last at his residence in Ungwar Rimi GRA in the presence of family members.
Musa’s son, Kazeem Balarabe, who spoke on the demise of his father told The Guardian that the elder statesman, for almost a decade after his return from Hungary, continued with his involvement in politics, with immense concern for how the Nigerian masses would be freed from the hands of the capitalists in power.
He said, “To be sincere and honest, I am happy with the way he died. He died in the house, in front of us his family. And he died leaving a legacy of African record, and not Nigerian record. So, I am very happy that God gave me a father like him.”
Balarabe, however, bemoaned his father’s inability to go back for medical treatment after he returned from Hungary during the Makarfi’s government owing to lack of resources.
He further said: “I will remember him as a lover of the Talakawas, the masses and I will remember him for the training and mentorship I received while he was alive. Apart from being a father to me, he was also my mentor; I love his political ideology, under which I was nurtured. PRP, in my view, is God’s Party for the people. My father had been taking care of the party since the second republic, almost 40 years ago, but he did not have the resources to make it withstand the money politics in Nigeria. It is by God’s will that the party is still standing. And the party has kept a record; hardly can you find any democratic party that has done what it had done.”
Since the burial of Alhaji Musa in Kaduna, according to Islamic rites, several well-meaning personalities have continued to pure encomiums on his legacies, both at the state and national levels.
Former Governor of the State, Senator Ahmed Muhammed Makarfi said that the death “of the true champion of the downtrodden and the first Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Musa was received with shock and grief.” He said though he was saddened by the heavy loss, he derived consolation from the fact that Mallam Balarabe Musa lived a good life in the service of God and humanity, adding that the elder statesman was an epitome of simplicity and honesty.
According to Makarfi, “Mallam Balarabe Musa lived all his life in relentless pursuit of a better life for the poor and oppressed. The government that he led in Kaduna State between 1979 and 1981 gave practical expression to the struggle for the emancipation of the Talakawa. He, no doubt, has left a legacy of humility and courage in the face of daunting odds, as well as dedication and commitment to what he believed in, top of which was his abiding faith in the country and a desire to see justice and equity prevail in it.” Makarfi said Musa’s contributions to both public service as well as the evolution of democracy and good governance in Nigeria, will continue to be remembered and cherished.
One of the progressive elements nurtured by Musa, and who served as a Commissioner under the defunct PRP government in Kaduna State, Dr. Tom Maiyashi explained that “going back from 1978 to date, he has been a father and a counselor. He has been a mentor.”
He said: “In 1979 when he became Governor against his will, most of us were in the University then. I worked with him directly. Some of us were called. And I was Secretary of the Integrated Rural Authority and later a Commissioner. You really can’t fault his position on the principle of human dignity, human happiness, and development. He has never wavered, and no matter the amount of sacrifice, he will make it and he is prepared to go the whole length to make a sacrifice to defend the truth in any situation.
“He never changes his words. He has no sentiment about issues. All these things we find today among the political class on regionalism, ethnicity, and so on, he never associated with such sentiments. As far as he was concerned, if he sees a butcher in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Umuahia, Kano, or Calabar, their interests are the same and he will deal with them as such. And he will fight to protect them.
“He ensured that many of us kept to the principles of enhancing human dignity. Well, now it is time to go and he has left. For me, I will remember him as a symbol of patriotism; his principle hinged on building human dignity and development. This is what he imbued in me and those of us associated closely with him.”
According to Dr. Maiyashi, “The nation has lost a strong moral voice, which speaks straight; not the doubletalk that we find our political elites involved with today. Once he speaks, you just can’t fault him.”
Also, labour organisations, particularly the Textile workers have not forgotten the legacies left behind by Musa. According to the President of Textiles Workers Union, Comrade John Adaji, “We acknowledge the significant contribution of the late elder statesman and patriot, Alhaji Musa to the political, social
and economic development of Nigeria.”
Adaji noted that Alhaji Musa stood for democracy and good governance; for a united, peaceful, and prosperous Nigeria. “He was a selfless leader with principle and remarkable integrity. The Nigeria labour movement, in particular, will forever remember him as the first governor under the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), together with the late Alhaji Abubakar Rimi of Kano State, to implement the minimum wage in their respective States and to declare May Day, a public holiday in 1981 before it was eventually declared a national holiday by President Shehu Shagari’s administration.”
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