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Rev. Fr. (Dr) Hyacinth Iormem Alia: Celebrating a visionary leader at 58

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Benue State Governor Rev. Fr. Alia

By Solomon Iorpev

On the 15th of May, 1966, God unraveled a bundle of blessing in a baby boy to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Katsina Alia of Mbangur, Mbadede, Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State.

He was called IORMEM, meaning the people have rested. Little did anyone know he would one day live out the true meaning of his name especially to the Benue people, hitherto impoverished by bad governance.

The young Alia began his early educational pursuit at St. Francis Primary School Agidi, Mbatiav his birth place in Gboko Local Government Area, Benue State. He obtained his First School Leaving Certificate in 1977. He proceeded to the then St. James Minor Seminary, Makurdi, where he obtained his General Certificate of Education (GCE) in 1983. Determined to answer the Lord’s call to Priesthood, young Alia gained admission into St. Augustine’s Major Seminary, Jos in Plateau State, where he obtained a Diploma in Religious Studies, and later a Bachelor of Arts in Sacred Theology in 1990.

Iormem Alia proceeded to the United States of America after 7 years of pastoral work in Makurdi Diocese and bagged Academic Degrees in Religious Education (Psychology and Counseling) at Fordham University, Bronx, New York, in 1999 and Biomedical Ethics at Duquesne University Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he also earned his Doctoral Degree in Biomedical Ethics in 2005.

Fr. Alia was ordained a Catholic Priest on the 7th day of July, 1990 by the Late Bishop Athanasius Atule Usuh of Makurdi Catholic Diocese, Benue State. Having worked in many places abroad, Fr. Alia accumulated work experiences that properly positioned him to serve diligently in the Lord’s vineyard and to demonstrate his professional experience in health care, the classroom and administration. An experience that has come to bear on his leadership of Benue state.

His unique calling as a diocesan priest, dedicated to serving humanity through healings, opened doors to healing masses that impacted positively on the lives of all people irrespective of religious affiliations as there have been numerous testimonies of potency.

Dr Hyacinth Iormem Alia would later answer another calling, this time with a political dimension to rescue God’s people from the shakles of poverty and resurrect Benue from the dead. In his usual style, His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Alia answered the call and became the 6th democratically elected Governor of Benue State, at a very difficult time in the history of the State, with a huge debt burden, unpaid salaries, pension and gratuities and a deplorable civil service.

The dogged Alia, in spite of the huge challenges, rolled up his sleeves and in less than a year, has achieved immensely in infrastructure, Agriculture, Education and health. He has signed MoUs that will put an end to epileptic power supply, and is attracting unprecedented investments to the state.

Prompt payment of salaries and gratuities at 100% upon retirement within 4 weeks has become a norm, and pensioners are now found among the living. The governor has Established an Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation Bureau to boost entrepreneurship and alleviate poverty in the state. He is the first in Nigeria to implement the Revised Medical Residency Training Fund 2023 for resident doctors. He has ensured the structural and technical transformation of the Benue State University Teaching Hospital for optimal healthcare delivery in the state and improved the state flagship transport system at a subsided rate and is working hard to secure the lives and property of Benue indigenes.

Indeed Iormem has brought rest to state borrowings. Iormem has brought rest to the down trodden. Iormem has brought rest to the civil servant and pensioner and indeed, Iormem has brought rest to the elites who no longer have to worry about what their relatives will eat or drink.

Throughout his pastoral work and now as Governor, Fr Alia is massively associated with the downtrodden, the sick, the weary, the rejected and abandoned in the society. No wonder He is mostly referred to as “the People’s Governor, justifying Martin Luther King’s saying that “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

Indeed, unto us a son is given and his name is called IORMEM who has so far spent 58 years of purposeful life and many more years are expected to come for the Reverend Gentleman as he continues to selflessly serve humanity and bring peace to Benue in particular and Nigeria at large.

Iorpev is the Technical Adviser to the Benue state Governor on Media, Publicity and Strategic Communication.

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