By Simon Reef Musa
The news of the death of Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa this morning brought reminiscences of my several interactions with him. His modest home in Kaduna was a Mecca of a sort to news hounds. The former governor of old Kaduna state was not only accessible to media practitioners, he gave news headlines for journalists seeking front page news. A simple telephone call and the front page byline is assured.
I recalled in 2006 when I asked him if there was any chance to stop President Olusegun Obasanjo from getting a third term, he looked at me and angrily shouted, “We shall stop him.”
He seemed to live in a world of his own unconcerned with the dynamics of those controlling the levers of power. There was no doubt that the great hopes he had for the country had diminished when he breathed his last.
Amidst the clamor for Nigeria’s disintegration and the need to correct the Mistake of 1914, I once asked if he was of the view that the country would eventually break up.
His response: “Those who own Nigeria will never allow it to disintegrate. They may allow the country to dance on the precipice, but when ever it becomes very obvious Nigeria is about breaking up, the owners of Nigeria, comprising Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo, including Christians and Muslims, among others, will rally together to save their investments.”
He had supported General Muhammadu Buhari for the 2015 polls, but such support quickly fizzled out few months after the inauguration of the Buhari Presidency. Like many others, the APC-led government had been full of promises but short on delivery.
As a progressive whose ideology was shaped by Marxism and its capacity to deliver the poor from the of the merciless mercantilism of capitalism, the former governor was a symbol of honesty and determination in improving the lives for ordinary folks.
He was an epitome of servant leadership and was unwavering in aligning with forces of good for improving society. Arising from his endless quest for an egalitarian society devoid of unjust laws, he was credited with policies that save the poor of many taxes when he served as governor.
The radical leftist proved a constant political star in the firmaments of the North. Like many of our leaders, wealth was never his preoccupation, service to the Nigerian people was a rage he personified while in this mortal realm. He was never in love with foreign trips for any form of tourism, he lamented on the many ailments plaguing his countrymen and women.
Some years ago, my friend and brother Stanley Yakubu recalled a trip to a Kaduna hospital where Alhaji Balarabe had been admitted for an undisclosed ailment. He had met the old political Marxist taking akamu (pap) for breakfast and gave him a long pitiful stare.
After what seemed like a long time of staring, the old man gently told him, “Don’t pity me. Pity yourself and your country!”
In deed, if the Balarabes could not deliver Nigeria from wicked leadership, not many are hopeful that others whose interest now is how to accumulate wealth and create heavens in foreign lands with stolen funds can save us.
Alhaji Balarabe Musa is dead but his footprints on the sands of leadership will remain inspirational to future generations and an indictment to the present corruption of leadership bedevilling our country.
If heaven has a place for honest and good-hearted people, then the last of the old progressives, who fought the military to exit from the corridors of power, should be smiling on the other side of immortality. At last, he has been delivered from a life fraught with endless challenges that was foisted by a system in love with corruption.
Good night Alhaji Balarabe Musa. Rest in peace. May the place of the faithful be your abode.