Benjamin Kalu, Primus Inter Pares – Ogba

BENJAMIN KALU, PRIMUS INTER PARES – AGWU OGBA

The race for the seat of Bende Federal Constituency has thrown up a lot of aspirants. The proliferation of political parties further worsened the situation, as every Dick and Harry is indicating interest to occupy this all important position. A position which has almost remained unproductive for Ndi Bende in the past 10 years given the lack of initiative of the current occupant of the position.

BENJAMIN KALU, PRIMUS INTER PARES – AGWU OGBA

The race for the seat of Bende Federal Constituency has thrown up a lot of aspirants. The proliferation of political parties further worsened the situation, as every Dick and Harry is indicating interest to occupy this all important position. A position which has almost remained unproductive for Ndi Bende in the past 10 years given the lack of initiative of the current occupant of the position.

Can Bende Afford to repeat same mistake again? Can Bende afford to elect yet another Legislator who will be alienated to the people? Can we afford as a people to watch other constituencies reap bumper harvests while we grope in the dark like a people without representation?

The choice is still ours!

Today, many Aspirants are junketing up and down, making glorious promises, raising the hopes of our people with little or no intentions of fulfilling them.

Yet in the midst of these aspirants, one man stands out.

A worthy son of Bende!

An accomplished Technocrat of International acclaim.

A firm believer in the Bende project!

A grassroot man!

A lover, a giver, a passionate advocate of Youth empowerment and above all, a youth who believes, advocates, and promotes youth inclusiveness juxtaposed with Love and respect for the elders!

Benjamin Okezie Kalu is that Man.

With no iota of doubt, we all in Bende in our heart of hearts strongly believe his time has finally come. The latest poll shows that irrespective of Political Party, Bende people are beginning to check him out the more, listen to his community development messages better than before, compare his past records in the last 17 years ;

A. He was the only Local Government Chief Executive under Gov. Orji Uzor Kalu, who left Millions of Naira in the treasury while leaving office in 2003 , against all pressure to sign off the funds to himself, aides and  politicians. This fetched him enemies who are today celebrating his integrity.

B. He played a major role in repositioning Abia State under Gov. TA Orji as one of the most Millennium Development Goals- MDGs compliant State in Nigeria under his watch as the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on MDGs. His work experience at the Australia for United Nations High Commission for Refugees Sydney, New South Wales was very resourceful.

C. As the Senior Special Adviser to the Governor under Gov. T. A Orji on International relations, he represented Abia State well internationally and brought the largest number of potential investors to the State for possible PPP (Public Private Partnership) or FDI ( Foreign Direct Investment) . As an international investment expert Chief Kalu , knows his map around major global commercial players. Always ready to help his State with his vast global business  contacts.

D. Were you told that he designed and lobbied for the construction of the Traditional Rulers Council chambers in Bende LGA, when he found out that council of Traditional rulers numbering over one hundred, had no place of their own for their monthly meetings? Yes he did . Am sure most traditional rulers are not aware of this till date. Chief kalu is not like the other loud politicians .

E. Did you know that the past Bende LGA chairmen were finding it difficult to work daily in a very uncomfortable working environment, which made it difficult for them to regularly come to work, till he redesigned and expanded and upgraded the office blocks of Bende LGA head quarters and today the workers are more present at work than before?

F. As a believer in the works of the legislative arm of any government, Chief Benjamin Kalu , designed and influenced the construction of the acclaimed best LGA legislative complex where the councillors of all the Thirteen (13) Political wards Councillors will be accommodated for proper representation of their wards. This property is currently at the final stage.

G. A fully functional Bende Ovu Health center , was influenced, constructed and furnished by Chief Kalu. A lot of maternal health issues and lives have been saved in this health facility.

H. Umuoche/ Agbamuzu health center was also influenced, constructed and furnished by Chief Benjamin Okezie Kalu. A functional health center saving lives of both the young and old. He is currently asking for a space of land to build the doctors residence.

I. From 2003 till date, his foundation known as Benjamin Kalu foundation

(www.benjaminkalufoundation.org) has through various programs and projects too numerous to mention, supported youths in business through SME supports. children and young adults in education through various types of scholarships up to the university level, youths in sports through famous annual Bende Unity league, which the winners of this year went home with a total of One million Five hundred Naira ( autonomous and LGA Leagues) prize money and other gifts. The widows support program of the foundation has in the past fifteen years touched the lives of widows in all the rural communities of Bende. Over a hundred youths selected out of the Federal constituency have been gainfully employed from 2014 till date.

J. Socially, His foundation with Bende Consultative Forum – BCF initiated and sponsored the famous Bende cultural Carnival , which other communities have currently copied. A tourist attraction which put Bende on the map. There was none like it before 2015, others took it up after his successful outing in 2015.

K. Community projects sponsored by the Foundation and ranging from clean water provision to electricity, to farmers support are too numerous to mention. Landed properties have been recently acquired for the construction of an IT center to train more youths to be better equipped for employment, same goes for the vocational training institute that is under design now. All he thinks about is how to make Bende better. A football academy is on the list.

