By Iorliam Shija
Briefly, our hero, Mr Andy Ayabam was born on the 25th September, 1969, to a renowned educationist, Mr Christopher Wayo Ayabam, and Mrs Cecilia Adi Ayabam ,from Ushongo Local Government(both of blessed memories), at Mkar Christian Hospital, Gboko, Benue State. Both parents were teachers. Because the Ayabams had lived principally in Benue State, Andy had his upbringing in and around the major Benue towns of Makurdi, Gboko and Otukpo; most of these time, going on transfers with the father. Mr C W Ayabam, Andy’s father who was a devoted Christian, well known disciplinarian and astute teacher, raised Andy and his siblings, to be good citizens, devoted Christians and educated.
To lay a solid educational background for his son, the father had enrolled him in the best schools in the land then. Robert F Kennedy, Gboko, St Francis Primary School Otukpo, Demonstration School Makurdi, WM Bristow Secondary School, Gboko. He later attended University of Jos, where his got his first degree (Bsc) and then Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU)where he had his masters(Msc).
He started his banking career with Afribank(Now known as Mainstreet Bank) in 1997. He was with the bank from then till 2006 when he joined his current employers, FCMB. With tact, dedication, show of unusual abilities and unequalled workmanship in the banking system, he got a meteoritic rise to the top cadre in a record time within the system.
Andy Ayabam is married to Deyila Hembadoon Ayabam (nee Adedzwa). Daughter of Prof Adedzwa; she is a wonderful companion to him and most of us that watch them closely, see her even as his mother. The marriage is blessed with Children.
Even with all these achievements and feats at his sleaves, as it is style, he made no noise. He remained calm, did what should be done as a focused professional and shared quality time with family and friends. In 2010, the Governor of Benue State, Dr Gabriel Torwua Suswam, identified his talents and brought him to head the state revenue services. Just within few years, he was able to employ/ create jobs for the agency, leading to enhanced awareness and increase in revenue generation. Today, every house you go to throughout Benue State, one is surely going to see someone that Ayabam had employed. There is no place here to pen down what he has been doing in the banking industry. Just recently, Benue State went agog because most of the people he employed as contract staff were confirmed by the state with permanent status.
As early as 1849, the Mbayion people are said to have settled in what is known today as Gboko; although it took the activities of the Christian missionaries to lay the foundation of the town. When Captain RW Downes wrote a report on his assessment of why the British found it difficult to rule the Tiv people, part of his recommendations, which were put in place, was the creation of a Tiv Divison, hence Gboko became its headquarters in 1932. With Christian missionary activities, government presence and educational facilities, Gboko town was naturally set to become a great town, one which no parent should have fears raising their children in. But events that proceeded seem to conspire against this logic. Although Gboko has produced quite a number of great men, yet In Benue state, the term “IorGboko”, roughly translated as Gboko people connotes evil, disorderliness and the likes. But that was out of the town that our hero emerged. Like others, quite successfully.
Ayabam tells us therefore that we can be different; we can withstand pressure and make meaning out of our lives and others. We can come from any place, renowned for anything, but we can make a difference. The Father, a well-known teacher who had taught at GSS Gboko, GSS Otukpo, Government College Makurdi, Government College Katsina-ala and also was the first to teach/introduce Science education at Queens of the Rosary Secondary School, Gboko, should also be commended for the time and resources he put in to raise a refined son, like Andy. His mother too.
Ayabam has not only shown to the younger people that , with carefulness and dedication to service, much could be achieved, but he also communicates to leadership, in Benue State and Nigeria. Ayabam says with creativity in leadership that makes allowance for the new technology and is idea based, miracles could be performed. So like I said earlier, this man indeed deserves not only our praises but should be understudied and emulated. In a short time, Ayabam brought sanity and clear thoughtfulness to our leadership structure; what seems to be lacking at the moment. The simple and unassuming man that he is, he has not only lived his life in the open, he is accessible; he uses the new media effectively and his phones are always open; Benue lets learn from Ayabam.
I also said we shall also use this special day to encourage our hero. Mr Ayabam, you are obviously caught out for greatness and, you are destined for a mission for your generation. Such a task comes with a price. It was Chinua Achebe in his classic novel Things Fall Apart who painted the travails of Okwonkwo as he struggled to wriggle himself out of the poverty in his family and resisted the indoctrination of the cultures of his forefathers. He surely did, but became excited, hyper reactive and rigid, with this task; he became afraid with the consequences of his choices and committed suicide. Learn from Okwonkwo.
Sir, remain as calm as you are now. The eyes of all Benue People are on you. Happy birthday and I wish