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Balarabe Musa: Death of a progressive, by Ibrahim Sheme

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OPINION

“…The man in question is a quintessentially honest Nigerian and patriot who is completely detribalised. His sound principles and strong moral character remain uncorrupted and unshaken, despite the general malaise and retrogressive tendencies that have engulfed our nation over the years: as a result of the general maladministration the country has been subjected to in recent time by the ruling class. Indeed, the nation should count herself blessed that we still have such people of proven integrity like Balarabe Musa, who have remained consistent like the proverbial ‘northern star’, despite the untoward state which the nation has found herself.”

  • General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), GCFR, in the Foreword

I read this 209-page book, aptly titled “The Incorruptible Balarabe Musa”, within 18 hours (from 1am to 6pm) on 18th/19th January, 2010 – a little over ten years ago. Reason: I loved the subject it talked about immensely.

My love for Alhaji Abdulƙadir Balarabe Musa and his forebear in progressive politics, the late Malam Aminu Kano, makes me to describe myself to my friends as a “NEPU man”.

As such, soon after the news of Balarabe Musa’s death broke yesterday, I dashed to my library and grabbed this book in order to zestfully relive the life and times of the former governor of Kaduna State and our PRP leader. The book, written by the proprietor of Calvary Group of Schools, Abuja, Mr. Enuma Okoli, a sport enthusiast cum journalist, was written with the consent of Balarabe Musa himself and the support of some of the progressive crowd that milled around him, such as Musa Musawa, Richard Umoru, Ya’u Kaya, Muhammadu Sani Isama’ila, Abba Musa Rimi, and Ganiyu Oguntoyinbo. Other people, including yours sincerely, share the Balarabe dream. At the launch of the book at Sheraton Hotel in Abuja, which Balarabe Musa attended in person, I was on the high table close to Alhaji Balarabe and Alh. Buba Galadima, a progressive who represented General Buhari – another progressive politician!

The book contains so much about Balarabe Musa, from his birth to his views on Nigeria. It wades through his childhood experiences, education, politics in London and in Nigeria, working life, his governorship of Kaduna State and his controversial impeachment from office, life after governorship, fight against injustice, social life, farming, and his immediate family. There is a whole chapter on testimonies of those that know him closely, such as the late Umaru Dikko, Musa Musawa, Aliko Mohammed (Ɗan’iyan Misau), Muhammadu Sani Isma’ila (the then Kaduna State chairman of PRP), etc.

This book should serve as a relief to those who had thought, especially from yesterday, that no biography of Balarabe Musa’s had been written during his lifetime. But of course the book is out of print. There is, therefore, the crying need to reprint it in huge numbers and circulate it widely, especially at this time when the values and principles by which the man lived and died are in short supply.

The death of Alhaji Balarabe Musa is a huge loss to the nation, especially to the very idea of progressive politics.

May Allah bless Baba Balarabe’s soul and reward him with Paradise, amen.


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