As the 2023 governorship race in Benue State gathers momentum, Uja Emmanuel of The Nation reports that some of Governor Ortom’s trusted aides appear set to contest.
In Benue State, each civilian administration always comes with new political actors who hold the axe in decision making.
From the first civilian administration of Aper Aku to Governor Samuel Ortom, some political actors wield enormous power to the extent that without them it seems nothing works.
They have the ears of the governor, and whatever they tell the governor, is done.
Today, Governor Ortom has few aides that he trusts and relies so much on for advice before taking decisions.
It is said that if you see some of these aides then, you have seen Governor Ortom and you can go to sleep as you will get what you want or what you are looking for, and these aides constitute what you may call his kitchen cabinet and also wield enormous power in his administration because they have the ears of the governor.
They include Hon. Terwase Orbunde, the Chief of Staff to the governor. He is the closest person to Governor Samuel Ortom, but what many people did not know is that he has come a long way with the Governor, as their relationship spans over 30 years.
Ortom once told a story of how God revealed to him that he will be Governor and Hon. Terwase will be his campaign Director – General (DG).
That revelation was fulfilled as Ortom appointed Orbunde his campaign DG and after his election appointed him Chief of Staff for the first and second terms.
After his reelection, some forces wanted the Governor to remove Orbunde as Chief of Staff but on the day they came to the Government House to pressure the Governor to drop him was the same day the Governor announced Hon. Terwase Orbunde as the Chief of Staff for the second term.
As close confidant, Terwase Orbunde had the ears of the Governor and together they have been ruling the State.
Incidentally, Orbunde has also declared his intention to succeed his boss in 2023.
Many said if you see Orbunde, you have seen the Governor.
Another close confidant is Terver Akase, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ortom. He has gradually warmed his way to the heart of the Governor.
The youthful staff of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) before he was seconded to work with Governor Samuel Ortom is learning fast at the corridors of power.
Even though his posters for Governor 2023 are all over social media ,Terver Akase has kept sealed lips, and has not opened up to any one that he is going to contest in 2023.
Terver Akase is one of the few aides that had the ears of Ortom.
Governor Ortom, from the way he relates with Terver Akase shows clearly that he trusts his Chief Press Secretary (CPS) and relies on him for advice on critical issues.
Akase has also demonstrated that he can be trusted with power as he has provided massive media cover for his principal (Ortom) by relating well with journalists.
The relationship between Ortom and Akase seems to have gone beyond the media affairs only.
Many said if you see Terver Akase, you have seen Governor Ortom and everything is settled.
What Terver Akase had going for him is his humanitarian intervention to help those who are in need of succour even before the Governor got to know. This has endeared him to many.
This may be the reason some power bloc are calling on him to throw his hat in the 2023 governorship race. Even though he is quiet about it, from the way he smiles when the issue is broached, it seems the graduate of Benue State University is savouring in the atmosphere of a governorship candidature.
No doubt, Benue CPS wields enormous power in Ortom’s administration.
Another likely aide is Hon. Abraham Kwaghngu, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Special Duties. He also has the ears of the Governor.
Abraham is also one of the closest aides of Governor Samuel Ortom who is trusted on critical decision of the administration. The Governor can hardly move an inch without Kwaghngu.
Abraham hardly talks much. He is soft spoken but when he gives you assurance on any issue, it is considered done.
Kwaghngu on his part is not taking the trust the Governor had on him for granted as many preferred to reach him for solution than go to the Governor.
He understands the enormous responsibly placed on him as the Special Assistant to the Governor and as such has not disappointed as he creates out time every morning to reach those who could not directly reach the Governor.
It is on record that he has gone out of his way to pay medical bills of many orphans and the vulnerable who could not reach the Governor.
There is no doubt Kwaghngu is an emerging power broker in the present administration.
Others who have the ears of the Governor and wield enormous power in the administration are Barr. Michael Gusa (the Attorney-General), Professor Dennis Ityavyar (the Education Commissioner) and few others who operate from the background.
Together they are helping Governor Ortom to take important decisions on governance and are viewed as likely successors of the Governor in 2023.
Source: The Nation