When on Tuesday elder statesman, Alhaji Musa Musawa, embarked on the inescapable journey to meet with his Creator, it was like dusk gathering over the ember sun setting down the west horizon.
Musawa was born on April 1, 1937 in Bichi, Kano State, and was the youngest child in a family of three. He lived an eventful and impactful life in all ramifications, especially in politics where he has left his footprints on the sands of the Nigerian political landscape.
A pioneer and influential member of the Northern Elements Progressives Union (NEPU), the ace broadcaster and shrewd diplomat, contributed tremendously to the evolvement, development and entrenchment of democracy in Nigeria through the quality of opposition he and his peers offered to the ruling Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) in the 50s up to the 60s which inevitably created a multi-party system in the North.
He was the youth chairman of the NEPU in its vibrant early days.
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The NEPU was the first political party in northern Nigeria. Founded in Kano on August 8, 1950, it was the offshoot of a pre-existing political association called the Northern Elements Progressive Association. It became the main opposition party in northern Nigeria after the region was granted self-governance in the 1950s. In the First Republic, it maintained a steady alliance with the Zikist National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) against the Northern People’s Congress (NPC)-dominated federal government.
Though he lost his mother when he was very young and was raised by his aunty in his mother’s village, Musawa was not deterred by the unfortunate circumstances he brought upon him by Almighty Allah; he was determined and ambitious, pursuing his educational goals way beyond his northern constituency.
After his primary school education in Bichi, and secondary school at Kano, he attended the University of Ife, where he obtained a degree in Public Administration.
He cut his teeth in broadcast journalism when he joined BBC African Service, where he worked for five years after he graduated from university.
And to show consistency in his party politics ideology, he again bedded in with Malam Aminu Kano when the conservative, socialist Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) was formed during the second republic. He would emerge the treasurer of the PRP and later contest for governor of Kaduna State in 1983 on the party’s platform.
In his condolence message, President Muhammadu Buhari said Nigeria has lost a “political giant in Alhaji Musa Musawa.”
The president, in a statement issued Wednesday by his media aide, Malam Garba Shehu, described the deceased as “a towering grassroots politician with a nuanced understanding of matters who had very few parallels as a campaigner in his heydays.”
“He lived a worthy life, leaving us with innumerable happy memories of accomplishments as a politician, businessman and a community leader. We will miss him a lot.”
He prayed for the repose of his soul and fortitude to his family, the government and people of Katsina State to bear the loss of the one-time senator.
Tinubu pays his respect
President-elect Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu followed other notable Nigerians in paying respect to the departed patriot and patriarch. Tinubu, who expressed sorrow over the loss of Musawa, in a statement by his media office, described the late statesman as one of the last bastions of freedom fighters who fought for Nigeria’s independence.
“He was a true progressive and broadminded statesman. As a young man, he joined forces with like-minded comrades in the defunct Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) to fight for independence and total liberation of our people.
“In the years since independence, Alhaji Musa Musawa continued to ally with progressive movements in and outside the realm of politics to advance the course of the poor and oppressed in the society,” Tinubu said.
The president-elect prayed Almighty Allah to forgive the shortcomings of the departed elder and offer his family the needed consolation at their moment of grief.
I will miss the special fura – Associate
At the interment of Musawa in Kaduna yesterday, one of his associates said he would miss the late patriarch’s fura which he usually prepared for them in his farm
Dr Sani Salisu Mustapha, a close associate and family member of the late Musawa described him as a very clever and joyful fellow.
According to him, they have been together for many years and considered him a big brother.
“I have known him since the day I was born and we became family. I have been together with him all these years until the last day of his life.”
Asked how he will remember late Musa Musawa, he said, “He was very funny, very intelligent, and likes (fura). He used to prepare fura for us at his farm to drink because he knew how to prepare it very well.
“He was very clever and spoke good English; very joyful to live with; we can never forget him. May Allah grant him Jannat firdaus, Amin,” he said
His son, Aminu Musawa, also described his late father as a friend and good dad who would be greatly missed.
“He was a nice man and lived a wonderful life. May Allah forgive. I will continue to pray for him till my last day,” he said.
In a Facebook post announcing his death, one of his daughters and spokeswoman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Barrister Hannatu Musawa, prayed Allah to accept his good deeds and grant him Jannatul Firdaus.
“My heart has been shattered to a million pieces. I love you Dad, I salute you, I honour you. I love you for all of eternity.”
The Minister of Agriculture, Dr Muhammed Abubakar, who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the funeral prayer held at Sultan Bello Mosque said late Musa Musawa played a great role in nation building right from the first republic.
He added that the late elder statesman will be missed for his contribution to the growth of Nigeria and prayed to God almighty to forgive his shortcomings.
“Musa Musawa we all know him, even the new generation know of his contribution from the time of the former Kaduna State to when Katsina State was created. He served in various capacities and contributed immensely to state and nation building.
“This is quite a loss to the state, to the country and for the family and the world at large. May he rest in perfect peace, Amin,” he said.
As mother earth opened its bowel to swallow the remains of Musawa in the city of Kaduna yesterday afternoon, Musawa’s glimmering light on the often darkened political landscape of Nigeria will continue to flicker in the hearts of many.