Dr. Samuel Ioraernyi Ortom, Governor of Benue State is an industrialist, farmer, businessman, politician, philanthropist, administrator and employer. He was born on April 23, 1961. Ortom is from Guma Local Government Area of Benue State.
He was enrolled into the St. John’s Primary School, Gboko, in 1970 but moved to St. Catherine’s Primary School, Markurdi, in 1974, where he completed primary education in 1976. The young Ortom proceeded to Idah Secondary Commercial College, Idah, Kogi State in 1976.
His secondary education was however brought to an abrupt stop in 1979 following his father’s retirement and his subsequent inability to pay his school fees.
Ortom thereafter left school and got into Gboko Motor Park in order to support his family.
He was thereafter helped by one good Nigerian who taught him how to drive and obtained a driver’s licence for him. Ortom later became driver to Pa Samu Ihugh, a prominent Gboko based Christian leader and Politician.
It was in the course of working that he found an advert for a correspondence course in the National School of Salesmanship, Manchester by correspondence.
Through this means, he had his General Certificate of Education (GCE) and a Diploma in salesmanship.
Highly motivated to further his Education, Dr. Ortom enrolled at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and obtained both the Interim Joint Matriculation Board Certificate in 1995 and a diploma in journalism in 1998.
He also went to the Benue State University, where he obtained the Advanced Diploma in Personnel Management in 2001 as well as a Master of Public Administration in 2004.
Samuel Ortom crowned his educational pursuit with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), at the Commonwealth University, Belize, through distance learning.
He worked with Gyado Foods Co. Limited and rose from salesman to sales manager.
Ortom thereafter became the Executive Chairman of Guma Local Government Area from 1991 to 1993 under the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
He became State Publicity Secretary of the National Centre Party of Nigeria (NCPN); State Treasurer of the All People’s Party (APP); and State Secretary as well as Deputy Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), all in Benue State.
Dr. Ortom was also Director of Operations of the PDP gubernatorial campaign in Benue State in 2007 and Director of Administration and Logistics of the Goodluck/Sambo Presidential Campaign Organization in 2011.
He was PDP National Auditor before his appointment as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in July 2011. In April 2015, he contested for Governor of Benue State and won on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Before becoming Minister, Dr. Ortom was the proprietor and Chairman of Oracle Business Limited, the firm that owns Goshen Water which produces bottled and sachet water; Oracle Oil Mills, Oracle Printing Press, as well as Oracle Farms Limited which handles mechanised farming and animal husbandry.
Dr. Ortom was National President of the Independent Print-Media Publishers Association of Nigeria (IPPAN).
He was appointed Chairman of the Governing Council of the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON).
Samuel Ortom is a recipient of several awards.
This includes: 1. Best Performing Local Government chairman, 1992 in Benue State; Selfless Service Award by the National Union of Benue State Students, University of Calabar; Special recognition by the Nigeria Union of Road Transport Workers at the national level; Best Performing Governor in Agriculture Development in 2017 by Business Day Media Limited.
The Nation newspaper also gave him an award for Services to Agriculture in 2018. For his efforts to end armed herdsmen attacks on innocent Benue people, Independent Newspaper also bestowed another award on Governor Ortom in February 2018.
DAAR Communications, owners of Africa Independent Television, AIT and Raypower FM awarded Governor Ortom on January 20, 2019 as ‘the most Outstanding Governor of the Year for his solidarity with Benue people against all odds.’
On December 10, 2019, African Newspapers of Nigeria Plc, publishers of the oldest surviving private newspsper in the country, Nigerian Tribune conferred on Governor Ortom the award of ‘Most Courageous Statesman and Defender of Humanity’ at a ceremony in Lagos.
The honour was followed by another one presented to him in Abuja by another widely read national daily, Nigerian Pilot on December 12, 2019, for his steadfast stand on the safety and rights of his people.
The icing on the cake was the award presented to Governor Ortom by International Human Rights Commission, IHRC, Geneva, Switzerland, the Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom award on the governor for his remarkable contribution towards peace and unity in 2019.
Haven performed creditably as confirmed by the people of Benue State and other Nigerians, on May 22, 2017, Governor Ortom made history by signing the Benue State Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017.
During the 2019 general election Benue people decided that it was time to reward a man who had shown that he is their leader; a man who chose their interest at the risk of his safety and political career, as the people overwhelmingly voted for him for a second term.