Few minutes ago, I phoned my brother and friend, Benjamin Mzondu of the PDP and offered him my congratulations for emerging the winner of the 2019 elections for the Makurdi/Guma House of Representatives seat. We have never been enemies, we are only driven by the passion to represent our people.
Every election is a hard-fought battle, and this one was no exception. For those of us who choose to be contenders and go into electoral contests, we go about it as a win-lose proposition. We believe that only one person can emerge as the winner. Even though as a contestant, there was no electoral materials in my own polling unit of RCM Yelewata in Nyiev council ward of Guma LG until after 6pm when I was called to turn back halfway into my journey to Makurdi. There were also cases of no elections in many polling units in Yogbo and Nyiev, and shortfall of ballot papers in others.
However, victory belongs to God and He gives it whenever the time is right, odds notwithstanding. It is precisely on account of my belief in providence and the future of our nation that notwithstanding the irregularities and vote buying associated with this election in many places, I have decided at this stage to congratulate my brother.
I thank the people of Guma and Makurdi for hearing my case. I have traveled this constituency, and wherever I’ve gone the people have heard me out. They’ve listened to me, they’ve treated me fairly, they’ve lifted my spirits and they’ve added to my strength. I deeply appreciate the effort of my leaders, Citizen Richard Asema, Hon. Dennis Udepuun and Mama Martina Shirsha. I would like to thank the members of my campaign team, especially our 2 Cordinators: Barr. Peter Tarkaa and Hon. Felix Ngutswen Terese, Spokesman – George Gudu, Special Advisers – Khalifa Bello, Arc Kenneth Hippi Tyo to my younger brother and chief pillar – Barr. Nyam Jude, all our campaigners and my lovely brothers in the social media team – Andy Nomsoor, Ikyapa Philip, Fish Agaku and everyone for their diligent service in all fronts. They went out on their own and they multiplied our campaign all across this land. I know how you feel, because I’ve been there myself. Do not despair, this fight didn’t end this year, it begins this year. I’ve been around for awhile and I have noticed in the seeds of most every victory are to be found the seeds of defeat, and in every defeat are to found the seeds of victory. Let us fight on and remain steadfast.
No one handled my campaigns with steadfastness, with grace and with courage and candor, that I love, than my wife Brenda Utoo and my beloved aunty, Dr. Margaret Bai-Tachia, and I thank them immensely for standing as firmly with me through the times of challenge and difficulty as they have through the times of achievement and promise.
And to my two children, Adrian and Nicole, I wish to thank them for staying strong and enduring long days and nights without their parents. It was unbelievable.
Thanks also to friends and family of a lifetime, friends made all across the years, and then all across the miles of this campaign. You are so special. You brought the gift of your passion and love into my heart and galvanised the possibilities of change. It is because of you that we’ve come this far and broke barriers even without godfathers, money and a poor and weak party structure. Thanks to all who stood with us and contributed the little they had, and everyone who voted, no matter who their candidate was. Most importantly, I am grateful to the almighty God who has sustained us every step of the way.
I want to especially say to our people: In this journey, you have given me the honor and the gift of listening and learning from you. I have visited your homes, I visited your churches and community fields, I visited your markets, halls, I’ve heard your stories. I know your struggles, I know your hopes. They are part of me now. And I will never forget you and I’ll never stop fighting for you. You may not understand completely in what ways, but it is true when I say to you that you have taught me and you have tested me and you’ve lifted me up and you’ve made me stronger. I did my best to express my vision and my hopes for our people. We worked hard and we fought hard, and I wish that things had turned out a little differently. But in situation like this, there are no losers, because whether or not our candidates are successful, the next morning we all wake up as members of one big family under God.
I am confident that history will judge us honorably, so let us be determined to fight on. We must fight on for a more just society and for a stronger system where our institutions would be more powerful than strong men. With a grateful heart, I leave this campaign with a prayer that has even greater meaning to me now that I’ve come to know our people so much better thanks to all of you and what a privilege it has been to do so. And that prayer is very simple: God Bless You!
Yours In Service,
Franc Fagah Utoo, Esq. LQC (Malaysia); LL.B Hons (Newcastle, UK ); BL (Abuja)
Makurdi/Guma House of Representatives election 2019