Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, has praised The Sun for its professionalism and objectivity, saying these virtues prompted him to accept The Sun Courage in Leadership Award.
Ortom and 28 other award winners will be showcased at The Sun Awards Lockdown Edition celebration coming up before the end of the year.
Speaking in Abuja yesterday, when the Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, The Sun Publishing Limited, Mr. Onuoha Ukeh, led a team to present to him notification letter and Courage in Leadership Award for 2019, Ortom said he had turned down many awards but decided to accept The Sun’s because the newspaper has distinguished itself as a reputable platform for objective journalism.
According to Ortom, “The Sun is always objective in its reportage, in analysing issues and in expressing its views on governance and leadership.”
He praised The Sun for its courage in the practice of journalism and in standing with the people, saying: “Let me use this opportunity again to appreciate The Sun Newspaper for standing with me, for standing with Benue people during our trying times. You did so well.”
Governor Ortom said The Sun reported things that happened in Benue during the state’s security challenges for other Nigerians to know the people’s plight.
“That went a long way in drawing the attention of government to our plight. Today, I can say that we appreciate the Federal Government. We appreciate the security agencies for supporting us, for not allowing our land to be invaded by terrorist herdsmen. We are happy that we are enjoying relative peace today. The Sun played a role in making us enjoy this relative peace,” Ortom said.
Ortom appreciated members of the National Assembly from Benue State and other dignitaries present at the ceremony, saying: “Today is Tuesday and they are supposed to be having engagements in various committees, as they are working towards the 2021 budget, but, as a mark of honour to me and to their state, they are here to be part of this award.”
The governor also appreciated two music stars from Benue, Innocent Idibia, aka 2Baba, and Zakky Azzay, who were present at the event, saying they were true representatives of the state and had made Benue, Nigeria and Africa proud.
Earlier, The Sun’s managing director said Ortom was chosen for the award based on merit because of his achievements in office, particularly in the area of political development, leadership, human capital and infrastructure development, among others, despite daunting security challenges.
He said: “We note that soon after Governor Ortom’s election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, suspected herdsmen invaded Benue State and massacred farmers at will. In your determination to protect your people, you assented to the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law 2017 and insisted that ranching remains the global best practice for rearing livestock and ensuring peace between herders and farmers.
“Even when re-election battle came, His Excellency refused to trade in the people of Benue for political ambition. You got a red card in the APC, and had to return to your former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
“Having stood for the people, the Benue people did not disappoint, as they stood with and by you during the election and ensured your re-election. The victory was a just reward for your courage and leadership.”
Ukeh said it was for these reasons and many others that “the board of editors of The Sun Publishing Limited has chosen His Excellency for the Courage in Leadership award for 2019.”
He said the Courage in Leadership award is given to “that man or woman who has exhibited uncommon courage even in the face of threats to his life, thereby giving hope for a greater Nigeria.”