It came like a rude shock. Only recently we had a robust telephone conversation which was more like a reminiscence of the good old days, when politics was played along ideological persuasions.
He was loud and firm, as usual, espousing his thoughts about building a united Nigeria where tribes and tongues no longer matter in deciding our nationality. It didn’t strike me that I was having my last conversation with this great pan-Nigerian consummate politician, a thoroughbred progressive, who deployed honesty in all his political engagements.
He was not just a politician’s politician, he was one who brought ideology to flourish in his political engagements and nurtured that ideal under the People’s Redemption Party, till death snatched him away. I could still remember vividly how he appointed me into a board during his time as Governor, even though I wasn’t from Kaduna state. He never hesitated to cultivate the support of anyone who could add value to his policy focus of making governance reach the ordinary folks in the state. With a Secretary to Government in Late Dr. Bala Usman, one could imagine how robust the engagements would be. He was more concerned about delivering services than what the office could afford him. He was never materialistic. He was not carried away by the allure of power and the paraphernalia of office. He was simple, ideologically grounded, and dialectically opposed to politics of acquisition.
We have lost the last man standing, the last of the mohicans, the last man who represented the ideological underpinning of politics. Alhaji Balarabe Musa will be sorely missed. He was a father figure to me as we often exchanged telephone conversations like father and son. He never shied away from speaking his mind on any issue no matter the risk involved.
He was blunt and his vitriolic “missiles” were often directed at the right quarters. He was bold and fearless. Any time he had opportunity to interact, you would find him espousing those ideals that defined his politics and humanity. Even though a former Governor, he lived like an ordinary Nigerian. He refused to bend the ultra Left of PRP ideology to accommodate the right NPN and paid the prize by impeachment rather than keep the Governorship office and compromise his well cherished PRP ideology. He lived and died for the masses.
His life will remain a good example for Nigerian politicians and those who occupy public office. He will remain a reference point in political discourse especially on the subject matter of ideological politics. May his soul rest in peace. May Allah forgive him his sins and accept his soul amongst the saints in the hereafter. Adieu, Alhaji, Balarabe Musa, the people’s authentic Governor and leader.
Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole is former Governor, Edo state and former President, Nigeria Labour Congress.