FORMER Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs and frontline governorship candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon. Sam Ode, has vowed that if elected as governor of Benue State in 2023, he would bring lasting solution to the lingering crisis that had engulfed the Sankera zone of Tivland in Benue State.
Hon Ode made the pledge while addressing APC stakeholders in Katsina-Ala, Ukum and Logo local government areas of Benue State on Thursday, June 17, 2021 where he had interactive sessions with APC critical stakeholders in meetings that took place at Katsina-Ala, Zaki-Biam and Ugba towns.
“As Honourable Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, I was one of the key people that facilitated the peace initiative that brought about solution to the crises in the Niger Delta, leading to the restoration of relative peace and harmony in the region. When given the opportunity to become the Governor of Benue State with the blessing of the people of Sankera, I will use similar experience to quell the lingering crisis in the area within a record period of six months,” Hon. Ode had told the stakeholders in each of the meetings.
He stressed that from his experience, he will use the instrumentality of peace, human capacity building and provision of gainful employment to the restive youth in the area.
Hon Ode, believed to have a strong and broad followership and support base from across the state to emerge as the first Idoma governor since the creation of Benue State in 1976, said he was in Sankera to also sympathise with the people of Katsina-Ala, Ukum and Logo on the continuing killings of innocent souls and destruction of property which had already plagued and overwhelmed the people.
While describing Sankera as “the food basket of Nigeria,” Ode noted that anything that affected peaceful coexistence in the area would impact negatively on the economy of the state and food security of the entire nation.
Ode, believed to be the first APC governorship aspirant to visit the people of Sankera, added that in spite of the security challenges, he had come to meet with the stakeholders in Sankera to sympathise and use the opportunity to brief them of his intention to run for the governorship of Benue State in 2023.
While soliciting for their support for the actualisation of his ambition, Ode also said he holds Sankera in high esteem, having been very close to the area, and as shown in the appointment of Sankera children as key members of his campaign organisation.
In his remark, the APC leader of Katsina-Ala local government, Hon. Solomon Wombo, said he is aware of Ode’s antecedents as he took over from him as Special Adviser to the Governor of Benue State on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs when he (Ode) was given ministerial appointment.
Hon. Wombo, represented by Hon. Azege Denen, also said Ode was a man of integrity and pedigree who had touched many lives in very positive ways and was optimistic that when elected as Governor of Benue State in 2023, he would do much more for the state because he has the qualification, experience and capacity to steer Benue to greater heights.
In their separate remarks, Hon. Jonathan Agbidye, Member, representing Katsina-Ala East in the Benue State House Assembly; Hon. Moses Tsea; Elder Nyitar; Hon. Ahar Shom and Gabriel Pool, all eulogise Ode in terms that portray him as a skilful administrator and experienced politician.
They concurred that Odeh, who was APC’s deputy governorship candidate in 2019, left no one in doubt during his remarks that he understood the problem of Sankera and has what it takes to fix it. He said since Ode had done a similar thing before in the Niger Delta region, he was the most qualified aspirant for the job against the backdrop of violence across the state.
The stakeholders who spoke for Katsina-Ala also expressed gratitude to Hon Ode for insisting to come and consult with them in Katsina-Ala, a place, they said had become a no-go area for most people, including governorship aspirants.
Also speaking in Zaki-Biam for the people of Ukum local government area, the APC leader of Sankera, Col. Edwin Jando (rtd), Hon. Dr B. T. Ashaver, and Hon. John Ashe, all spoke in support of the governorship aspiration of Hon. Ode whom they said was the first governorship aspirant to come for consultation in Ukum to seek for their blessing.
While speaking in Ugba on behalf of stakeholders in Logo local government, Orvesen Gege Gyor said Hon. Ode had paid his dues in politics by serving two Benue State governors and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Orvesen Gyor further stated: “We had earlier planned to make him deputy governor so that at the expiration of the tenure of the administration, he will take over as governor. But since that didn’t work out, this is his time; and Logo will fully support him to achieve his aspiration.”
Gege Gyor concluded that since Hon. Sam Ode had come to Logo to seek for blessing, the people of Logo have agreed to not only support, but also work with him to become the next governor of Benue State.
On Hon Ode’s entourage on the visit to Sankera include the Director-General of the Campaign Team, Hon. Manasseh Akperashi, Bishop Pinot Ogbaji, campaign directors, coordinators and his teeming supporters.