Every close observer of Nigeria’s political ecosystem must have taken note of the immeasurable impact Benue State has made towards the political stability of the nation. Since the country’s independence, Benue sons and daughters have played crucial roles in keeping the country on the path of national unity and cohesion.

With emerging challenges, it looked as if the State was on the verge of losing its pride of place in the national political power equation. But Governor Samuel Ortom has stepped forward in synergy with other great sons and daughters of the State to collectively redefine Benue’s place in the nation’s scheme of things.

For us in Benue, since the return of democracy in 1999, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has been a dominant political party in the State. It is imperative to also point out that the Federal Government during the days of PDP-led administration, gave Benue people ample recognition and opportunities to participate in the leadership and governance of the country at all levels.

Benue has however had a bitter experience with another political party, the APC in the saddle at the centre since 2015. It has been such a harrowing situation that as citizens, we are even denied the fundamental constitutional rights of having the security of our lives and property guaranteed. For years unending now, aggressors and daredevil terrorists torment, maim and gruesomely kill our people; but we are repulsively cautioned by the nation’s Commander-in-Chief to “accommodate and learn to live with our neighbours.”

While proving the true meaning of the popular maxim that ‘all politics is local,’ Governor Ortom has risen from a cradle of a time-tested grassroots politician to firmly establish himself as a power broker in our national political climate. Ortom, by all means has been dogged in repositioning Benue’s political trajectory towards reclaiming our national pride of place in our fatherland.

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A testament to the efforts with regards to redefining and renegotiating Benue’s place in national politics was the emergence of an eminent Benue son, Nigeria’s former Senate President who was also Minister at various times, Senator Dr Iyorchia Ayu as the National Chairman of the PDP through collaborative efforts of Governor Ortom and Benue sons like, Senators David Mark, Gabriel Suswam, Abba Moro, Orker Jev among others who collectively put forward a formidable and irresistible bargaining strength to once again, place Benue in its rightful place on the map of Africa’s largest political party.

As of today, considering Governor Ortom’s wealth of experience garnered over the decades, hardly any decision is taken in the PDP at national level without consulting or seeking his views. Given his tact, aura of courage and insistence on justice, fairness and equity, Governor Ortom has earned for himself and by extension, Benue people a place of national relevance that will see Benue once again sit at the table to contribute to key decisions concerning the growth and development of this nation.

At a time when the other political parties have relegated Benue and its people to the background, Governor Ortom in active collaboration with other sons and daughters of Benue are steadily redefining Benue’s prospects through the Peoples Democratic Party whose pro-Benue disposition is glaring.

With the coast getting clearer that Governor Ortom at the expiration of his tenure, will move on to the National Assembly as Senator representing Benue North-West Senatorial district at the upper legislative chambers, he will undoubtedly go a step further to bargain, negotiate, dialogue and win for Benue what rightfully belongs to us in the project Nigeria on a political party platform which offers all Nigerians a sense of inclusiveness and not just a segment of the country.

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The national outlook of Governor Ortom’s engagement on the political turf no doubt looks impressive and the harmonious working relationship it has created between him and his governor colleagues across the country is one of a kind. Back in Benue State too, the peaceful atmosphere being enjoyed among Governor Ortom, the three Senators representing the State, Members of the House of Representatives as well as State House Assembly Members is an experience that is envied by other people especially in some other political divides.

Governor Ortom has consistently demonstrated that irrespective of partisan affiliations, the interest of this country and our dear State must be upheld at all times. For this unbending stance on issues that are a collective burden to us as a people, Ortom has been vilified, persecuted and even singled-out for elimination by some unscrupulous elements, but God has always prevented evil men from getting their way. We however, keep trusting that though the giants may be on their way to hinder, God will surely give us victory.

The task to reclaim Benue’s position in our national life is one that requires all hands to be on the plough without looking back. As Governor Ortom is leading from the front valiantly, all good Benue sons and daughters who are not satisfied with our place in the Nigerian project should not stay aloof, but rather join the move to once again, place Benue top in the comity of Nigeria’s federating units.

*Nongu is Senior Special Assistant to the Benue State Governor on Media.

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