Okey Sampson, Aba
Chief Benjamin Kalu is the All Progressives Congress (APC) member-elect for Bende Federal constituency. He speaks on the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections.
You have been elected to represent Bende, how does it feel winning such election after many attempts?
Yes, I started this aspiration to give quality representation to my people as far back as 2002, so, we are talking of 17 years now. I was asked to stop at the primary level when I ran against Mbah Ajah because it was not zoned to Bende south. The zoning formula for distributing power in Bende Federal constituency was applied then, so, I waited. In 2007, I did not run because our brother, Chief P.C Mba was running then and I felt I should not contest against him. In 2011, I went in for it and I fought very hard but the powers that be truncated it and it did not see the light of the day. In 2015 again, I went for it and the same thing happened, but I refused to give up. So, I feel very happy that my persistence, my consistency, my patience, my long suffering and endurance was not a wasted effort. So, my victory does not come just by winning at the poll, my victory will come when the challenges of my people are taking care of.
You won overwhelmingly including defeating your opponent in his polling unit, what do you make of that?
Winning my opponent in his polling unit means total rejection, it means they have seen a quality, they have seen a character, they have seen the competence, courage and personality that has something that goes beyond the sentiment of brother, and Igbere where he comes from, voted for me en masse and that is that. They know I have been loyal to their illustrious son, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, and people of Bende town have been supporting him all these years and Igbere people decided to reciprocate. I am so glad about that.
Your principal, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu also won the Abia North senatorial seat, how do you feel about that?
I’m very happy that Kalu won his election, he’s my big brother and I have identified with him since my political career and I have no regret. I have learnt a lot from him politically and I have also seen reasons to follow him the more. Tell me who has built more roads, provided electricity, built and rebuilt schools, tell me who has given more jobs, tell me who has renovated more health centres, tell me who has made a lot of people to build new houses, buy vehicles and train their children in school around the senatorial zone and beyond other than Kalu and I will leave him and follow the person. The truth remains that no political leader in the history of Abia State has done more than Kalu. You might compare him with Dr. Sam Mbakwe in his time. But in the recent political dispensation, Kalu has done more than all of them put together.
Senator Mao Ohuabunwa is questioning INEC for declaring Kalu winner of the poll. What’s your reaction?
Mao does not know what he is talking about. If you do that election 20 times, Kalu will win Mao 20 times. By questioning INEC’s action, it means Mao is trying to equate himself with Kalu; that absolutely should not be. And come to think of it, Mao started his political career the same time I started and that is 2002. And I tell you, it was the same Kalu who cleared the path for him to get his ticket to become a member of the House of Representatives before he ran for Senate. I was running for House of Representatives primaries when he was running for similar primaries. It was Kalu who cleared the route for him; he wasn’t even supposed to stand in the same election with Kalu because I knew what happened then if the truth must be told. Kalu made Mao who he is today and that is the truth; he is supposed to be a political son to Kalu, he should not be going about telling people that he is better than Kalu. What has he done to his senatorial zone since he was Senator all these years? There is nothing to show for it, let the truth be told. Ohuabunwa is my friend, yes, but I cannot compare or equate his friendship against a man who is a political leader who knows where to get what the senatorial zone needs. Kalu understands the needs of the senatorial zone far more than Ohuabunwa and because he understands it more, that is why he is going to go to Abuja and he will know how to bring the solution to the senatorial zone.`
Do you think Kalu has what it takes to represent Abia North in the Senate? Such doubts if any could only come from people like Mao. Kalu has more than what it takes to represent Abia North in the Senate. He is beyond this senatorial zone, that’s the truth. If the constitution had allowed for a third term, Abia people would have voted Kalu again as a governor. Kalu has what it takes to be Senate President of this country and you are talking about just being Senator for Abia North. A man that has been governor for eight and went back to his business and his business is not going down after being a governor even though he is a pensioner, he is supposed to be paid his pension, but Abia State government has not been paying him. He still went back to his business to feed from his business. He is the only governor that is still standing with his two legs affording his needs after leaving office for about 12 years now. So, he is more than qualified to represent Abia North in the Senate and I know he will not disappoint his people.