James Ibechi

Governor Ortom and the burden of equity

By steve anyebe

I got close to Samuel Ortom(His Excellency the Governor) when he was State Secretary of PDP. As Special Assistant to Distinguished Senator David Mark then, I had to be close to our Party’s State Secretary for obvious reasons. My first peep into the Ortom mind disposition was when he jumped out of his car in Abuja to roundly deal with one of our Party men who had snatched an envelope from me containing my allowance as National Delegate. The tirade of Tiv that ushered from him was quite ferocious and the snatcher immediately returned my envelope.
All I gathered from a bystander, after Ortom had left, was that he hated injustice.
My path and Samuel Ortom’s crossed many more times after that episode, all the while my respect for him growing. Our next major meeting however, was in my village, Upu London, when his son came to take Hon Ben Ikwue’s daughter as wife. I started marking him out from that time as a Tiv man inclined to the Idoma.
Then came the appointment of Justice Adam Onum as Chief Judge of Benue State. That was a big one by all standards. Nothing would have happened if he hadn’t appointed Justice Onum to the revered stool, but the spirit of equity and fairness obviously took the better part of Governor Ortom. I read a clear message from that novel action. Just like Governor Ortom’s appointment of Mrs Veronica Onyeke, a Benue South woman, as first ever female Head of Service in Benue State.

Gov. Ortom

My next assessment of the spirit of fairness in Governor Samuel Ortom’s inkling is in the stories I have heard about his attachment to balancing appointments, taking into consideration the elements of equity and fairness. Having left the PDP in 2019 due to perceived internal contradictions in the Party, I have nonetheless kept tabs on goings on in the State. It is pertinent to point out at this point that, were Governor Ortom not so rigid on his principle on equity, some local government Chairmen would not be on their seats today.In the 2021 celebration of the Governor’s birthday, Ortom clearly, though showing some restraint, demonstrated again his love for the Benue South person, by eulogizing his Deputy, Engr Benson Abounu, to the extent that Prof Ayatse, HRM the Tor Tiv, had to expose the Governor’s intention.
Again, Governor Samuel Ortom’s declaration to a Kwande group recently seeking His Excellency’s support for the 2023 governorship, that a level playing ground would be provided for all aspirants, is another clear indication of his preference for Benue South.
All these instances of his demonstrated attachment to the principle of equity and fairness not withstanding, Governor Samuel Ortom hit the final nail on the coffin of injustice in his reaction to the communique issued by the Southern Governors Forum stating, among other resolutions, their resolve for rotational presidency between North and South as from 2023. A press statement by Terver Akase read in parts ”Governor Ortom …also lauds his counterparts in Southern Nigeria for backing their May 11 Asaba declaration against open grazing….. He also commends the Southern Governors Forum for their position on rotation of Presidency between the north and south, beginning from 2023……Governor Ortom believes that only EQUITY, FAIRNESS AND JUSTICE (emphasis mine) can strengthen the unity of Nigeria, give all citizens a sense of belonging and reduce tensions across the country.”
What more is there to say? There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the Defender of the Benue Valley had his State in mind when he made the above statement.
Just see Governor Ortom’s concluding remark, according to the press release, ”He restates his commitment to speaking out against injustice and quotes Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, who stated that ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’
I have never felt happier than reading Terver Akase’s press statement.
NOTHING MATTERS IN BENUE STATE NOW MORE THAN POWER SHIFT TO BENUE SOUTH COME 2023! Benue is only a microcosm of Nigeria. What applies to the country should also be replicated in the state.
My special thumbs up to His Excellency, Governor Samuel Ortom for his great spirit of justice, equity, fairness, equation balancing, so far. May God Almighty avail him the necessary wherewithal to continue on that righteous path.

Categories: James Ibechi

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