Balarabe Musa was elected governor of Kaduna State in 1979 on the platform of the People's Redemption Party, PRP, a party founded by Aminu Kano. The dominant National Party of Nigeria, NPN challenged his election unsuccessfully.
His party was initially a member of the PPP alliance in opposition to the NPN, but later quietly withdrew. As governor, he was stalemated by the Kaduna State House of Assembly, which was dominated by NPN members.
He was unable to form a cabinet since he refused to nominate NPN members and the House refused to ratify his candidates. Eventually the House impeached him in June 1981, making him the first Nigerian state governor ever to be impeached.
A Marxist, when the Kaduna Polo Club sent Musa an invitation to join along with a mallet he refused the invitation and gave the mallet to a servant, saying "I don't play polo ... It is the game of the rich and powerful, of neo-colonialists".
Musa later said he was impeached because he planned to have the state open small- and medium-sized industries, and this would deny the NPN members the opportunity of establishing their own enterprises.
He did initiate some state-owned companies, but they were unprofitable and all were eventually closed down.