By Emmanuel Iorliam
Dr. Samuel Ortom
A common adage among the Tiv goes “Or u karen igyor ye i apirashe ga” literally meaning the one that shares the cake automatically carries the lion share. This is common among politicians and leaders world over.
Globally speaking, one would recall that the former Libyan leader Maumar Ghadafi was accused of favouring his family in his decades of rulership where two of his sons occupied strategic/juicy ministries.
Here in Nigeria, different leaders and politicians have been accused of been sentimental and favouring family members at one time or the other.
In the Northern Nigeria for instance, a prominent politician was asked to nominate three candidates for ministerial slots; the first name was his, the second his wife and the third his son.
In the North-Central Nigeria, a strong politician and a powerful force in the political hierarchy in the country has been accused of constantly marginalizing other groups in his home state to favour his kinsmen. Even among his kinsmen, he is accused of planting his family members in juicy positions against the interest of others.
The Tiv people where the adage happen to have originated have had their own share at different times by their leaders at various political dispensation.
But here comes a different politician, an icon of distinctive character, a detribalized Nigerian, an extra-ordinary personality, someone who considers the interest of others above his, someone who cares about the down trodden, the destitute, the sick, the abandoned, the rejected, the Hon Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment Chief Dr. Samuel Ortom. The writer intends not to write everything about this man but a little part of the man’s gesture as everyone if given the opportunity would say something.
I am proud to state here categorically clear without fear that this man picked me up from nothing, if I say nothing, I mean absolutely nothing, I didn’t know the difference between R and L, I didn’t know my left from right; but as I am writing this piece I am a graduate, not just a graduate but of Engineering, working with a famous organisation, traveled to Japan (the first none Western country to be industrialized) for a 2 month technical training programme.
One striking quality about this man however is his ability to be different from other politicians. He is exceptional, he is magnificent, he is extra-ordinary, above all, he is God fearing!
For the avoidance of doubt and to keep records straight, I Engr. Emmanuel Iorliam graduated the same year with Ngusen Grace Ortom, now married to Kaase Torkula, we served the same year, finished the same year, but this man in his charismatic approach gave me an appointment before his own biological daughter, his first child at that. How many politicians distinguished members of this forum would do that in this our political dispensation? I want to challenge everyone here including myself the writer to emulate this icon.
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