•The Story Of Alhaji BALARABE MUSA
Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa was a leftist politician, who won the governorship election in Kaduna State in 1979. His political party on which he contested the election, the People’s Redemption Party (PRP), was in the minority in the Kaduna State House of Assembly. To say that the party was a Northern Nigerian- based party because its founder, was a Northerner, Mallam Aminu Kano, is a misnomer and abuse of expression. Though Mallam Aminu Kano, was the presidential candidate of the party at the presidential election in the year 1979, membership of the PRP had national spread. It was, therefore, national in character.
The party paraded politicians such as the late Abubakar Rimi, who was a governor of Kano State the late Michael Imoudu, a doyen of Nigerian Labour Union, the great Nigerian author of Igbo extraction late Chinua Achebe, the renowned Information Minister of Abacha regime, late Uche Chukwumerieje, a powerful leader of people, Sabo Bakin Zuwo, Sule Lamido and Yusufu Bala Usman among others. The PRP was, however, a minority party not only in the Kaduna House of Assembly but in the whole Northern region, This was not unconnected with the stand of the party on sensitive issues that determined the character of a political party at that time. As its name implies, the PRP was out to redeem the poor, who are called the Talakawas in Northern Nigeria, where conservative feudalism was and might even be said to rule today’s political waves. Its manifesto was tailored to rescue the poor from the clutches of poverty, disease and ignorance. No wonder Balarabe’s Musa’s government was regarded as a leech that must be removed from the political fabric of Kaduna State. The importance of Kaduna to the conservatives came to the fore because the city was the capital of the Northern region.
The victory of the late Balarabe Musa in the governorship election stunned most stakeholders, observers of politics in Kaduna State. The expectation was high that the candidate of the NPN, who represented the interest of the feudal lords would easily coast home to victory because of the high-level performance of the NPN in the House Assembly polls in the state as the party had more than a two-thirds majority. That, however, was not to be as an alliance of four political parties cropped up to stop the NPN sweeping of the governorship polls. The NPN had recorded the highest number of seats in the National Assembly. That was the Senate and the House of Representatives. Alhaji Shehu Shagari had also been declared the winner of the presidential election, after winning in 12 states and 2/3 of the thirteen states, which led to a legal tangle.
It was at that point that the four political parties came together to jointly fight the NPN. They were the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) led by the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo; Nigerian People’s Party (NPP) led by Dr. Nnamid Azikiwe; the Great Nigerian People’s Party (GNPP), led by Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim. The alliance teamed up and gave the NPN a knockout, thus giving victory to the PRP’s candidate, Balarabe Musa at the governorship polls. It was, therefore, a surprise to polls observers and bookmakers that the strongest party in Kaduna State NPN, lost the governorship polls. The surprise was not unconnected with the earlier showing of the NPN at other elections. The majority of seats in the Kaduna State of Assembly were won by the National Party Nigeria (NPN) led by the late Chief Adisa Meredith Akinloye.
Each of the coalescing parties had its area of strength. PRP was strong in Kano State because its founder came from that state, UPN was popular in the South-West State of Oyo, Ogun, Bendle Lagos and the Ondo States because of Awolowo’s factor; NPP was popular in Imo, Anambra and Plateau States because of the influence of Dr. Azikiwe, while Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim held sway in the North-East of Gongola and Borno States. It was the alliance that led party leaders to give directive to their members to vote for PRP’s candidate, Balarabe Musa, in the governorship election and he won, beating NPN to second place.
The victory of the PRP in the election was, however, the beginning of Musa’s political challenges that led to his impeachment. The NPN had more than required two-third of members of the House of Assembly to stop Balarabe Musa in his track. NPN told the governor that he must share power with its members if he wanted to rule the state undisturbed. They gave him a list of commissioners, but Balarabe Musa rejected it on ideological ground. Musa told them that he was a populist, not a conservative politician. He stressed that none of the NPN’s nominees would fit into the agenda and programmes that he wanted to execute.
He had perhaps, forgotten that power is never got alar carte and that it is a matter of give and take. Balarebe Musa’s reluctance to share power with the NPN stalwarts in Kaduna, therefore, bred hostility.
That was why for almost three years, from 1979 to 1981, Kaduna State knew no peace or progress in the real sense of the term. It was a one-man squad executive for Balarabe Musa as he had no commissioner to work with. The House of Assembly refused to approve the governor’s list of Commissioners.
Despite that, the governor had no Commissioner, the NPN members of the House of Assembly were not comfortable with him. They feared that if he completed his first four-year term, he would consolidate his position, while his influence may win more seats for his political party in the second term.
To prevent that happening, they tabled impeachment notice in the house, the motion was passed and the process started. There was nothing stopping the impeachment. That was how Nigeria recorded her first impeachment in history.