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L. A Methodist by birth, raised in the Assemblies of God church , and Wesley Methodist church Aba , moulded in the 11th Aba Company of the Boys Brigade with the current Deputy Speaker of the Abia House of Assembly Cosmos Ndukwe Ph.D who was then a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) of the brigade command. I met these two role models of mine later in Scripture Union Umule, and later at the Reapers club where both were in the leadership circle of the first Christian club of our time, Dr. Ndukwe as the Vice Chairman and Chief Kalu as the Public Relations Officer. This child of God doubled as the fund raising chairman of the Voice of Satisfaction and the brothers network leader, in the Christian Union fellowship of the University of Calabar , he was a committed member of the Christian Law Students Fellowship of Nigeria ( CLASFON) while deeply involved in the Student Union politics of Unical, representing the students at various levels including the then military government. One of the founding members of Amnesty International under the then Dr. Ibanga. He is currently a member of This Present House under Pastor Tony Rapu, a great leadership teacher, who just  few weeks ago equally declared Benjamin Kalu as “ a man of many parts”.

M. This 1998 law class graduate of the University of Calabar, the Principal partner with Silk Partners LLP, a lagos based law firm he founded,  is also an alumni of The Jesus college of the University of Oxford, Oxford Brookes University and currently in Dundee and the University of Sydney, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Registered Administrative Managers of Nigeria , a member ( soon to be conferred a fellow) of the Chartered Institute of International Commercial Arbitrators ( CIARB) UK , is married to a very beautiful Australian born medical doctor, Dr. Mrs.Ezinne Chinyere Benjamin Kalu and they are blessed with four lovely children.

N. Benjamin Kalu Esq. has represented Nigeria on various international platforms and came back with international awards and commendations. A patriotic and good ambassador of the federal republic. This man will represent Bende very well. Did you know that he was one of the first set of people sent by the President Obasanjo’s administration in 1999 to help launder the image of Nigeria positively in the diaspora using the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) international chapters?

Chief Benjamin Okezie Kalu, worked closely with the renown speech writer of President Ibrahim Babangida, Ambassador Tunji Olagunju (The Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa), who later headed the NEPAD, to strongly establish the PDP in various regions . He was later voted the National Chairman of the PDP in the diaspora. Governor Donald Duke of Cross River State and Alh. Shaiub Oyedekan the then PDP National vice  Chairman South West conducted the swearing in ceremony. President Obasanjo rewarded all the national party chairmen in the diaspora with landed properties inviting them to come and speed up the development of the FCT. He is not new to representative roles and has never failed in each of them , he will not fail us now.

For the want of time and space, I will in my next personality profiling of Chief . Benjamin Okezie Kalu the Utabiri 1 of Bende , show case how he has used his simple business ideas to help many fight poverty. He has created a secondary  source of income for many, whose salaries are not helping them meet up their life obligations. Wait for the part 2 , to see how a young man who trained himself in the university using gall stones found in cows took over five major companies in Europe and three others in three more continents. Hope he will allow the next story after seeing this ( wondering why he has refused to tell his story). Silence or quietness is not in all cases a sign of humility, neither is showcasing who you are for people to know their aspirant , an arrogance. It is just a way of helping the electorates process their decision about you. I Hope he agrees with me by the time he reads this.

My fellow Bende people, I am from Alayi, in Bende Local Government Area, I have worked with this man’s family from 1984 till date ( a period of 34 years), first with one of his elder half brothers,  the famous humanitarian medical doctor as his wife  Dr. And Dr. Mrs. Obi and Florence Osisiogu of the Total Health International. Doc ( as we fondly call him) was always with Chief Kalu as younger brother while going about the rural areas ministering to the sick and poor people. His love for God has remained constant even in the face of tough , very tough political decisions, he would rather forget winning than go against God’s principles and ordinances.

The current representative is my sister from Alayi as well and has been there for twelve years on behalf of the Umunna ( Bende North) constituency of Bende. For this 12 years and much more counting from 1967 till date which is 40 years our side of Bende has repeatedly been there . I will give the breakdown of how the Ikwuishii ( Bende South) constituency has only tasted the National Assembly only once for four years. Equity and good conscience makes It only fair that we support the Bende South now to produce a representative, the same way they have supported us all these years. Meanwhile, it is important to note that Bende is the oldest biggest undivided Local Government Area in Nigeria since 1976. It is over due to be split into three to four Local governments to enhance development. The only LGA which is also a federal constituency with 190 polling units and very large 13 political wards.

Therefore, I humbly appeal to Bende people to consider his capacity to represent us, his education qualifications, his wide local and international contacts, his doggedness, fearlessness, fear of God, love for the less privileged among us, applaud his commitment to the youths, support his concerns for the widows , admire his love for children’s welfare, partner with his education empowerment initiatives, honour his respect for elders and women, celebrate his love for the lord , preach about his accessibility, his availability, his patience, his loyalty, his humility ( a man who sits to eat with his drivers and gardeners and some times takes over the steering to drive his drivers), his generosity ( shares all he has with the needy) and more especially his stepping out to serve our Bende people,  by choosing him to represent us at the National Assembly.

As we celebrate Democracy day, it is my desire that irrespective of the political party, that we all should join hands  to bring the very best to Bende, so that by next Democracy day ( May 29th, 2019) we shall be in Abuja with Chief. Benjamin Okezie Kalu as the HONOURABLE MEMBER, REPRESENTING BENDE FEDERAL CONSTITUENCY IN THE FEDERAL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES , ABUJA. Bende with her numerous challenges surely needs a man with many parts and we have found that in Benjamin Okezie Kalu Esq.