Kaita was born on 4 October 1932 in Katsina in the far North of Nigeria. He is a blood relative of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and a member of royal family of Nagogo, traditional rulers of the Emirate of Katsina.
He attended Barewa College, Zaria (1946–1950). Later, he studied at the London School of Economics (1971–1972).
Returning to Nigeria, he joined the Kaduna State civil service. He was in turn Secretary to the State Water Board (1973–1975), Commissioner for Economic Planning (1975–1976) and Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works of Kaduna State (1976–1977).
Early political career
Kaita was appointed a Member of the Constituent Assembly of Nigeria (1977–1978) and became Special Assistant to President Shehu Shagari (1980–1982).
In 1979, he was narrowly defeated by Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa in the election for Governor of Kaduna State. Kaita helped the NPN to impeach Musa in June 1981. Kaita contested the emirship of Katsina in 1982 after the death of Emir Usman Nagogo. He was returned as Governor of Kaduna State in the 1983 election, holding office briefly until the military coup in December that year.
After General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua was jailed in 1995 by the Sani Abacha government, Kaita was appointed leader of Yar’Adua’s Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM). Kaita was a member of the Constitutional Conference (1994–1995). He was a founding member of the People’s Democratic Party PDP in 1998.
The administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo which came to power in May 1999 appointed Kaita chairman of one of the lucrative parastatals in the Ministry of Transport.
In August 2001, he was engaged in a struggle for control of the PDM movement with the Minister of Works and Housing, Chief Tony Anenih.
In May 2002, he was president of the Nigerian polo association.
In June 2003, he was chairman of the Maritime Authority, a member of the board of trustees of the PDP, and was also a director of the SGBN Bank.
Later Kaita left the PDP to join others in forming the Action Congress (AC) party in September 2006, the platform on which Vice President Atiku Abubakar launched his unsuccessful bid for the Presidency in 2007.
In the run-up to the elections, the 74-year-old Kaita was arrested by the State Security Services on charges that he had recruited and trained hooligans.
In March 2010, there were rumors that Kaita might be returning to the PDP following a meeting with the Katsina State Governor Ibrahim Shema and other PDP leaders.
In a newspaper interview in April 2010, Kaita said that as chairman of a conclave of Atiku Abubakar’s associates, he expected Atiku to rejoin the PDP.
On 19 August 2010, Kaita was received back to the PDP by Governor Shema, in an event attended by 50,000 decampees from the Action Congress in Ingawa, Kusada and Kankia local governments.
Lawal Kaita passed away on 2nd January 2018 after protracted illness died at Nizamieye Turkish Hospital in Abuja after spending a couple of weeks on life support in the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.