Celebrating Isaiah Balat @ 56
Thursday, October 23, 2008, marked the 56th birthday of Mr.Isaiah Chawai Balat, a former minister and distinguished senator of the Federal Republic who represented Southern Kaduna senatorial district at the upper chamber of the National Assembly between 2003 and 2007.
Senator Balat was born in Gora, Zangon Kataf local government Area of Kaduna State, and rose through the ranks to attain prominence in commerce, industry, politics and governance.
A life that has been attested by those of us from the southern part of Kaduna as every inch successful and accomplished.
In 2004 when Senator Balat
set out to contest the 2007 gubernatorial election in Kaduna, I had the confidence that the beginning of a more fertile democracy was in the offing in the state.
As a student of politics, my idea of politicians is that of people who are selfless and ready to commit whatever time and resources they have in search of the common good.
The birth of the famous Wadata Organisation, which was undoubtedly the most sophisticated of all the campaign formations in Kaduna State leading to the 2007 elections, was a clear exemplificati on of the readiness and political sophistry of Senator Balat
mission of providing effective leadership that is people, oriented and capable of moving the state out of the doldrums of poverty and instability.
As God would have it, it didn't happen and the story is now different, but what actually captivates me about the political strategies of this colossus was his
grassroots outreach throughout the state consti tuency, breaking barriers that hither-to had existed and in a pronounced manner, thus narrowing down the politics of Kaduna State to North versus South and vice-versa.
I am of the opinion that the outreach of Senator Balat
, which covers the entire sta te, was further strengthened by the political nature of the man who personally deployed practical meet-the-people perspective of political campaigning as against the predominantly skewed and eclectic campaign strategies of his
party, the PDP.
Rising from the position of a marketing executive with the British oil giant BP to become the president of Kaduna Chamber of Commerce
, Mines and Agriculture, undoubtedly the best in the country at that moment, to become a minister of state works, and to the Senate of the Federal Republic
, in my view, suggests a picture and reality of steady but meritorious rise along the social ladder.
It was Isaiah
short stint as works minister who saw to the reconstruction of the major road that links the southern part of the state with other parts, a road that had become a death trap and basically non-motorable for years after its construction in 1975.
That singular act within the first year of the Obasan]o government created a picture of perhaps many things that we thought would come.
Most importantly, Isaiah
has been one of the moderating voices in Kaduna State who not only propel the engine of peaceful coexistence amongst the people, his
involvement in the institution of inter-ethnic harmonies in the southern part of the state is commendable and worthy of note.
Ordinarily, I should take a space in this newspaper and place an advert congratulating the senator on this birthday but I thought it would make more intellectual content if I place in history through a brief exposition those beautiful qualities that Isaiah is made of.
I am equally aware of the tremendous efforts that Senator Balat
is making in order to improve the quali ty of electricity supply in the southern part of Kaduna as a means of opening the area to industrialization when the situation improves.
Of course, before now and as a senator he
had initiated the provision of 132KVA transmission line from Jos to Kafanchan and 132 KVA at Kafanchan so as to address the epileptic power supply in the entire territory of southern Kaduna State.
has not relented in the effort to ensure the actualization of the project.
I am of the view that this is only possible if we have more patriotic political leadership that will be people-oriented and rooted as exemplified by the political life of Isaiah Chawai Balat
I believe there is nothing wrong in singing the songs of my heroes.
Others too should, if we are to restore the credibility of service in our respective communities where a tradition was built for hundreds of years before the advent of the white man on the continent of Africa.
We must identify those who are doing well and say good of them, while identifying those failing so that we may encourage them to do more and better.
Let me conclude this piece by paying tribute to Senator Isaiah Balat on his 56th birthday.