Ortom: A Power Broker With National Appeal And Positive Vibes
By Frederick Adebayo.
I have observed the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom for quite some time and conclude that he is not the type of leader you meet every day who cares only about what benefits him. Nothing approximates the test of true leadership than challenges of crisis which demand the best from those saddled with the responsibility to lead. Unfortunately, only a few leaders measure up to the task of providing leadership, in the true sense of the word.
As we are seeing it play out so glaringly in Nigeria today, leadership deficit is either reflected in a preference for prevarication when objective realities demand the unflinching display of responsibility or barefaced acquiescence in the face of daunting challenges.
Governor Ortom is a true friend to his friends. He doesn’t betray his friends. He steps forward to accept responsibility and steer the ship to provide direction when others choose to be politically correct. He has demonstrated this humane trait in his friendship with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
After the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential primaries in which Wike came 2nd behind the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Rivers State Governor appeared like a forlorn figure. Hopes began to rekindle that Atiku might pick Wike as his running mate, but such hopes too were soon dashed. Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa was chosen to fly the PDP flag with Atiku. Wike’s camp was thrown into despair.
It was in the ensuing silence that Governor Samuel Ortom roared from the Benue Valley like a lion! He threw the bombshell when he granted live interviews on Arise News and Channels television. Ortom pointedly condemned the injustice done to Governor Wike and tasked the leadership of PDP to placate the Rivers State Governor in the interest of the party. He was the one who revealed how the committee Atiku set up to choose his running mate picked Wike in a majority decision, only for the presidential candidate to turn down the choice of the committee which was a far more popular one.
Some persons within PDP were uncomfortable with the boldness of Governor Ortom, but what they could not do was counter the points he had raised with superior arguments. Today, the cry for justice that Ortom made has paid off. Wike is the sought-after ‘bride’.
PDP eventually set up a committee to reconcile the Wiki and the Atiku camps to brighten the chances of the party ahead of the 2023 elections. Presidential candidates of all the parties have met with the Wike camp. Their recent trip to Paris and London saw them hold meetings with Atiku, Peter Obi, and Bola Tinubu.
It is important to stress that Ortom could have chosen to say that after all, he is from the north like Atiku and the PDP National Chairman is from his state (in fact he played a pivotal role in the emergence of Iyorchia Ayu).
That would have been a comfortable (though selfish) route for Ortom to follow and abandon Wike. But as a leader with a national outlook and one who sees beyond ethnic and regional boundaries, he chose to stand firmly behind Wike like the rock of Gibraltar. Today, their camp is in a pole position in the power game.
It is gratifying to see Governor Ortom rekindling the hope that those in positions of authority in different spheres of public space can indeed put the interest of the people above self-serving political niceties that appease the status quo by lending credible voices in demanding a new Nigeria founded based on fairness, equity, and justice.
Nigeria is in dire need of leaders who love this country and want it to avoid hitting the iceberg and sinking. Governor Samuel Ortom is such a leader.
Though he is only governing a component of the country – Benue State, Ortom has shown uncommon patriotism by constantly watching the country’s back and making timely interventions with his statements and objective opinions on national issues. In all instances, what the Governor says turns out to be the right alarm and caution that jolts Nigerians to the reality of the danger ahead.
The PDP is today a beneficiary of Ortom’s wisdom and courage. If the party succeeds in reconciling and marching to the 2023 elections as a united party, the credit will go largely and rightly to the Benue State Governor.
Read more: WAEC Results: Why Ortom Deserves Commendation
Governor Ortom has etched his name in history as a leader worthy of emulation. Here is one leader who accepted the historical responsibility of being the voice of the people who are the custodians of the mandate of the office. He has constantly spoken truth to power.
For Ortom, bold commitment to the cause of freedom, fairness, justice, and peace has been a vivid demonstration of the beauty of leadership.
Adebayo writes from Lagos.