A Brief Profile

Dr. Sam Ode, Deputy Governor, Benue State

Family Background and Early Childhood

Hon. Samuel Ode is a renowned administrator, charismatic politician, lawyer by training, and indigenous farmer. He was born at the NKST Christian Hospital in Mkar, near Gboko, in Benue State, on Thursday, November 7, 1968.

Hon. Sam Ode, as he is popularly called, hails from Edikwu kindred in Ewulo council ward of Otukpo local government area of Benue State. He is the tenth child in a family of 15. His father, the late Christopher Ikwue Ode, served in the Nigerian Army and retired voluntarily as a full colonel in 1982. Sam Ode’s paternal grandfather, Pa Ode Acha, was also a veteran soldier of World War II.

His mother, Helen Mzamber, of blessed memory, was a trained nurse by profession and the first child of the late Rt. Hon. Edward Kundu Swem, the foremost Benue-born politician and a three-term member of the Federal House of Representatives in the First and Second Republics. She hailed from Mbaanyam, Ukan, in the Ushongo local government area of Benue State.

Sam Ode’s maternal grandmother, the late Mama Catherine Nginan Tarka, was the first child of the then District Head of Mbakor, the late Chief Tarka Nachi. His grandma’s immediate younger brother, Senator Dr. Joseph Sarwuan Tarka, of blessed memory, was an iconic politician and champion of minority rights in Nigeria. The late Mama Catherine Nginan and his great-grandmother, Aya Elizabeth Adeember Tarka-Nachi of blessed memory, raised Sam Ode in his formative years.

It is worthy of note that Sam Ode’s distinctive worldview, which has now translated into a blooming personal and public life, is a demonstrable outcome of the profound and conscious molding by two personalities during the early years of his childhood.

First was his great-grandmother, Aya Adeember, a staunch purveyor of Christian values and stern disciplinarian who inculcated in Sam Ode the virtues of a Christian life in addition to an upright moral upbringing at a very tender and impressionable age. His great-grandmother, like the biblical Hannah, ensured that the young Samuel was fully indoctrinated in Christian tenets and ethics. Accordingly, Sam Ode received infant baptism at the NKST Church in Gboko by Rev. J.K. Manyam of blessed memory.

Secondly, his father, the late Col. Ode, complemented the initial efforts of Aya Adeember by exposing the young Sam to the wider scope of life through travel, business, and qualitative education. Suffice it to say that Sam Ode’s uncommon generosity, principled lifestyle, and compassionate disposition toward the plight of others are attributable to his early exposure to sound biblical teachings and congenial ethical orientation.

Dr. Sam Ode

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Sam Ode started his elementary school at the NKST Primary School, Gboko, in 1974 and graduated in 1980. The young Sam proceeded to Wesley High School, Otukpo, where he obtained the General Certificate of Education (GCE) in 1985. Upon graduation from high school, Ode gained admission into the Benue Polytechnic in Ugbokolo to study law. He graduated with a Diploma in Law in 1987.

His relentless quest for knowledge took him to the University of Jos, where he bagged a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts and Communications in 1993. Keen and highly inquisitive with the urge to know more and expand his academic horizons, Sam Ode’s thirst for research and general intellectual endeavors again took him to the University of Abuja, where he earned three degrees in quick succession: a master’s in public administration, a master’s in media arts, and an LL.B. in public and international law in 2007, 2009, and 2015, respectively. Thereafter, Sam Ode was admitted to the Nigerian Law School, Bwari, Abuja, in 2017 and called to the bar in 2019. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in international law and diplomacy at the University of Johannesburg.

Hon. Ode capped his education and high-level political involvement with his participation at the nation’s top leadership and management training institute, the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), in Kuru, Plateau State. He graduated from NIPSS in 2017 as a member of Senior Executive Course 39.


By divine Providence, Hon. Sam Ode has always been in the service of his fatherland, working both in the private and public sectors. Having been within and around the corridors of power in this country for about two decades, Ode acquired in-depth knowledge of the workings and dynamics of public service at all levels of governance.

