Dear People of Bende,
I am sure this letter has been expected a while ago. I was waiting for the Certificate of Return from INEC before sending it out. As you all know, the election was like the examination while the Certificate of Return remains the evidence of successful outing. Without the Certificate, I had considered it too early in the day to start celebrating.
Talking about elections in Bende Federal Constituency, many wondered whether a time would come when their votes will count. This has questioned democracy so greatly that a few developed apathy towards exercising their franchise.
On the 23rd of March 2019, many of you overcame their fears, indifference, nonchalant attitude and doubt among others to stand under the rain, lined up in front of ballot boxes across 191 polling units and other voting points. It was possible only because you believed in the difference you so much desired, whose time has come and you chose to play a role in making this history. Thank You!
On my way to cast my vote, I saw the faces of both the old and young, educated and uneducated , employed and unemployed, rich and poor, able bodied and physically challenged, members of APC, PDP , APGA and other political parties with one message in their eyes; the need for a change. A message that was beyond the Party manifestos, symbols or flag colours. It was the message of the “ PEOPLE OF BENDE”. Remember, that;
we were first Bende people (brothers) with similar needs and yearnings, before we became politicians.
For Seventeen years, I have sought to be hired as the people’s messenger without relenting but pushing against the cynicism of the cynical, the fearfulness of the afraid and the doubt of the doubtful to keep hope alive for Bende. Truly, it has been a long road, gladly because you held my hand, the destination is now in view. It is a rebirth for Bende Federal Constituency. You won!
In less than 24 hours after the declaration of our victory, Comrade Emma Ugbaja, one of the national leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress, who was also the candidate of APGA called and equally sent a letter congratulating us for putting up a good fight. This man was a decent fighter and all through the campaign we showed each other a strong mutual respect. Comrade Emma is a community man who believes in a better Bende and I will be working with him for the growth of Bende. He has promised to be my host in Abuja on arrival for my duties.
I celebrate Dr. Charles Chukwunaru, a seasoned adviser to the 6th and 7th Assembly of the senate, a lecturer of repute and a candidate of YPP in the last House of Representatives elections for immediately celebrating our victory and sending in a congratulatory message to that effect.
These are good heads and good hands that will partner with me to move Bende forward and because we all love Bende equally, there will be a lot to do together for her for none of us is greater than the rest. We won equally when Bende won.
To the Senator (Elect), Abia North Senatorial District and our Senate President hopeful, who stood by the equitable distribution of power in Bende as a strategic tool for the unity and growth of our place, I am very grateful. Many waters could not quench your strong decision as the leader of the Party to do the right thing. Dr. Orji Kalu stood firm despite all pressure and offers. If that is not integrity, the true test of good leadership, I wonder what is. Thanks for showing we can depend on you. You have honoured loyalty and such honour has a life long reward. Ikwuishi will not forget in a hurry .
The leader in Bende in the person of DIG Azubuko Udah (Rtd), you were firm in what you wanted for your people of Ikwuishi and you went about it the right way at all times. An honest man indeed. Oteteukwu we are grateful. You spent personal income for this to happen, we will not fail you.
It would have been a mission impossible, without the support of my best partner in the last 14 years, a solid back bone, the Strongest woman at the home front, the power bank of my family, my wife, Dr(Mrs) Ezinne Chinyere Benjamin Kalu. The hand behind the curtain, hardly in the public eyes busy with her medical career that opponents started thinking she was not there.
Stephanie, Benjamin Jr. , Angelique, Gabriella and the new King David. I love you all for understanding why Daddy had to be away some times. Your reports have made me proud and I am indebted to you more than ever.
To my Big brother and wife Dr and Dr Mrs Obi and Obi jr. Esq. Dede Ibe, Sis Vicky, Sis Joy and Dr. Onyii, to Ugochukwu, Chioma, Tony Kalu and Dee Felix, Dee Chinedu, I am very grateful for the support.
To Hon. Emmanual Trump Eke, my campaign Director General, my own brother who worked beyond his own limitations and pushed to the end believing in the project. Dependable ally of mine.
To the heads and members of various committees too numerous to mention, we pulled together the best brains and hands from all walks of life to birth the formidable team that birthed this victory. Bende has not seen it like this before. You were honest, diligent, committed and sacrificed a lot ignoring all offers to sell out. You are the best.
I am of the church and they came rallying around me with prayers and various supports to enthrone righteousness for the people to rejoice . You all may not want to be publicly mentioned, but you know your selves and the roles you played . All the prayers were not in vain . This partnership was not to win election only but to sustain God’s righteousness on the throne for all the days I will be there. Please let’s keep the partnership . Specific mention of BenKalu committee of friends from all walks of life and spread across all continents of the world, who pulled resources , funds , ideas etc to make this happen. I treasure your friendship of 27-30 years.
To the traditional Rulers all over Bende Federal Constituency, you are highly dependable and good fathers of democracy in Bende. You kept your words and I shall keep mine . In the next four years you will feel the difference in your welfare as the custodians of our culture and the instruments of peace and unity across Bende. You have honoured me despite all odds and I will honour you . I look forward to working closely and respectfully with you. I am your son.
As an advocate of the strength in the “people’s “ element found in the definition of democracy, this victory is for the people, not for a few people , not certain people but all the people of Bende. It has never been about me . The reason you chose me, not money, not fancy gifts, not luxurious campaign events at choice centres, not associated big national names, not “billionaires “ club members , but in the obvious intention of my candidacy, found in the simplicity of my character, competence, courage and compassionate care for the people .
These were your motivation not only to donate your precious time (like my friends Chief Ikenna Ariwodo who left Japan for months for this and Chief Daniel Akwari who left South Africa for months), but to add your materials , finances and voices .
You gave and gave and I was shocked from the unexpected corners they were coming from . I saw those I thought I should be giving donate towards good governance , too many to mention. You made it the people’s project and as promised, all your penny counted and was invested in the project. So tempted to mention your names but like you requested, I will keep it just close to my heart and see it as a gift to the people of Bende. The finance committee will forward you the financials soon with our thank you letter.
This was your project, this is your victory, the government will be yours as well. I am aware that your sacrifice was beyond our winning at the polls and just like I have always said “ I am a failure if all I do is win at the polls, our victory is when we win over the daily challenges of our people, if not all, at least some”.
These challenges exist in the gaps in our laws which need to be fixed to birth good governance policies for national growth, they are all around the people of Bende who are daily faced with just basic needs which today appear a luxury only to be afforded by the advantageous few. It ought not to be so and about to change .
It may not be sunshine from day one, for we are not magicians, although strategist we may claim and it is with this tool that foundations for proper representation would be laid for our development and growth. We will fight harder and dig deeper for solutions to our needs, I am hopeful that it is doable if we keep partnering. Definitely, there will be giants on our way to hinder but God will again give us the victory .
During my campaign, I had promised you a periodic town hall meetings for us to interface with each other on our strengths and weaknesses. I intend to sustain this and promise to remain honest and transparent. Your role is to constructively criticise when needed, to speak up your disagreement with our approach and to proffer workable solutions when called upon. You are a part of this representation, so don’t just retire home claiming we have won for that is not enough to bring the needed difference . I present to you a new dynamics towards good representation that involves you at the Center. It will be effective if you take my hand of partnership today as usual and always .
The sacrifice will continue the service will continue, the selflessness, the patriotism that will look at Bende as that which is beyond us, are on the list of my expectations of you.
You have a role to play in bridging the gaps created by political parties among us . You have to believe in unity ( spirit of Ubuntu ) for this position is for all irrespective of party affiliation, association or creed. Let’s unite Bende for growth.
I am aware in the course of the campaign we may have unknowingly offended some who have refused to give us their support, to them I sincerely apologise . Forgive our mistakes and excesses and kindly don’t take our direct actions or that of our supporters personal for there is no reason to disrespect or offend you due to politics . We are not that desperate.
We may not always agree but that’s okay because there he beauty of democracy lies . I need you to help me while in office for that’s the only way to serve you right . Accept my hand of fellowship and let’s do the walk . Invite me and I will come , visit me and my door will be open, call me and I will answer. Bende is need of your participation in this representation.
To the security agents and Bende youths under the management of four great brothers of mine Cy Kwubiri, Arch. Chibuzor, Henry Chimbuo and Ekubi, you did a good job in securing Bende and the environs during the elections. Thanks for saying no to politicians importing tugs to disturb the peace of the LGA. Glad they could not buy you over, glad you stood your ground, glad you waited and followed till the end.
They boasted before the public debate but we overcame, the bragged before the election trusting in their arms of flesh, it failed them . They threatened they will stop our certificate of Return and we went back to God in prayers and He told us the battle is His. We are hearing rumours of war of litigations against our victory, we shall equally overcome and keep on marching forward. The blessings of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow . We shall stand still and see our salvation for the Egyptians we see today we shall see no more after this round . I urge all to remain strong for it is of Him that showers Mercy.
There is so much to be done, we shall remain focussed and not distracted for this too shall pass.
Join me as I scout for opportunities and prosperity in peace and unity for our people and nation.
Once again I am grateful and thank you immensely for voting for me in the last elections.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria, God bless the Government of Abia State, God bless Bende Federal Constituency.
Benjamin Okezie Kalu Esq.
9th Federal House of Representatives
Bende Federal Constituency