The immediate-past deputy governor of Kaduna State, Bala Bantex, has died aged 64.
Sources at the Kaduna Government House confirmed the death to DAILY NIGERIAN.
Mr Bantex served as deputy governor to Governor Nasir El-Rufai between 2015 and 2019 when he resigned to aspire for Senate.
In a condolence message he personally signed and made available to journalists in Kaduna, Mr El-Rufai mourned his former deputy, describing him as friend and brother.
“In Bantex, I have lost a dear friend and partner in the service of Kaduna State.
“In the midst of trying times, I have received with utter sadness news of the departure of my friend and brother, His Excellency Barnabas Yusuf Bala (Bantex).
“From our days as undergraduates in the 1970s to our practice as professional colleagues in the construction industry and eventually partners in a governance project, Bantex was consistently a dependable man of brilliance and imagination.
“He believed in the potential of our state and in the capacity of our people to work together for progressive attainments,” Mr El-Rufai said.
The stated further that ” 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.”
According to the governor, Mr Bantex radiated hope and optimism in the future of the state, even when the circumstances were dreary.
He said Mr Bantex had served the people of Kaduna State in several capacities prior to becoming a deputy governor.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Bantext served 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.
“We would miss his brilliance and his commitment to Kaduna State, his easygoing manners, his sense of humour and steadfastness to his convictions.
“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 even when hobbled by ill-health.
“We have been blessed to know Bantex and to work with him,” the governor said.
He also prayed God to grant him peaceful rest and to comfort his wife, children and the entire family in this moment of grief and loss.