This announcement is shocking. Sad. Very sad. Thank you Your Excellency for the befitting epithets on His Excellency, Barnabas Yusuf Bala (Bantex). It is indeed time to ruminate on his life and times. But only expert biographers can successfully do it. All stories will now be started with– “….. once upon a time…….there was a ……. ” All humans that have life must experience this. There is a time to be conceived by your parents and a time to be nurtured in the womb for nine months. There is a time to be born into the world and a time to be nurtured until you grow up.There is a time to live and contribute to the world and a time for the world to contribute to you, as well. There is a time to live and a time to die. All these seasons happen imperceptibly, but you can notice milestones and count them. Barnanas Yusuf Bala (Bantex ), came, he lived, and has gone back to be with his maker. That is our road: all that has life. It is an inevitable evitability.
It is written in the holy scriptures , that we shall live, then go back to our Maker, and He will require of us, to give account of everything we did, while on earth. What ever you did, will determine where you will be in heaven : whether in hell, or in paradise. We humans are given a cheque leaf and a pen, while on earth, to write our cheque.
As at now Bantex has gone to be with his Maker.Nobody on earth can know how he wrote his cheque. It is only he and his Maker that know. Therefore, we should avoid unhelpful human speculations and wish him well.
I got to know Bantex way back in 1975, when we were mates at the SBS/ABU. Thereafter, we were absorbed into our different faculties. He read Architecture and I read the Social Sciences. We graduated with our first degrees in 1979, but he continued with his masters, since Architecture was and still is, pursued as a post graduate degree. I started work before him , after service. He graduated and served the NYSC later. Most of his working life had been in Jos. Eventually, opportunity came, for public service and he served as Chairman of Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The beautiful edifice being the Secretariat, was conceived and built by him. Thereafter, he had the opportunity to serve in the Constitutional Conference, which he did admirably. His public exposure and service prepared him for politics.
He went on to serve as House of Reps member, representing Kaura. Thereafter, he tried to go back again but some one else took over. He changed political party to CPC, where we made. He contested for House of Reps.while I contested for Deputy Governor with Mallam Haruna Saeed as Governorship Candidate in 2011. Both of us did not make it. Thereafter, he went back to Jos where he had established business. While in Jos, he wrote the CPC Kaduna State informing the party of his voluntary retirement from politics to take care of his deteriorating health. Thereafter, there was a merger of three major political parties. Both myself , His Excellency Nasiru El-Rufa’i participated in establishing the structures of the new party-APC in Kaduna State. I became the interim Organising Secretary, while El-Rufa’i was the Deputy Secretary of the party at the National level.
Then one thing after the other happened. Those of us in the interim management committee from Southern Kaduna had decided not to vie for the position of Chairman of the party, so that Southern Kaduna could be given the opportunity to produce the governorship candidate to make up for the term late Yakowa could not do. So I was asked to vie for the Secretary-ship of the party.
As we prepared for the State Congress, the leadership of the party went into crisis of leadership between Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the interim Chairman and his interim management committee, against Nasiru El-Rufa’i (Then National Deputy Secretary of the party), and his friend and colleague Mallam Othman Suleiman Hunkuyi. At last the later group succeeded in taking over the party. Meanwhile Bantex was in Jos on his retirement from Politics and had not even joined the new party yet.
El-Rufa’i had gubernatorial ambition and was scouting round for a Chairmanship Candidate that would come from the South of the State. We do not know how he came about the choice of Bantex. He managed to convince Bantex to come out of retirement and contest for the position of Chairman of the party, and made several promises to him. At last Bantex agreed and came out to campaign for the position of party Chairman. He was then pitched against his brothers who had decided not to vie for the position of Chairman so that Southern Kaduna could produce the next Governorship Candidate. His acceptance to contest for Chairman of the party, coming from retirement did not go down well with his Southern Kaduna colleagues. But he had a very strong and influential sponsor in the person of Nasiru El-Rufa’i and Hunkuyi. At the end of the day , they won and Bantex became the State Chairman of the party. Eventually Nasiru El-Rufa’i won the governorship primaries of the party and picked Bantex as his running mate. Both contested the governorship and won and both went on to become the Governor and the Deputy Governor.
I do not know what happened as they governed at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House. The impression we got from outside was that , inspite of the problems the Governor had with the Southern Kaduna people Bantex stood by his side and was willing and indeed sacrificed his all to support El-Rufa’i. That did not go down well with his Southern Kaduna people. Finally he dropped to contest the Southern Kaduna Senatorial seat, at least so we were made to understand. It was a “mission impossible”. A lot if people thought he just wanted “soft-landing”. What ever it was, he got it.
Then , came the controversial apology to his Southern Kaduna compatriots. I read the interview but did not see the apology in it. All he was saying was that his Southern Kaduna compatriots did not understand him. I did not see the connection between “not understanding him”, and the so called apology. The controversy raged on and eventually died down. Thereafter, he made a few so I am media comments and thereafter, went silent.
Then we were woken up today with news of his demise made by His Excellency Nasiru El-Rufa’i, his boss during their first term. He made promises to liaise with the family of the demised. I believe he will fully his promises, as he did earlier, during Bantex’s life-time, even in his death.
We that are still alive should learn lessons from the life and death of His Excellency, the former Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Barnabas Yusuf Bala ( Bantex), under the government of His Excellency Nasiru El-Rufa’i
Adieu Bantex. May your soul rest in peace.