By Mathias Iyaha:// 

A British Academic Author, Douglas Everett once said “There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.” Everett may have apparently factored someone like Terver Akase, the immediate past Chief Press Secretary to Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state in that narrative.

Akase shattered the odds which made it look unlikely or bizzare for a media aide or publicist to aspire to succeed his boss. But he is on a voyage to turn his dream into reality.

When the accomplished journalist and quintessential image maker hinted on his desire to contest the Benue state governorship come 2023, some people felt it was another publicity stunt and a mere joke. 

Little did such people know that any man who is committed to a cause can even without listening, heed to Richard Templar’s admonition that “When you are passionate you can be bold because you have that drive, that enthusiasm, that courage, that excitement.”

When Governor Ortom introduced Akase among others aspiring for the Benue top job at a decamping ceremony in Gboko, the ancestral headquarters of the Tiv people, it was a double shocker for the skeptics. First, they were taken aback that he was mentioned among the acclaimed giants waiting to throw their hats into the ring. Secondly, the ovation that greeted the mention of his name was not anticipated by many, owing partly to the fact that he was the youngest of the governorship aspirants on the podium. That was a loud message.

Fast forward to September 29, 2021 when Terver Akase tendered his resignation letter to the Governor and had an interactive session with journalists at the Benue Peoples House, Makurdi. Many of the gentlemen of the press were visibly sober because the man who had made their job easy and access to the Governor seamless was leaving the stage. They however, didn’t hide their joy that he was aspiring to go higher, apparently blazing the trail for men of the pen profession to believe in their ability to be in the driving seat.

That same day, a reception was organized for Akase by a group, known as ‘Friends of Terver Akase’. It was meant to be a brief and modest event; but the turnout and ecstasy that characterized the gathering turned it into a carnival-like occasion, leaving Akase and even the organisers overwhelmed. The testimonies of people he helped even without meeting them and those he assisted to gain access to the Governor inundated the Joseph Sarwuan Tarka Foundation, venue of the reception-turned rally.

From commercial motorcyclists, women and youth groups, student bodies to people living with disabilities, chants of  “Akase 2023” rented the air.

For a man who made it a policy that people must have access to their Governor or have the state chief executive hear their worries and concerns directly, now aspiring to occupy the top seat in Benue State will mean ensuring that the people have unfettered access to the man who leads them.

Akase’s six years as the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor revolutionized that position and gave it the complexion and prestige it deserves. His temperament, composure, dexterity, humility and utmost display of emotional intelligence while speaking for his boss in the face of unprovoked media attacks made him a shining example of contemporary leadership.

His capacity, commitment to duty and innovative engagement with the people on behalf of the Governor also cleared any doubt about his ability to lead the state credibly. 

Akase’s reliability and respect for official matters apparently consolidated his place in the state executive council meeting, the highest decision-making body of the state where the most important state matters are discussed. That he was part of the exco meetings all through the period he held sway as the Governor’s spokesperson is enough for him to be abreast of what to do if given the opportunity to govern the state.

Akase’s transparency and accountability in dealing with the public and those he worked with threw him up as a man who would be a sure bet for the sustenance of the legacies of Governor Samuel Ortom. The intelligent, humble but dogged prolific writer has also been solidly behind Governor Ortom in the fight against insecurity, especially the invasion of Benue communities and genocidal attacks by militia herdsmen who have turned the state into a killing field displacing millions of rural dwellers and sending children out of school. Benue people will have nothing to worry about with him in the saddle as he does not have the tendency to abandon the war that Governor Ortom has wedged against the senseless killings in the state even when his political future and life were clearly on the line.

Yes, there is the tendency for some people to view Terver Akase’s resignation to pursue his governorship ambition as foolhardy; but he must have unconsciously listened to the counsel by the last Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great when she said “I beg you take courage; the brave soul can mend even disaster.” The renowned publicist has indeed taken courage, as without doubt, it takes courage and bravery to serve because in the words of American Actor, Kevin Hall, “A life of significance is about serving those who need your gifts, your leadership, your purpose.” This is the time that Benue people need the leadership and purpose of Akase to continue from where Governor Ortom will stop in 2023. 

Akase is not a money bag who wants to bulldoze his way to power using financial muscle. He equally doesn’t carry the gait of a man looking to come into power without the consent of the people he seeks to govern. But he has always said he depends on the people to let him serve them since in the words of the 16th President of the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln, “no man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent”. That is why he has persistently told his supporters not to attack other aspirants, but persuade the people to give him the mandate to govern them. In his words, “I have joined the governorship race to seek the opportunity to further contribute to the development of our dear state. So I will appeal to you who are supporting me to always be civil and polite to all others who are seeking the same office”.

Akase has an agenda that is not too ambitious, but targeted at holistic development of human and material resources of the state. That he has plans for all demographics in the state is a testament to the fact that he is the man to beat to the ticket of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP and the general election. Benue people are no doubt, lucky to have this young man who has that burning desire to contribute to the development and growth of the agrarian state.

Terver Akase who was born 44 years ago into the family of Pius Akase Ikpor of Agbeede, Gaav in Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State holds a 2nd Class Upper Degree in Mass Communication from Benue State University, Makurdi (2004) and an MSc in Mass Communication. Akase has also completed his dissertation for a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Strategic Studies. He attended the College of Advanced and Professional Studies, Makurdi before gaining admission into the University.

He is an alumnus of the prestigious International Visitor Leadership Programme, IVLP of the United States of America. Akase is a member of many professional bodies among which are the global network of journalists called Investigative Reporters and Editors, IRE, and Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, based in the United States.

Akase joined the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN in September, 2006, barely six months after his mandatory one year national service in Enugu state. He was Radio Nigeria’s correspondent in Rivers state between January, 2008 and 2013. Within the period of his stay in Port Harcourt, he upset the odds and became the Chairman of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ. Before his appointment as a media aide to the Benue state governor in 2015, Akase was a Principal Editor and the Transportation Correspondent for Radio Nigeria network.

The calm, cool, but ever-efficient *Man of the Press* as some of his colleagues fondly call him has a good blend of public service and governance having spent about ten years in Radio Nigeria and six years in the corridors of power, watching keenly and playing active roles.

That pedigree has made him well prepared and adequately positioned to succeed Governor Samuel Ortom, a great man whose fight for the survival of Benue people and other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria must be sustained.

* Iyaha, a public affairs analyst writes from Makurdi, Benue State. 08060521213

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *