By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja – President Muhammadu Buhari has urged politicians and other citizens to emulate Alhaji Balarabe Musa’s virtuous life of honesty, integrity, selflessness and patriotism in order to make Nigeria achieve progress.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday, said Buhari made the call in a tribute to Balarabe Musa on the occasion of his recently celebrated 81st birthday anniversary.
Buhari described the former civilian governor of old Kaduna State as a “man of unassailable integrity and untainted record of public service”.
According to the president, even Musa’s worst enemies and critics cannot dispute his remarkable reputation for integrity and selfless service to the people.
He said: “Balarabe Musa is one of Nigeria’s brightest stars of integrity and sterling principles.
“The octogenarian has lived to his reputation by avoiding any conduct associated with corruption and dishonour.’’
He recalled that his close association with Musa in the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) had enabled him “to appreciate the radical politician’s patriotism and his commitment to build strong opposition in the country in order to deepen democracy’’.
The president also praised Musa’s independent-mindedness, stressing that the principled politician can criticise even his friends, associates and allies when it comes to politics.
According to him, politics is public service and not an opportunity to amass wealth overnight at the expense of the ordinary people or the voters.
He prayed that God would continue to bless the elder statesman with better health, more wisdom and longer life in the service of the country.
Musa, a left-wing Nigerian politician, who was elected Governor of Kaduna State during the Second Republic, said his wish and desire for Nigeria had yet to be fulfilled, 57 years after the nation’s independence.
He held office between Oct. 1, 1979, and June 23, 1981, when he was impeached.
Musa said: “Though, I felt great on the attainment of a new age and achievements in life, I would have been more fulfilled, if the country has overcome most of its development challenges.
“At 81, I will say I feel great and I thank God for everything. But, I am not completely fulfilled because we are yet to have the country of our dreams.
“We are yet to have a country where there is equity and respect for rights and dignity of all citizens.
“We are yet to have a country where the governed are good followers and leaders think first think about the people and not the other way round.
“I desire a better Nigeria where everyone will feel the impact of governance that is my birthday wish for the country.’’