Though loved by many because of work ethics, hated by many because of political affiliations and respected by many because of unflinching loyalty, Barnabas Y. Bala Bantex is a man that the southern Kaduna demography will remember for a long time.
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Born in 1956 to the family of Pastor Bala Shekari, a man claimed as the first Pastor to be so ordained by Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) –now known as ECWA Church-in the whole Moroa chiefdom and Mallama Kako Bala Shekari in ECWA Theological College Kagoro, Barnabas Y.
Bala Bantex rose from the backyards of a missionary’s home in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna state to become one of the most prominent political sons Kaura and arguably, the Southern Kaduna people have ever had.
Arch Barnabas Yusuf Bala popularly known as Bantex, grew through the obstacles of his time to become a political colossus. Having lost his father at an early age, Bantex started schooling in what is now called, Tagwai Sambo Modern Primary School, Manchok at the age of 4 where his father worked as the Christian Religious master.
After his Father’s demise, His foster mother, Mrs Rahab Ransom (Nee Kambai), took up the responsibility of raising and leading him through life. He was admitted to the Federal Government College (FGC) Warri after the completion of his Primary Education and subsequently, to the University of Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria respectively where he qualified as an Architect and earned a Master’s Degree with distinction in 1981.
Shortly after graduating from ABU Zaria, the University offered him an appointment as Graduate Assistant in 1987, but He opted for another opportunity offered at the University of Jos and continued there as a lecturer for six years.
Many people wonder why the man was referred to as Bantex. The name stemmed from his company, BANTEX CONSORTIUM, a successful private business that focused on architectural construction. Years down the line, the company will become responsible for contributing to the myriad of numerous qualitative and standard projects in major cities of Northern Nigeria.
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Prominent Nigerian figures at different times commented on the quality of work Bantex produced at all times. At one time, the late Gen. Sani Abacha saluted the brilliance of the BANTEX pavilion at the Kaduna International Trade Fair Complex. The same project was inspired by the Jomo Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, Kenya of which Bantex travelled to go study.
At another time, then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, commended Bantex when he commissioned Turaki Buga Memorial Hospital, Kagoro built by BANTEX while serving as Chairman of Kaura Local Government Council. Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, lavished commendations when he inspected the Medical Centre constructed by BANTEX consortium at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPPS) Kuru – Jos.
The same feeling was experienced at the inspection of the Plateau State Governor’s Office complex designed by Arch. Barnabas Bala (BANTEX).
Beyond Projects to People and Politics
But it went beyond just architecture, Bantex believed in more than building edifices but also people. That led him to venture into politics and strangely enough, He opted for membership in the opposition party in a Geo-Political Zone and Local government of the then ruling party.
Bantex enjoyed good fortunes in politics. Bantex successfully won election as Local government Chairman, won election into the House of Representative, representing Kaura Federal Constituency and He also won election as the running mate of the Governor of Kaduna state in 2015 under the All Progressives Congress (APC). His last attempt at a public office while vying for the senatorial seat of the southern Kaduna people ended in a loss to the incumbent.
After having contributed meaningfully to projects execution, legislative contributions, administrative and management services, Yusuf Barnabas Bala died on the 11th of July, 2021 after a prolonged illness.
Featured Image Source: Procyon News
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