Governor Orton is a role Model to many, happy birthday to a man of his people
The Great Defender of the Benue Valley, Governor Samuel Ortom, celebrates yet another birthday on Sunday, 37 days to the end of his eight-year tenure. It is, therefore, necessary to pay a tribute to this special man, an exceptionally bold and courageous homo sapien.
Very much under-celebrated special breed of his generation, he has enjoyed so much of the exceeding grace of God to become what the world knows him as today. This is a man who, by sheer providence, has excelled where most of his peers met the end of the road to their great dreams.
Ortom’s vision to become a governor had been in incubation for 20 years before he eventually mounted the saddle of leadership of his cherished home state in 2015. If a man stands for nothing, he can fall for anything. Our comrade, friend, and brother stand for whatever he strongly believes in, even if he stands alone. He knows his onions and he is ever committed to whatever he is convinced to be the best of altruistic intentions. People deserve sincere and honest feedback when they are still able to receive it.
Good deeds should be rewarded so that they will serve as an encouragement in the face of hostilities from people who extol whatever perceived human shortcomings far above their sterling qualities. Perfection is only found in our creator. Existence precedes essence and humans have free choice to create purpose and give meaning to life and living. An existentialist creates his own identity and attributes meaning. It is a philosophy that drives what a man stands for as it stresses the importance of human experience.
Corollary to this is acceptance of responsibility for the results of their own actions. This philosophical premise best explains the persona of Ortom.
Adoption of his social roles in challenging the forces that desire the conquest of the Benue people may have shaped the public image of his personality. As a leader deserving applause from a section of society and thumb down elsewhere for standing firm where angels fear to tread, he is a hero of the Benue People, who will be better appreciated after he takes his glorious bow out of the office to his future endeavours.
An illustrious son of Benue, and highly revered Senator David Mark describes Ortom as “an uncommon political leader and a man of the people, a brave soldier committed to the well-being of Benue people.”
In contemporary Nigeria, Ortom’s political trajectory made him a household name, frequently making headline news along with his Rivers State counterpart and friend, Governor Nyesom Wike. He prepared for leadership and came into office with a grand plan of an agrarian revolution to take the ‘Food Basket’ of the Nation to higher heights as a critical source of economic advancement for his state.
However, a force majeure occasioned by the herdsmen crisis and flood turned out to be major stumbling blocks to the achievement of his goals.
These developments were a serious distraction to the governor’s developmental objectives as he struggled daily to defend his people. His deft political moves averted a deliberate mass killing of a large number of Benue people with the aim of destroying them and seizing their land as well as their heritage. This tangible achievement, I believe, prompted a General of the regular Nigeria Army, Senator David Mark, to describe Ortom as “a brave soldier.”
Today, a tangible number of Benue citizens are still in internally displaced person camps either chased away from their ancestral homes by herdsmen or by the flood. The pain in the neck for Governor Ortom is the very limited resources of Benue to handle a full restoration programme for the displaced persons and for the total security of the Benue Valley. He has done his very best in the circumstances and posterity will surely vindicate him even as the Benue people value his rare heroism.
Governor Ortom is a role model to many, and his life and leadership style deserves a study in courage, patriotism, humility, selflessness, human decency, and moral uprightness. He is readable like a book. His perseverance, persistence, focus, and entrepreneurship stand him out as a man with the Midas touch. He is kind-hearted and amiable in his human relations, devoid of any iota of the arrogance of power.
His nationalism and love for our country are incontrovertible. Ortom is a man of faith and a child of the covenant who believes in God as the hallmark of his life and living. His commitment to the things of God is taken seriously just as he commits himself to the services of humanity. His devotion to God is exemplary. I have been privileged once or twice, to be a part of his usual morning worship even with aides and associates. What I found very striking is the prophetic nature of a song (by Aunty Faith) that we usually sang to close the morning ministration. “We are able to go up and take the country (Benue). To possess the land from Jordan to the sea (Benue Valley). Though the giants may be on our way to hinder …God will surely give us victory.”
The giants in the herdsmen and the flood really hindered his planned progress. And in spite of many attempts on his life, Samuel Ortom survived to see this day.
To God be all the Glory!
Happy birthday to a governor who cared for his people and humanity.
Ojomu, former PDP National Spokesman, writes from Lagos