By Chibuike Nwabuko

Abuja (Sundiata Post) – In far away Portharcourt, the Rivers State capital, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State was on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2022, was again honoured. This time with the prestigious “Courageous and Purposeful Leadership Award” by the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion).

It was an elaborate ceremony that had the cream of the clergy, not just the Anglican Communion family, but from different denominations. The political class was also not in short supply.

The Diocese of Evo, Ecclesiastical Province of Niger Delta which hosted the ceremony was filled to the brim. Apart from political associates, the Benue community in Port Harcourt were also on hand to cheer up their governor for this honour.

At about 13:25pm when a Venerable gentleman was called up to read Governor Ortom’s citation, the entire hall went wild with a thunderous ovation. To add pep to it, the Venerable gentleman rendered some Yoruba icing to stress the governors unbending stand against his traducers. The oral Yoruba rendition typified the strength of Ortoms character in his leadership style.

The Governor stood still and listened, and let out smiles that captured the mood of the moment.

Although the Governor has not shied away from telling his chequered life story, it reverberates anytime it is told. Two aged women who sat across the aisle from where i sat could not help but stood up, clapping all through when the last part of the citation was read.

Governor Ortom’s leadership truly typifies an uncommon courage never seen in Nigeria. This is despite the challenges he has faced in taking this lonely road, his faith in what he is doing for the people who elected him as Governor in 2015 and 2019 is unwavering.

So, while picking on Governor Ortom among other distinguished Nigerians for this award, the Church in Nigeria, Anglican Communion did not make any mistake about him at all. They described Governor Ortom as a courageous leader, who saw clear danger, but stood firmly for and with his people. The chruch was full of praises for Gov Ortom for what they said was his “bravery in defense of not just Benue people, but that of all Nigerians”

Hear part of the citation: “Your Excellency, this award is our own way of saying a big thank you to you, for standing tall in the face of danger, to execute a David’s mission against Goliath. Thank you for standing by not just the people of Benue State, but for the entire people of Nigeria.”

Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and the Primate of Anglican Church, Revd Ndukuba re-echoed what Governor Ortom has been calling for.

In their separate speeches, they  admonished the church to rise from its slumber and mobilise its members to change what is happening in the country right now.

Governor Wike particularly said that the Church “must start to mobilize its members and Nigerians in general to join and actively participate in the political process to bring about the genuine and sustainable change that the our country so urgently needs.”

Governor Ortom was accompanied to the award by the Benue State Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Akpen Leva, PhD; Dr Cletus Tyokyaa, Dr Laha Dzever, Hon David Tsevende, Dr James Anbua, Principal Special Assistant on Government House Administration, Hon. Steven Amase, Principal Private Secretary, Hon Abrahams Kwaghngu, Principal Special Assistant on Special Duties and other close aides of the governor.

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