He satisfactorily served and completed the mandatory one-year National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme at the Oyo State Ministry of Information, Ibadan, Oyo State, in 1995. Soon after his national youth service, Sam Ode joined C & R Associates Limited, a private family company in Lagos, as a project officer and later became the executive director in charge of projects in the same firm within a period of seven years.

Sam Ode made his first appearance on the political scene in 2002 when he was elected State Secretary of the defunct National Democratic Party (NDP), Benue State chapter, a position he held until 2005, when he was appointed Special Assistant to the Governor of Benue State by His Excellency, Senator Dr. George Akume, fnim.

Barely one year after his appointment as Special Assistant, Sam Ode was again appointed as Caretaker Chairman of Otukpo Local Government Council in 2006. As a result of his impressive performance as Council Chairman, in 2007 he was offered yet another appointment as Special Adviser to the then Governor of Benue State with Cabinet responsibility for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.

After just about three years of meritorious service as Special Adviser, Ode was again appointed, on the recommendation of the then Governor of Benue State, as Cabinet Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and assigned the portfolio of Honourable Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. His direct responsibility at the Ministry of Niger Delta was the supervision of the youth and women development programs. Hon. Sam Ode was one of the key actors who successfully midwifed the Federal Government Amnesty Program that restored peace in the restive Niger Delta region at the time.

While serving in the Federal Executive Council as Minister, Hon. Ode was nominated by President Goodluck Jonathan to lead the Federal Government delegation and represent the President at the US-Nigeria Bi-National Commission (BNC) in Washington D.C. U.S.A., in a high-level conversation that focused on the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Gulf of Guinea and theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria in 2010. Then President Goodluck Jonathan also assigned Hon. Ode as presidential liaison to the President of the Republic of Senegal, His Excellency Abdoulaye Wade, at the 39th Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government; presidential liaison to His Excellency the late President Idris Derby at the 50th Independence Anniversary of the Republic of Chad; and presidential liaison to the President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency George Michaels Richard.

Perhaps, due largely to his cosmopolitan and charismatic idiosyncrasies, tasking responsibilities are often entrusted to him, and as Providence would have it, Ode always accomplished them with unquestionable acclaim. For instance, while at NIPSS, Hon. Sam Ode was assigned as leader of his study tour group, which was composed of renowned university dons, military top brass, very senior police and paramilitary officers, and federal permanent secretaries, among others, to undertake a study tour of Thailand and the Republic of South Africa to examine the role of science, technology, and innovation (STI) in the development of agriculture and agro-allied industries in line with the presidential mandate.

Sam Ode set an impressive leadership record at NIPSS, which has yet to be broken, when he was elected chairman of his study group for two consecutive terms, a feat no other participant had attained since the establishment of the institute in 1979.

Sam Ode also garnered tremendous knowledge and skills in leadership and management of both public and private enterprises. He served as Chairman of the governing board of the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority (UNRBDA), and it is to his credit that he initiated the concession of the farm project at the Gurara/Jere Irrigation Scheme. He was also the Executive Secretary of the Peace Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Initiative (PRRI). Hon. Ode now serves as Chairman of The Nigerian News, Chairman of C & R Associates Limited, and chairman of Lily Grand Hotels & Recreation.

His leadership accolades are drawn from his trademark accomplishments in all the positions he served in this country. For instance, he is widely celebrated for his urban renewal program, which is still fresh in the memories of the people of Otukpo Local Government when he served as Council Chairman. At the state level, Sam Ode successfully executed the state’s local government and chieftaincy reforms, an initiative of the government of the day to reposition not only the state’s local government councils but also the traditional and chieftaincy systems for effective service delivery. This singular appointment placed him in a vantage position to better appreciate the existent challenges and concerns of Benue rural communities in all 23 local government areas of the state.

