Yusuf Barnabas Bala "Bantex"

By James Kanyip

On the 29th of May, 2019, His Excellency, Yusuf Barnabas Bala “Bantex” completed a 4-year tenure and bowed out as the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, after being sworn in as such on the 29th of May, 2015.

I had, before now, made a solemn vow to myself that I would never write or mention Bantex’s name in any of my write-ups, updates and posts throughout the tenure of his term of office until he completed it. I am happy that I had kept to this vow religiously. Now, I can write.

The 4-year tenure of Bantex as Deputy Governor was not easy for him, especially coming from most of his kindred from Southern Kaduna. It was stormy, turbulent and rocky for him. This fact is commonplace.

He was a different thing to different people: he was an enigma to some; he was a hero to some; he was a villain to some; he was loved by some; he was loathed by some; he was praised by some; he was vilified by some, etc. These are instances of some of the ways that some of his people viewed him during his tenure.

Immediately he vacated his office, I read some uncomplimentary and sarcastic comments about him and his person coming from some of his kindred. This is most unfortunate!

In my view, I see Bantex differently.

The antecedents and pedigree surrounding the political literature about Bantex is richly robust. I am not here to narrate them. Those who know will always know. The sum of it all is that Bantex is one of the most decorated, consummate, celebrated and cerebral politicians to ever come out from Southern Kaduna: from the National Constituents Assembly, to a 2-term grassroots Council Chairman, to Member of House of Representatives, to APC State Party Chairman, to Deputy Governor, and to more-to-come.

In spite of all these, Bantex was misunderstood by most of his kindred during his tenure as Deputy Governor and was called all sorts of indignified names. Where did it all go wrong?

To me, Bantex was a victim of biased partisanship during his tenure as Deputy Governor. He became the Deputy Governor at a time when most of his kindred viewed, and still do, things within the prism of partisanship. He was chastised by most of his kindred more because of his political affiliation than his shortcomings as a human being. And most of those that matter in his Zone chose partisanship instead of neutrality/impartiality in their judgment. Instead of counsel, he was scolded. At the end, he became a victim and not a villain of circumstances.

Bantex’s case fits into the biblical passage reported in the Gospel of Saint Mark 6: 4 that: “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour”.

Bantex did his humanly best while in office. I commend him. Posterity shall be his judge. Therefore, in time to come, and shortly too, he shall be remembered in the sands of time; and not in the hands of men. And, to me, this is all that matters.

So, as he dignifiedly bowed out from office, I wish him well, now and always.


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