By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Hon. Frank Chinasa, the Labour Party (LP) candidate in the February 25, 2023 Presidential/National Assembly Elections for Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State, Friday, said he has surrendered the seat to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu.
It will be recalled that shortly after the election, Chinasa filed a petition at the Elections Petition Tribunal sitting in Umuahia, the State capital, praying the court to quash Kalu’s election on the grounds of alleged inconsistency in his name and declare him the rightful winner of the election.
But on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, the panel in its judgement upheld Kalu’s election and described Chinasa’s petition as lacking in merit.
In a press conference in Abuja on Friday, Chinasa said that he has surrendered, stressing he will not appeal the judgment.
The candidate said his decision was predicated on his conviction that Kalu was giving the constituency the required representation.
He added that as the number 6 man in the political hierarchy of the country, loved by Nigerians across all walks of life, Kalu was better positioned for the job he is currently doing at the national assembly.
He said: “While everyone expects me to journey up to the appellate court in the struggle, I am here to inform the world that I am no longer interested in taking the matter any further beyond the tribunal. This simply means that I have decided to let go of the case.
“As easily as this may sound, let me say that it wasn’t a decision made just on the heels of the tribunal’s judgement. No. It was rather a resolution taken out of brotherly love and sheer understanding of our common root and patrimony-the Bende heritage.
“Calls came to me. Appeals were made. Men and women of high repute, religious and social standing intervened and the right move was to heed their noble advice. I must however stress that this decision is not an act of judicial cowardice or a product of physical persuasion or coercion but a voluntary action that stems from the realm of brotherly love.
“Kalu and I have a history that has run into decades which cannot be ruined by the transient political activities of today. First, we are brothers from Bende. Second, we are good friends and third, we intrinsically share the same objective of good representation of our people.
“At this juncture, it must be unequivocally stated that my decision to run for this election, ab initio, was to give our federal constituency the quality representation that it deserves, judging from the poor and under-representation that has bedeviled it over years.
“But here comes a young man who in his first term tried to elevate fortunes of the constituency. And now is the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. The number 6 citizen in the political hierarchy of this great country-Nigeria.
“Gentlemen of the Forth Estate of the Realm, if this is not a huge blessing to our constituency, then, tell me what it is.
“I have come to reason that if highly revered people, elders from our State, the south east region and indeed, Nigeria will celebrate Ben and applaud President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the entire members of the Green Chambers of the National Assembly for giving Ndigbo such an position, why then, should his immediate brothers from the same constituency be seen to be the ones pulling him down? This does not make any sense in any conceivable way!
“But then, let this not be misconstrued to mean that my going to the tribunal was wrong in the first place. No! I want to categorically submit that it was well within my democratic and constitutional rights and privileges. And even Ben should understand that. What now matters is that we have eventually allowed wisdom and brotherly love to win.”
Chinasa also expressed profound gratitude to his supporters for standing by him while the struggle lasted, pleading for their understanding.
“Of course, I already know that many quarters will feel jolted and offended by this decision. I hereby appeal to all men of goodwill with saner democratic credentials to understand that if even I win the matter in court, I may not possibly become the deputy speaker. The import of this is that I would have wasted a golden opportunity for Ndi Bende, Ndi Abia and Ndigbo as a whole. Besides, let’s not also forget that ultimately, God gives power.
“On this note, I express profound gratitude to God Almighty, my family, H.E Dr. Alex Otti, my party- the Labour Party; and the good people of Bende federal constituency. To my campaign team and diehard followers, I would say: a luta continua! Let’s keep hope alive! If we don’t win today, we may win tomorrow. You did a wonderful job and I am forever indebted to you for your undying support and partnership. We launched a campaign and within 6 months, you delivered this much! You are the best any day!
“However, this is a sacrifice I must make to further show my love for our constituency. In taking this decision, let me also state that it does not take away my right of fair and constructive criticisms against Kalu’s actions and inactions for the good and best interest of our federal constituency. But for now, it suffices to say that Ben is our representative. May God bless us all. Thanks, everyone”, he said.