The ranks of those supporting the 2015 governorship aspiration of Chief Dr. Samuel Ortom in Gwer local government area swelled on account of his sponsorship of the treatment of snakebite victims and offer of employment to youths in his business outfits.
Principal of Special School for Exceptional Children, Aliade, Mr. Innocent Mayange, and a youth activist, Terkende Akuave, made the disclosure in Igbor and Ikpayongo recently during separate interactions with Chief Dr. Ortom.
The aspirant also acknowledged that he had enjoyed previous blessings from prominent people in the area such as the late Tyokura Igbor even as he mobilized support for another indigene, Mr. Yonov Aga, to become Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization.
The Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment had stopped over in the two places while returning from the funeral of Pa James Tarhule Kuluku, father of Dr. Vearumun Tarhule of the Faculty of Law, Benue State University.
One of Chief Dr. Ortom’s younger sisters, Mrs. Helen Jiir and her husband Chief Iorlaha Jiir were also present in Ikpayongo.
Mr. Mayange stated that his younger brother, Terfa Mayange, was a beneficiary of the Oracle Foundation Snakebite Treatment Scheme initiated by Chief Dr. Samuel Ortom.
He said a snake had bitten the 25 year old man in the farm last month and that when he was rushed to the Bishop Murray Medical Centre, Makurdi the hospital demanded a deposit of N200, 000 the lack of which prompted him to contact Barrister Micheal Gusa who placed a call to the Minister who immediately directed that the victim be treated on his bill.
According to him the young man recovered after the foundation expended over N230, 000 on his treatment stressing that since the incidence he mobilized his family, friends and associates to support Chief Dr. Ortom to realize his dream to become Benue State Governor.
At Ikpayongo, a youth activist, Mr. Akuave stated that the mention of the Minister’s name raises hopes in youths across the state with the expectation that he would tackle the massive unemployment among them as demonstrated by his employment of hundreds in his business outfits.
He said if Benue had two other people like Chief Dr. Ortom unemployment would have been greatly reduced in the state.
Other speakers including Hyacinth Orbunde and Marcellinus Ankwagh, former councilors, Charity Agber, and Philip Pevikyaa who spoke for women and the Minister’s in-laws said the aspirant was the best governorship material in the current dispensation on account of his acquaintance with the problems of the ordinary people having risen from humble beginnings.
They said as an experienced politician who had served at all levels he was also conversant with the demands of both the people and the office he aspires to occupy adding that he possessed the capacity to rise to the occasion.
In his response Chief Dr. Ortom expressed appreciation for the expression of support which he said was encouraging and pledged to work for the entire people of the state irrespective of their political or religious affiliations.
He said he was seeking the mandate to replicate his personal achievements through the grace of God at the state level.
The Minister stated that he utilized his current position to mobilize support for a Gwer indigene, Mr. Yonov Aga, to become the Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization as part of his reciprocal cordial relationship with the people of the area over time.
He said he had a long standing relationship with the Gwer people including the late Tyokura Igbor who was one of the elders who gave him the blessings that culminated in his becoming the National Auditor of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Chief Dr. Ortom stated that many of his staff and close associates also come from the area assuring that he would carry Gwer people along if elected Governor.