The Real Story Behind Sen Ben Murray-Bruce Visit to Aba


By Obinna Uche Uzoije

Sen Ben Murray-Bruce is one of the most influential people in the present day Nigeria. We, as a foundation, had a conference with him as keynote speaker sometime ago and it was so successful.

Sen Ben Murray-Bruce
The Real Story Behind Sen Ben Murray-Bruce Visit to Aba

But there’s a story behind it.

A story we are not so happy to tell. It’s deafening, yes, and do you know that this Senator waited for us at the Owerri airport for more than three hours?

There’s a mindset we all have. We all plan. Yes, we want to host a symposium and we set up plans. But over the years, I’ve seen that there’s no such thing as a perfect plan. Plans are just plans. People are still people.

We saw inviting this man as a big high. I mean a very big high. We stayed over many nights, over cups of coffee, laptops, meetings and meetings. We made myriads of contacts . We had to reschedule, change dates and relate with the listening public. We thought those one were difficult until we went to the government. This is were people change your plans.

What did we need from the government? Security, cars, hospitality for a man of his calibre, a little sponsorship which is all our prerogative as a registered nonprofit organization. Firstly, the government couldn’t even come to terms with the fact that we were bringing Senater Ben Bruce to Aba. We come everyday, introduce ourselves and repeat the same thing everyday. It got to the extent that we were just asking for cars alone and security.

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International Youth Day is a United Nations program observed annually. Our intention is making it a huge platform of inspiration for the youths within and outside the bights of Abia state. We see it as a call in the right direction and we surely garner practical results. I tell you for free.

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Our visits to the government house proved abortive overtime but we ambidextrously carried other plans and tagging along with empty promises they made. If we wanted to start buying security and renting Prado SUVs, it will suffocate the funds we sweat to distill into paying for the Herbert McCauley hall of the Binez Hotels, viral publicity, coverage etc. I can’t mention, the list can make one seasick. Most myopic people we met just wanted to know what our gain will be after all these. Mostly people in the government.

The day came and the Senator was airborne. I remember we even went to the Deputy speaker’s hotel to ask for security and just one presentable vehicle, even though we saw a fleet of cars standing around the place. Instead, he was emphasizing on how much unorganized we are and little did he know that our savings brought us to that stage of the project. And moreover, we didn’t go anywhere to acquire prowess for hosting big events, we just did things we deemed right and achievable. Nonetheless, we kept pressing him.

We know that perfection is the enemy of greatness. We had nothing but we knew it was of no consequence. We knew our rights and we knew we aren’t outside the boundaries of the law.

But the Senator was at the airport and his personal assistant was threatening to leave with him in the next flight to Abuja. At the sight of how pressured we looked, the deputy speaker gave us a security van and that was all.

Godson and I headed out first. Then Akachi. Chioma Nwakanma and Onyinye came with the security. Just two cars. That was my fastest trip to the airport but it seemed super slow. Ogbudimkpa Ikenna, Solomon, Iva Manson, Tochukwu, Mikki and Ubani were still looking for vehicles and kept calling. To calm the pressure, I cracked jokes in the car and was almost laughing alone. I didn’t stop though. A perfect plan does not exist.

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When we got to the airport, I could see the light skinned Senator pacing. It was an emotional warfare for us. A sight for shattered minds. Every one was worn out with deciding who will go to say, ‘hello sir, we are the people you are waiting for’ and maybe receive a resounding slap with an appurtenant doze of common sense.

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He actually looked a little amazed to see that we were just youths. This man smiled, greeted us and walked into the car that Chioma Nwakanma and I, out of fear, opened simultaneously. That car was a Toyota Camry 2.2. I tell you for free.

Many people think we are spoiled children, with a lot of money to invest in things as trivial as human development and rock in arenas. They get it wrong. We are just streetwise and creative. A storytelling species.

You needed to see the Senator talk joyfully in the vehicle like it was a limousine. We went to the hotel of the commissioner, had dinner with the Senator and were very inspired by his simplicity. It was a father – children scenario. We took photos and videos. Presented gifts to him and thanked him over and over again.

The next day was Abia’ s 25th anniversary. It was coincidental, totally. Before the conference, we took him to Umuahia and paid a courtesy visit to the governor. There the governor said he hasn’t heard anything about a ‘youth day conference’. All these Adobe Illustrator blogs took it up saying Ben Bruce came to celebrate Abia at 25. Nobody asked questions.

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That very day, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce spoke to more than 500 youths at the Binez Hotels. Till date, they can never forget that experience and that’s why we wake up every morning. To do things that can never be forgotten.

The only government official that was there was the deputy speaker, Cosmos Ndukwe, he did well in providing excellent accommodation, feeding, security and took care of his movements and then the commissioner for youths was there too. Apart from them, no other person. That’s how much the government here cares for the youths. We are posing a rearmament to the fact that youths are remembered during elections not during a time for human development. This is what Vision Alive Foundation is bridging. The connect between the government and the youths is homicidal.

This year, another story will be created. You may be part of it. Or you may just read it. But I’ll implore you to join and make an impact in this year’s International Youth Day event.

This is my little way of thanking Senator Ben Murray-Bruce. He is very much more than what we think he is. Thank you sir. Vision Alive foundation is thankful. Your excellence is light years ahead of ours but you embraced us with wide open arms. There’s nothing greater than being reachable, even to the common man.
We thank you 🙂


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