Samuel Ortom @61, a humble genesis to apex leadership By Abrahams Kwaghngu

Nigerian Concord Newspaper

Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State clocks the Biblical three-scores and one year on 23rd April, 2022. Samuel Ortom was born several months after Nigeria attained political independence from the British colonial masters. Ortom grew up in the years of fervent nationalism when the nation’s founding fathers from the regions across Nigeria were driven by an uncommon passion fueled by patriotism for a greater country where ethnic and tribal sentiments do not determine the placement of Nigerians.

In his younger years, he faced hard circumstances that helped strengthen him and prepared him for the great leadership roles God ordained for him. The young Ortom had his first unpleasant experience in 1979, where his first two years academic journey in Idah Commercial Secondary School in Kogi State was unceremoniously cut short following his father’s retirement from the Nigeria Police Force. He was unable to pay his school fees. Faced with a choice of choosing a life of crime or becoming a labourer, he chose to move into the Gboko motor park where he began his first working life in the motor park doing odd jobs among the drivers, loaders and motor park unions.

His dedication, honesty, and Christian virtues eventually attracted destiny helpers to him as a good Samaritan taught him to drive while another helped him to obtain a Driver’s License which got him employed as a professional driver of a renown Gboko based Christian leader and prominent politician, Pa Samu Ihugh. This employment may have played a defining role in Samuel Ortom’s life. The relationship between the young Ortom and Pa Samu blossomed as it went beyond an employer and employee. Ortom with a natural instinct to learn, was soon able to learn many vital lessons from his Boss, lessons in political and Christian lifestyle. This was made possible due to his naturally humble nature. The life of Governor Ortom is a source of inspiration as his humble beginning confirms the truth in the Biblical injunction in Zechariah 4:10 which says: Do not despise these small beginnings…

The Governor’s journeys through different facets of his life is also marked by his often-dramatic victory through life changing circumstances. His battles and determination to obtain formal education despite formidable obstacles again confirms that perseverance pays off in the long run when one maintains unwavering focus on set objectives. Divine providence enabled him to apply and complete his secondary education, obtained Diplomas in Salesmanship, Journalism, Advanced Diploma in Personnel Management as well as Masters in Public Administration. He crowned his academic conquest with a Ph.D in Conflict Management from the Commonwealth University, through Distant Learning.

His Christian lifestyle, political and business career, accomplishments marked valuable episodes in his life that brought out his determination to succeed through perseverance and his unshakeable faith in God often see him snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in decisive periods. There are enduring lessons to be learnt through his rise as a Local Government Chairman, State Party Treasurer, Secretary, Deputy Chairman and National Auditor of major political Parties and Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria following the rare honour bestowed on him by the Nigerian Senate on 6th July, 2011 during his ministerial clearing as the Senate asked him to ‘take a bow and go’ on account of his sincerity and humble beginning at a local motor park in Gboko.

The humanitarian and philanthropic leader has over the years paid for high cost of medical treatment of thousands of snake bite victims running into hundreds of millions of Naira in parts of Benue’s rural communities as well as granting educational scholarships to many Benue youths through the Oracle Business Foundation. Also, as a successful entrepreneur and industrialist, he employs thousands of youths through his companies and farms which he strategically located in the State. He was the first Governor to pioneer the establishment of ranches for livestock through a law passed by the Benue State House of Assembly, a law that has since become a model in the country being adopted by some States across the country as a long-term solution to violent incursion of herders into farming communities. Most importantly he introduced the fear of God in governance having laid the foundation by dedicating Benue State to God at the genesis of his administration in 2015.

As our leader, defender and torch bearer attains 61, let us sustain prayers for his long life, good health and divine wisdom as he maintains his firm stand on the side of justice, equity and fairness even as many people and groups continue to mobilize support to see him at the ‘Red Chambers’ of the Senate come 2023 to continue his crusade for good governance, equity, fairness and justice.

Happy 61st birthday to our Leader.

Hon. Abrahams Kwaghngu,
Principal Special Assistant, Special Duties to the Governor