…As UN Re-echoes Gov’s Call For Kanu’s Release
By Fred Ochono
Every Nigerian citizen home and in the diaspora who has followed Governor Samuel Ortom’s leadership trajectory must have observed that the things he has been saying and doing as a leader guided by a sense of patriotism, are fast becoming a template in our nation’s socio-political discourse.
Infact, the Benue State Governor’s viewpoints and proactive disposition on recent happenings in the country have manifested faster than anticipated except that the country’s leaders at the centre of government have deliberately chosen to pay deaf ears to the discerning solutions to some of our problems which have assumed the magnitude of a national catastrophe.
It would be recalled that Governor Ortom while expressing worry over the deteriorating security situation in the country when he featured on a Channels Television programme, sounded a warning that the alarming security situation if not checked, could lead to “bandits” taking over the country’s seat of power one day.
The programme’s anchor, Seun Okimbaloye was quick to interject Governor Ortom for what he termed “extreme views” for speaking fearlessly and courageously concerning the impending danger of rising insecurity that has engulfed the entire nation.
Barely a few days after Governor Ortom’s patroitic caution on the said television programme which as usual went unheeded, bandits attacked a national monument, the Kuje Correctional facility right in the heart of Abuja the Federal Capital Territory where they freed over 600 inmates including Boko Haram terrorists who were in the facility. Many commentators who had heard Governor Ortom’s timely warning, described him as a “political prophet.”
Just as the news of the attack on the custodial centre was settling, bandits again launched an attack on President Muhammadu Buhari’s advance team convoy on the way to the President’s hometown in Daura Katsina State for the sallah holiday. What a daring move that points to nothing but the unimaginable proportion of the insecurity bedeviling the nation!
All these incidents vindicated Governor Ortom when he expressed genuine concern that if allowed to fester, bandits could muster the courage to one day takeover Nigeria’s seat of power at the centre of government. Of course, the warning signs are telling, but as usual, Ortom is rather singled out for blackmail and victimization.
Despite the unending blackmail and victimization, Governor Ortom who has positioned himself as the voice of the voiceless has remained unwavering in speaking against the imbalances, injustice and harrowing experiences Nigerians have been subjected to under President Buhari-led federal government.
Most recently, in yet another episode of his consistency in lending his voice of reason to issues affecting our collective well-being, Governor Ortom speaking in Washington DC, United States of America on July 13, 2022 called on the Federal Government to release Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB who has been held in detention for sometime now.
Governor Ortom pointed out that Nnamdi Kanu’s continuous detention was a socio-political case that required socio-political solutions as well, while some Nigerians hailed Ortom’s call as timely, others as usual called him names for taking the position.
In what is yet another major moment of the Benue State Governor being vindicated again, just a few days after the intervention he made on the matter, the United Nations has now given the Federal Government of Nigeria an ultimatum to immediately release Nnamdi Kanu unconditionally.
The global body, UN affirmed that the prolonged detention of the proscribed IPOB leader amounts to gross violation of his fundamental human rights which is uncalled for in the 21st century especially that Nigeria is a signatory to international conventions and treaties that forbid human rights abuses.
Here again lies the justification as to why Governor Samuel Ortom does not just speak or act on critical issues of national relevance, as he weighs in the right perspective and of course at the compelling moment of urgency.
Were the Federal government to listen to Ortom’s voice of reason without primordial sentiments, most of our challenges would have been long frontally tackled to pave the way for our collective development and national cohesion especially at the time our nationhood is tested and tried under precarious conditions.
The world over, national challenges are conquered by proactive measures beyond partisan affiliations as our citizenship transcends political correctness. The federal government of Nigeria under President Buhari will be continuously doing grave injustice to Nigerians if they prefer to view Governor Ortom as an alarmist or prophet of doom when in actual sense, the Governor is advancing meaningful ideas that could take the nation out of the quagmire we have found ourselves in as citizens.
For once, we must learn to put aside partisan alliances and undertones to collectively tackle and redeem this nation from the travails it is passing through, except we are willing to one day wake up and not have a country to call fatherland. This clarion is just what Governor Ortom represents and has consistently stood for as time and unfolding events have clearly vindicated him for always being on the right side of history.
* Ochono writes from Apo, Abuja.