Veteran Nigerian Political Scientist and politician, Dr Bala Takaya is dead. He died 2 O’clock on Sunday morning. Until his death, he was the national leader of the Middle Belt Forum, (MBF), the socio-cultural movement speaking for Nigeria’s central region in Nigeria’s identity congested politics. It could be said that it is the movement of people such as Bala Takaya into such regional platforms that sends the most worrisome indicator of the virtual collapse of the national project in Nigeria. Unfortunately, this trend in Nigerian politics has not been seriously assessed. Not only was he educated in an otherwise radically oriented Nigerian university then-the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Dr Takaya was also of the Progressives camp in the politics of the Second Republic. And he was an academic, one of his outputs being the 1987 book he co-authored with another colleague, Prof Sonni Tyoden. The intellection which could also be said to have brought him to national limelight was titled The Kaduna Mafia, the authors’ visualisation of the Northern oriented elite political machine believed to be adept in manipulating Nigerian political processes in its own favour in those days. Dr Takaya additionally rose far as a member of the intellectual team of the Nigerian State along the line.
He was the Secretary to the government of his home state of Adamawa at a point and a member of the Political Bureau put together to fashion out a new political order for Nigeria in the mid eighties. He sought political power as governor of his state in 1999 but did not get it.
The news of his death is still spreading. Most people contacted on the phone were just hearing about it as at late morning Sunday. It would take more hours before the statements of mourning pour in.
So far, only the other regional coalitions working on ‘True Federalism’ have issued a statement mourning him. The statement issued by Yinka Odumakin – South West; Senator Bassey Henshaw – South-South; Dr Isuwa Dogo – Middle Belt and Prof Chigozie Ogbu – South East and titled “Adieu, Dr Bala Takaya” announced his “transition to higher glory in the early hours of Sunday”. The signatories said his death has robbed the Southern and Middle Belt Leaders of one of its brightest stars. Dr Takaya, they recalled, would have been 69 years old on November 5th, 2018.
Describing him as a distinguished university teacher and consumate politician, they point to how his death would leave a space vacant because “he was very unique in the part he played”. Giving hint of the part he played, the statement reckoned with his as a clear, loud and unique voice in speaking the truth no matter whose ox is gored as far as “the quest for a fair and just Nigeria based on the best practices of federalism”.
This, explained the leaders, was why they gathered around his hospital bed in Abuja some weeks back, chatting and praying, a session which has turned out a valedictory session as things are now. They have promised him a befitting farewell.