Let me use this privilege to congratulate an industrialist, Dr. Samuel Ortom and all Benue people limpid victory in the just concluded governorship election.
Mr. Governor-elect, may the good God of heaven be with you and grant you wisdom, strength and grace to take Benue to an uncommon pinnacle.
Before I make headway, let me unveil myself to you. I am a citizen of Nigeria from Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State; unapologetic information professional and a passionate writer. I am one of those who believe you have the mettle, temerity and gutsiness to transform our in-depth loved state, Benue.
Sir, on the day of Gubernatorial and State House of Assembly Election in Nigeria, April 11, 2015, Benuelectorates left their various businesses, duties, comfortable homes and queue up in their various poling units to decide on who would lead the state in the next four years. This exercise was characterized by acute starvation, inconveniency, threats and aggressive attacks from anti-democrats. Besides, so many voters permanently changed their earthly address in the course of exercising their civic duties.
For instance, I could remember how a corps member and an agent working for All Progressives Congress (APC) was gruesomely murdered by sponsored thugs. However, voters could not succumb to these petrified moments because Benue electorates started the execution of an agenda for change.
The outcome of the result released by Benue State INEC’s Returning Officer, Professor Hayward Mafuyai, unarguably evinces that highest votes (55,022) for governorship candidate of the APC, Dr. Samuel Ortom, were recorded from Gboko Local Government Area.
You may be engaging your brain to have a true interpretation of this scenario. Apart from you, other inquisitive and well-meaning Nigerians would love to comprehend the rationale behind this massive; huge sweep. This open letter answers the question in clear terms.
The people of Israel (Israelites) were held captive for several years in a foreign land, Egypt, under the vile rulership of king Pharaoh. Their freedom, rights and privileges were buried in the grave of wickedness. Yet, the Israelites kept on trusting God for divine intervention and deliverance from their plight.
Subsequently, a divinely sponsored rescue team, Moses and Aaron, were sent by God to redeem Israelites from their protracted predicament. Meanwhile, Pharaoh, a black-hearted king would not want God’s people to get out of such mess, but with the heavenly order and plagues that make the lan ddiscomforting, he had no option than to let go Israelites. On their way; they encountered a red sea in the front, while their back was crowded with Pharaoh endorsed soldiers, chasing them on chariots. Moses held out his staff and the sea was parted by God, and Israelites walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea on one hand. On the other hand, their chasers got drowned in the sea with their chariots. Therefore, they all triumphantly entered the promise land. God has exhibited this same scenario in our modern times again.
Gboko is a traditional capital; ancestral home of Tiv native authority and official residence of Tor-Tiv, who is the paramount leader of Tiv people. Many of prominent Tiv sons and daughters have a home in Gboko where they visit often. However, Gboko remains highly underdeveloped in terms of infrastructure, poor road networks, epileptic electricity, abysmal educational system, and youth unemployment is very high as can be seen among many youth inhabiting the town, who survive mostly on riding commercial motorcycles popularly known as “Okada”. In consequence, the rate of crime and kidnapping remain high as youth unrest soars.
Your Excellency, like Israelites were held captives for so long in Egypt, our situation here in Gboko is certainly the same. We were released from King Pharaoh (military rule) in 1999 and our journey had been somehow smooth; but suddenly we encountered a red sea, which is bad governance. During this time, dividends of democracy had not found its full manifestation in Gboko; in fact, it is a strange terminology to us.
Still at that, we had engaged ourselves in prayers waiting for God-sent Moses that would part the red sea for us to match through the promise land, which is development. Here are you with your anointed staff- wealth of experience and administrative acumen. This is the most and only reason why you received massive support and votes in Gboko, because you are an answer to our protracted prayers.
Sir, as a passionate reader, I gathered so much information from your official website (www.samuelortom.com), which impelled me to confidently assert that:you started opening the pages of your treasured life in Gboko. Your life history could be widely traced to Gboko, where your academic journey started receiving meaning, at St. Johns Primary School; where you served as Park tout, Bus conductor and Taxi driver. You hustled in these capacities just because job creation, poverty alleviation progrmmes, and government support for youth were fractured. Up till now the ugly situation is still obtainable in Gboko. We are actually convinced that you know what Gboko means to you, to Tiv Nation and to Nigeria as a whole. A good child will always remember his mother that fed him with breast when he grows up, and I proposed within my heart that you are one of them.
Sir, I call on you with a high sense of humility and sincerity to remember Gboko even as you take over this seat from incumbent Governor, Dr. Gabriel Suswam. Our streets are dilapidated; accidents become common to us because of potholes roads and we would look like Europeans during dry season because of dust. Gboko youth that were shouting “Chenji” are still unemployed. Our schools are still locked; they are now fields for setting traps, playing football and grazing land for animals. Water is another hot cake. Electricity supply is still below expectation. Predominantly, our NTA project at Gboko Hill is unfinished. We supported and voted for you massively because we know you are a reservoir of leadership potentials and a strong supporter of progress. Please, be fair enough to revive Gboko and Benue in general.
My Distinguished Governor-elect, I know I lack experience and knowledge to make an input in your administration but please permit me to remind you of two fundamental issues: beware of political jogglers that capsized the outgoing administration; and remember to be a lifetime enemy of corruption, which is making some doubting Thomas to query this change we have been shouting.
Let me state categorically that, you are wholly aware of your party’s philosophy, change. Remember to give Benue state another look in terms of development, commit to memory to work in line with your name, “Ortom”, meaning a worker. Remember to run a consultative and participatory government, don’t be a‘’civilian general” and commit yourself to fulfilling your glamouring promises. More so, rebuke sycophants, praise singers, apple-polishers, bootlicks around you and face business. Above all, be a strong fan of prayers, don’t neglect God assembly and keep faith.
Sir, incumbency power is no longer a determinant factor for second tenure, rather performance. So, if you fail to perform your second tenure ambition is already defeated, because finger thumb has power more than riffle in our current democracy. Benue people will indisputably turn blind eyes on you if you do not meet up with their highly concentrated presumptions.
Finally, pardon me for any expression or vocabulary that you may find abhorrent or disrespectful. God will bless you and enrich you with appropriate resources to make Benue state an envy of the world.
*Tor Shiekuma Felix, unapologetic information professional and writer, wrote in from Gboko; firstname.lastname@example.org