Avoid people who play politics with security – Tyokyaa

Dr Cletus Tyokyaa is a childhood friend and strong political associate of Governor Samuel Ortom. In this Interview with VICTOR BAJAH, the former Special Adviser on politics to former Governor Gabriel Suswam speaks on the security challenges in the state and occasion of the governor’s 60th birthday anniversary, his achievements in politics.

There is insecurity in the state in spite of notable efforts by the governor to curtail the ugly situation. What do think the governor should do differently?

What the governor needs to do is to be more matured than he is. He should be resolute and focused on the good work he is already doing. These things many times comes as distractions, and when you are not careful you will be derailed. So, he needs to really remain focused and resolute. The issue in Konshisha for instance, is indeed something that we can say is condemnable. What the military did is not correct, no matter the provocation. The killing of the soldiers is totally wrong in every way. However, the governor has tried to work with the military to bring an end to the destruction they are causing in that area and that is commendable. The military is inflicting pain on those who are completely innocent and unaware of what took place. I believe, the security apparatus in this country is able to bring to justice those who carried out this terrible act, destroying property and killing innocent villagers won’t help the matter as well. I  would only add to the challenges already been faced. I know the Nigeria military can work with the State government and other security apparatus to bring to book those who are found guilty of the crime. Therefore, I advise the governor to remain focus, he should avoid people who would like to play politics with the issue. It is not an issue that should be toyed with but given the seriousness needed to address it, and I know that Ortom has what it takes to deal with this issue like he has in managing the security challenges in other parts of the state. I think what we need is to sit with stakeholders in both Konshisha and Sankera axis continually like the governor is doing to dialogue until we find a ground for peaceful coexistence.

As a friend of the governor, what are your views  about his life and works as a leader, now that he is 60 years?

I think the governor’s story is a story of hard work. A story of great determination. The man started life as a chap to date he has been in the private sector. He has schooled under very tough and difficult circumstances. He began as a salesman in a private company, and he is a man who has been very successful in whatever he does with his hands. He joined politics in the late 80’s and became the chairman of Guma LG in the early 90’s in his 20’s. He became the party leader of Guma LG and today he has moved on to become the leader of the state, and climaxed as the governor. Ortom is a wonderful personality, and is loved by everybody. The reason is because in his struggling days he helped a lot of people, even when he became the chairman, he was man of the people. When he became the state secretary of our party, he demonstrated he was a philanthropist of great magnitude. He gives generously without discrimination and goes out of his way to help others in need.

Ortom above all is a man of God, somebody who is very religious in its complete sense of that word. I knew him in his early years and I can say he is a man who hardly makes enemies, he relates with people beyond his party lines. He is a very straightforward person, he tells you out rightly if he is angry with you but the good thing with him is that he doesn’t keep malice.

What is happening in Benue State today is that people took Ortom for granted. Yet, he stayed focused and he is doing his best. Go around the nooks and crannies of this state today, you see that he is a silent achiever. A man who has not allow himself to be distracted from what he wants to do. He is rehabilitating primary schools all over the place. He has built new structures as well as renovate old ones. I was shocked when I went to Otukpo, the level of transformation the roads have undergone, and this is replicated in Makurdi, Gboko and other parts of the state. For example, I was shocked to see that the road opposite BSU first gate was constructed until when Gov. Wike came to commission it, I found myself part of the commissioning team. I didn’t know when that road was constructed and you have many of such examples all over the place. What the man has done with roads in Gboko is overwhelming. See what he has done on the Tor Tiv palace, and he is replicating same for the Ochi Idoma. One of the best palace you can find anywhere in Africa.

Ortom has excelled in the business sector, himself is a transformed entrepreneur and he is replacing that in the state. His impact in different sectors of the state is transforming our economy. I admire his persistence to help the poor population of the state in treating snake bites. He started this before he became a governor, he has been treating people of snake bites at St Theresa hospital for many years now. The industrial sector of the state is being revived by the governor. Go to that industrial layout and your will see that life has come back to the area. That thing was abandoned for years. The agricultural sector is booming currently because he has decided to develop the economy of the state. I think he has done commendably both as an individual and governor. Whatever I say here, won’t be enough to cover the work Ortom has achieved in this state. Indeed, he is God sent to this state.

It is my prayer that he lives more than 60 years. God should keep him for many more years beyond a 100 years so he will continue to do good to the people. We pray that 70 years that is set in the Bible would just be his beginning to more years ahead. People who hate Ortom do because as their contemporary, he has achieved and out shined them in too many ways. But I call on people like that to support the governor because it is clear that God is the one at work in him. Therefore, I, Dr Cletus Tyokyaa, who has played politics with Ortom and disagree with him many times on issues, have not realized that God has nominated this man for leadership and I will follow him without reservation.

There are prospects considering the governor’s performance. Would you propose him for a national assignment?

My brother, without been told, you should know that Ortom is more than qualified to become president of Nigeria. If I had my way, Ortom is a unifier, somebody who is out to reunite this country. He started out with stoppage of the destruction of farmlands by ensuring that the law, the anti-grazing law be enacted, people criticized him from all corners because of their political interests but today, the entire country is tilting towards that line. He has called on and prayed often that Nigeria would become one. He is not concerned about tribal or ethnic sentiments. When I spoke with him recently, he told me that his prayer is that Nigeria would become one strong indivisible entity. He knows what to to do to revamp this country. If I had my way I will make him president but I trust God to do the best for this state and country through him. He has proven himself at the national level before as a minister. It is obvious that God has a lot of work for him to do for the good of this nation.

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