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Balarabe Musa: Of a man and legacy

Published by The Nation on Fri, 27 Nov 2020

Adewale KupoluyiSir: The Balarabe Musa model of politics is worth examining in defining the essence of politics and leadership within the Nigerian context. The elder statesmanwasindeeda great man of honour who consistently championedthe cause of the masses and stood firm on the side of equity, fairness, and justice. Balarabe Musas left-leaning political ideology started out with the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU), founded by Mallam Aminu Kano. He was also of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) on whose platform he was electedgovernor of Kaduna State in 1979.Musawasnot only passionate butoutspoken when it had to do with issues affecting the Talakawas (common people) in the North. He stood against any form of injustice, corruption, and oppression. This he projected through a revolutionary orientation that focused on the liberation of the poorandthe redemption of the Talakawas, a class that has today constituted social and security menace in the North.Unlike what we have now where politicians mount security barricades and throw money around, Musalived afrugal life. Herejected theparaphernalia of the office of the governor andratherchose to live inaprivate three-bedroom apartment without the typical hordes of security details, as people freely interacted with himwithout any restrictions.Albeit, when he attempted to run forpresident in 2003 under the PRP, he wassaid to have confessed to not havingmoney to printhis campaignposters!Despite the short period spent in the office, Musa was impactful; and unlike many self-seeking politicians, hisadministration recorded tremendous achievements in areas ofmassive educational reforms. He established 100 schoolswithin one year in office while teachers salaries and allowances were paid regularly.Musa never failed tospeaktruth to authority. The late elder statesman not only condemned corruption, waste of public resources, he fought the Ibrahim Babangida regimes electoral shenanigans that culminated inthe annulment of the 1993 presidentialelection. Hewas a leading antagonist of the dictatorial rule of Sani Abacha and hisplanned self-succession efforts. The fearless Musa, while speaking on the 60th independence anniversary of the nation, said: We need a revolution in Nigeria to have a positive change in the political system The economic and political models we are currently operating only empower a fewGovernments must be structured to impact positively on the masses.He never relented in his dreams of bequeathing a better country by leadingthe Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), asaformidablecoalition of opposition parties.The Balarabe Musa legacy will thrive when there are free, fair, and credible elections; when politicians are ready to render selfless service and speak to power; when political office-seekers do not need to become rich before being elected; when politicians become conscious that they do not need to spend several years in office before making an impact; when there are mutual respect and independence among the various tiers/arms of government; when leaders pursue people-oriented programmes; when politicians begin to live a simple life and interface/mingle freely with their people; when our weak democratic institutions become strong; when there is virile opposition; and more importantly, when politics is played with purpose, dignity, principle and strong ideology. Adewale Kupoluyi, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
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