Hon. Ode took his commitment to service and transformative drive beyond Benue when he served the nation as the Honourable Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs. He was deeply involved in the peace-building efforts of the Federal Government, also known as the Amnesty Programme, which was designed for the region’s activists who sought social and economic justice for indigenes of the oil-rich Niger Delta region. Sam Ode’s dogged efforts in this regard paid off, leading to the restoration of relative peace and the resumption of oil production in the area.

He also diligently supervised the training of over 2,500 restive youth in the region in several skill acquisition programs organized both within and outside Nigeria for improved human capacity-building to empower a broad section of the Niger Delta component. To better achieve the objective of a violent-free Niger Delta region, Ode also facilitated the establishment of skills acquisition centers in the region to ensure the inclusive self-actualization of women and youth in the area.

Sam Ode’s accomplishments and successes in the public offices he held in this country can best be articulated by the confidential reports on his service by his principals. In a letter of commendation to Hon. Sam Ode at the end of his tenure as the Honourable Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the then President, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, had this to say: “I write to commend you for the uncommon sense of duty and commitment with which you discharged your service to the nation as Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs. “There is no doubt that Nigeria owes you an immense debt of gratitude… it is my hope that you will always stand ready to avail the Fatherland of your unique creative and productive attributes whenever your service may be required in the future.”

Personal Philosophy

Hon. Sam Ode’s ideology and philosophy of leadership and governance are drawn from his upbringing in a predominantly egalitarian environment in both his father’s and mother’s communities. His core philosophy of life is inevitably wrapped around the basic principles of social justice and the wellbeing of all, irrespective of tribe, gender, age, and class. He takes great pleasure in putting smiles on the faces of those he meets, particularly the downtrodden members of society; he makes personal sacrifices at all times to alleviate the plight of individuals, families, and communities. His unassuming nature, accessibility, and philanthropic lifestyle have greatly endeared him to the hearts of many people.

By way of ideological inclination, Sam Ode is no doubt a social democrat. His governance ethos places a premium on both human and infrastructural development. In all the positions he held, Ode was always the facilitator and promoter of people’s welfare, peace, unity, and the development of society in general. He is a broad-minded, liberal, and progressive politician-administrator. Whenever he finds himself in a position to serve, he is always on the side of the common people, advocating for and promoting policies and reforms that prioritize and elevate humanity in all its ramifications.

Professional Training & Membership in Associations

Hon. Sam Ode has acquired several professional qualifications and skills in leadership, administration, and management. His membership in reputable national and international associations speaks volumes of his resourcefulness and versatility in all spheres of human enterprise.

He is a member of the National Institute (MNI) for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru; a member of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA); a member of the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management (CAPAM); a member of the Nigerian-Trinidad Chamber; and a member of the IBB International Golf and Country Club, Abuja.

Sam Ode also attended professional and administrative trainings both in Nigeria and outside the country. These include the Local Government Service Reform Course, organized by Global Training Consulting in London, United Kingdom, in 2008; the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management Conference held in Toronto, Canada, in 2009; the Administration of the Board of Governors’ Retreat at the Premier Minister, Republic Francoise, Paris, France, in 2014, amongst many others.

 Community Service and Awards

Hon. Ode’s generosity and compassionate contributions to society have greatly impacted the lives of individuals, families, and communities within Benue State and beyond. This much, he has demonstrated in the provision of basic social amenities to the less privileged rural populace in the State.

Some of his community-based projects include the construction of a bridge at Ojakpama, Adoka, in the Otukpo local government area of Benue State. This project has no doubt increased economic activities within the locality and provided easy access to the community. No wonder, after the commissioning of the people-oriented project, he was conferred the honorific title of Okeno K’Ojakpama, which is translated as “Umbrella of the Ojakpama People” by leaders of the community.

Sam Ode also made several donations and contributions to his Alma Mater, Wesley High School, in Otukpo, to enhance academic and social activities within and around the school community. Notable among them are: a newly constructed and fully equipped modern library; a brand new Peugeot Partner Ambulance and two new Toyota Hiace buses; donations of sportswear and equipment; and donations of high-speed Internet connectivity to the entire school community, to mention just a few.

