- Former Kaduna state deputy governor, Bala Bantex, has died in a hospital in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja
- Bantex, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the northwest state, died at the age of 64
- Governor Nasir El-Rufai has paid glowing tributes to the man who served as his deputy between 2015 to 2019
Kaduna - The immediate past deputy governor of Kaduna state, Architect Bala Bantex, has been reported dead.
A powerful voice from southern Kaduna is gone
Sources at the Kaduna Government House also confirmed the death of Bantex to the Daily Nigerian newspaper.
Bantex who is from southern Kaduna, served as deputy governor to Governor Nasir El-Rufai between 2015 and 2019.
Before the 2019 general elections, he resigned from the El-Rufai administration and aspired to be a senator.
He was defeated by the incumbent, Senator Danjuma La’ah of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Governor El-Rufai mourns
Reacting to his death, Governor El-Rufai, described Bantex as his friend and trusted political ally.
In a statement titled “It’s A Very Sad Day” and seen by Legit.ng, the Kaduna governor said in Bantex, he has lost:
“A dear friend and partner in the service of Kaduna state.”
Before his death, Bantex was visible in the polity and actively participating in activities within the Kaduna political scene.
In March 2021, he opposed the idea of the federal or state governments granting amnesty to bandits.
Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics, Bantex described statements credited to non-state actors on insecurity as a mark of failure.
“Negotiating with people who have destroyed the economy of thousands of Nigerians, who have made life so totally useless and who are still doing so is not ideal.”
Recall that the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU) and Bantex recently traded words over the alleged support of El-Rufai’s government to the attack and killings in the southern part of the state by armed herdsmen.
The Guardian newspaper reported that SOKAPU president, Jonathan Asake, in a television programme, accused Bantex of not showing empathy to Kaduna south indigenes when the herders attacked communities and killed hundreds.
Asake said that Bantex had joined forces with el-Rufai in the marginalisation of southern Kaduna people and showed no concern over their plight when they were attacked.
But Bantex said that in many fora, he had been vilified for alleged anti-government policies against southern Kaduna, adding that he was also concerned about the problem.
He said that Governor El-Rufai, in his first term, saddled him with the responsibility of ensuring that peace returned to southern Kaduna.
Meanwhile, after President Muhammadu Buhari was elected in the 2019 general elections, Bantex's name came up as a likely ministerial nominee in the Federal Executive Council.
The late deputy governor was said to have had some politicians lobbying for him to be appointed a minister.
Those pushing for Bantex nomination as a minister at the time had hinged it on the fact that he needed to be compensated for losing out in the Senate race.