The Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufa’i, has penned an emotional farewell tribute to the immediate past deputy governor of the state, Barnabas Bala popularly called Bantex, who died at the age of 64.
El-Rufa’i, who described the death of his former deputy governor as a rude shock, said that Bantex had over the years particularly before they assumed office, been a dear friend and partner in the service of Kaduna State.
The governor added that the deceased whom they both assumed office together in 2015, would be remembered for his dedication to the development of the state and that his sterling symbol of representative democracy would never be forgotten.
Bantex, who died five months before his 65th birthday, was confirmed to have died on Sunday after a brief illness, barely two years after yielding the deputy governor’s seat.
In an emotional tribute released to newsmen, El-Rufa’i stressed that the deceased would be missed for his brilliance, commitment to Kaduna State, his easygoing manners, his sense of humour, and steadfastness to whatever ideology he believes in.
The governor, while disclosing that he and the deceased path first crossed during his years in tertiary institution, stated that even after they left school and became professional colleagues in the construction industry, Bantex was consistently a dependable man of brilliance and imagination.
According to him, the ex-deputy governor believed in the potential of our state and in the capacity of our people to work together for progressive attainments.
The governor, in an emotional farewell tribute titled: ‘It’s a VERY SAD DAY’, noted that after assuming office as his deputy, the deceased threw all his strength towards ensuring that Kaduna becomes the bride of Nigeria across all sectors.
“Together, we took on the task of providing new leadership for Kaduna State in 2015. He brought to his duties as Deputy Governor during our first term his unique insights as a politician with experience in navigating the diversity of our state. Bantex radiated hope and optimism in the future of our state, even when the circumstances were dreary.
“Bantex had served the people of Kaduna State in several capacities prior to becoming Deputy Governor. As a delegate to the 1994 Constitutional Conference, chairman of Kaura Local Government Council, and member of Kaura Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, he was a sterling symbol of representative democracy.
“I have spoken to his family and conveyed our condolence on behalf of the government and people of Kaduna State. We shall work closely with his family to grant a befitting farewell to a man who gave so much to this state even when hobbled by ill-health.
“We have been blessed to know Bantex and to work with him. We pray God to grant him peaceful repose and to comfort his wife, children, and the entire family in this moment of grief and loss”, he added.