He sponsored the construction of the Joseph Garba Golf Pavilion and donated to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Kuru; he also donated a fully motorized water scheme and an electricity transformer to Edikwu Village in Otukpo. Ode donated another fully motorized water scheme, this time to the Uwouku community in Oju Local Government Area. Apparently, based on these unrivaled accomplishments, the Otukpo Area Traditional Council honored him with the chieftaincy title of Ebe N’Ogbogwu K’Otukpo, which literally means Pathfinder of the Otukpo people, or, in broad terms, guardian of the interests of the Otukpo.

Hon. Sam Ode’s continued selfless and charitable donations for improved society and human wellbeing have earned him over 200 laurels and awards of honor. Some of which are the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Award of Honour for Youth Development in 2009; the Award of Excellence by the Director-General, National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru, in 2017; the Award of Honour by the Idoma National Forum in 2010; the Award of Excellence by Global Training Consulting in London, United Kingdom, in 2008; the Young Achiever of the Year Award by Sardauna Magazine in 2010; and the Award of Excellence by the International Republican Institute in 2014.

Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administration conferred by the Institute in 2010 in recognition of his exceptional prowess in public administration; Award of Excellence by St. Anthony and St. Gabriel communities in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Maitama, Abuja, in 2010; Merit Award by Wesley High School Otukpo for contributions to the school’s growth and development in 2014.Award of Honor for the Development of the Law Faculty, University of Jos in 2010; Merit Award for the Donation of a Brand-New Toyota Hiace Bus to the Theatre Arts Department by the Association of Theatre Arts Students (ATAS), University of Jos in 2010. The list is endless.

Sam Ode previously offered and is still offering scholarships to students of Benue State origin studying in various institutions in Nigeria to assist them in their academic pursuits. He had also sponsored a large number of pilgrims who had visited the holy sites in Jerusalem and Mecca.

In addition to that, Sam Ode had secured gainful employment for more than three hundred Benue indigenes in various positions at the local government level and in Benue State Government and Federal Government agencies including the Nigeria Customs and Immigration Services, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Voice of Nigeria (VON), the Upper Niger River Basin Development Authority (UNRBDA), and many others too numerous to list here.

In all of these instances, Sam Ode chose to remain silent because of his personal philosophy and Christian upbringing. He would never mention those he had assisted in one way or another. This is in keeping with the biblical injunction, which says: “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.” “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:3–4 NIV).

Undoubtedly, it was in recognition of his selfless service to humanity and outstanding contributions to nation-building that, in 2018, Sam Ode emerged as the Deputy Governorship Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Benue State in a highly competitive selection process. In 2022, he was again nominated by the APC Governorship Candidate in Benue State, His Excellency, Rev. Fr. Dr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, as his running mate and Deputy Governorship Candidate of the APC in the 2023 general election.

Immediate Family

Hon. Sam Ode is happily married to Mrs. Christie Ada Sam-Ode, the daughter of Sule Ogwu of the Ai’Ode Clan in Upu, Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State. He is blessed with eight children, namely: Halima Sam-Ode, a Westminster-trained lawyer; Samuel Adakole Sam-Ode, a law graduate at Westminster University, London, United Kingdom; and David Oche Sam-Ode, a law student at Baze University in Abuja. Others are Gabriel Agaba Sam-Ode, Joseph Alechenu Sam-Ode, Christopher Ewache Sam-Ode, Ian Owoicho Sam-Ode, and Philip Babatunde Sam-Ode.


Sam Ode’s spare-time activities include golfing, traveling, community service, evangelism, youth mentoring, and reading.

Countries Visited

His Excellency, Hon. Bar. Sam Ode, mni, had been to several countries of the world, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Italy, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, France, Holland, Vienna, Slovakia, Lebanon, Israel, Togo, the Benin Republic, Thailand, the Republic of South Africa, Germany, Canada, Turkey, Hungary, the Philippines, Ghana, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Barbados, and St. Lucia.


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