Tue, 30 Jan 2024 People & Places

Celebrating The Quintessence Of Peace: Chief Torkuma Vitalis Tor-Adekpe 'zege Vande U Shitile' At 66

Celebrating The Quintessence Of Peace: Chief Torkuma Vitalis Tor-Adekpe 'zege Vande U Shitile' At 66

Caught in the traffic of congratulatory messages pouring in for the 'Zege Vande U Shitile' High Chief Torkuma Vitalis Tor-Adekpe as he celebrates his 66 birthday, I consider it timely, prompt and worth my while to put pen to paper reechoing what he represents in our society and the lesson thereof.

For the records. On the 7th day of January 1958, Torkuma was born to the family of Tor-Adekpe Kassar Bunde and Wakyere Tor-Adekpe of Mberev-Kpav Shitile, Chanchangi ward, in Takum LGA of Taraba state, a prospective quintessential son. His mother Wakyere was daughter of Age of Kpanzon in Takum.

He was christian Torkuma literarily translated to mean 'King status befits'. The wisdom in this name posts a double-binding meaning that practically played out in both the father and the son. Mr. Torkuma Vitalis Tor-Adekpe lives life in absolute fulfillment of his name. His father, Tor-Adekpe was enthroned as the first Kindred Head of Mberev-Kpav and was ratified by the then District of Ibi, the then imperial superintendent of the District.

The young Torkuma began his education at St. Joseph's RCM primary school, Takum, from 1969 to 1975. This was after he exhibited exceptional potential at the kindergarten session in the village instruction class at Tse-Adekpe. At St. Joseph's RCM, the school authorities noticed his charisma quickly, though incontestably the youngest in his class, he was entrusted with leadership as a class monitor from primary 2 to 7. On successful completion of primary education, he proceeded to St. Augustine Teacher's College, Lafia, from 1975 to 1979, where he obtained his Teachers' Grade 2 certificate with an excellent weighted aggregate. It is worthy to mention that because of his excellent performance in the college, he got double promotion from form 1 to form 3 thus completing his grade 2 within four years. His credentials spoke for him as he was aptly recruited into the services of Takum Local Government Primary Education Board as primary school teacher in September, 1979. His doggedness and unusual craving to achieve was reciprocated as he was hurriedly promoted to the post of Headmaster.

His quest for knowledge became profuse; he was increasingly dissatisfied with the then status and promptly preceded to University of Maiduguri in 1981. In 1985, on graduation, the university senate found him worthy both in character and learning as he bagged a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accountancy with prestigious class. Upon graduation, he was poise for the one year mandatory National Service. The National Youth Service Corps posted him to Rivers State for the 1985/86 service year, again his copious display of dexterity in tradecraft at the orientation camp culminated to his deployment to University of Port Harcourt for his primary assignment ; he was assigned to Bursary Department. While performing the National Service, he demonstrated sky-high interest in everything he did, leaving no one in doubt that he was set for the zenith.

After the National Service in 1986, Torkuma Tor-Adekpe took up appointment with Gongola State Ministry of Finance in August 1987. This appointment was short lived as the ambitious reservoir of knowledge sought for status elevation. He voluntarily stepped down from the Ministry after four (4) months of meritorious service and joined the inspectorate arm of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), now Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR). At the entry point of Accountant ll, Torkuma Tor-Adekpe has had a steady career progression.

The rare gem held sundry positions of responsibility while in the Inspectorate, later DPR, these include but were not restricted to: Accountant, General Accounts 1987 to 1991; Account, Central Invoice Processing 1992 to 1994; Team Leader, Central Invoice Processing 1995 to 2002. In 2001,he was posted to Abuja Zonal Office as Head of Finance and Accounts, and was later transferred to Maiduguri Zonal Office in 2006, as Head Finance and Accounts. He was elevated to the rank of Senior Manager in 2008, a position he helds until he became Head Corporate Services in charge of Accounts, Services and Human Resources. In 2014 the dynamic and proven administrator was transferred to DPR, Warri Zonal Office as Head Finance and Accounts, Warri Zone. In 2021, Torkuma Vitalis Tor-Adekpe retired after contributing 35 years service to fatherland.

An astute Accountant of international repute, the scholarly adventurist entered the history books as the first member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) from Taraba State in 1993. He attended various management courses both at home and abroad in reputable citadels of learning in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Competencies were built in the fields of developing managerial skills and policy, management of Petroleum Sector Development, Strategic management, developing successful chain management and coaching and mentoring for change managers as well as public accounting.

Some of these foreign courses attended have administrative and managerial specificities they include but not limited to: Developing Managerial Competence, Canfield School of Management, UK, 4th to 16th March, 1996, International Petroleum Accounting and Finance, Texas, USA, 23rd September 2001, organised by University of Texas, Houston, North Texas ; Policy and Management of Petroleum Sector Development, 26th April to 7th May, 2004,hosted by PETRAD in conjunction with DPR and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja, Nigeria 21st June to 2nd July, 2004; Management Strategies, RIPA International, UK, 6th to 17th December, 2004; International Petroleum Management Certificate Program, IHRDC, Boston, USA, 11th to 22nd September, 2006; Delivering Successful Change Management and Reforms, Crown Agents, UK, 26th November to 10th December, 2011; Coaching and Mentoring for Change Managers, London Management Center, UK, 24th to 28th October, 2015; Capacity Building Training on International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) Trans Global Educational, UK, 11th to 15th April, 2016.

Torkuma Vitalis Tor-Adekpe, is personified by an elaborate physical appearance appearance, clearly a six-footer, the amiable man of velour towers over his peers physically and in traits. His aristocratic miem is a huge betrayal of his rather simple and assessable interpersonal relationship with people.

At 66, the quintessence of peace, Torkuma Tor-Adekpe remains indefatigable and multi-tasking. He effectively combines immediate and extended family demands, diverse social responsibilities and conglomerates. He is a bridge builder and a peacemaker who has intervened in many crises situations to champion peace and solidarity for people and their neighbours. He has incessantly served as shock absorber or a deserving cushion. His fondness for peace caught him on the part of history as he is unceasingly involved in mediation, reconciliation and arbitration of peace during the Jukum-Tiv, Kuteb-Tiv, and Fulani-Tiv crises that engulfed the Tiv people of Taraba State for decades. His contributions are emancipatory and survival valves that prevent total dismemberment and socio-political dislocation of the Tiv in Taraba State. He achieves this by galvanizing traditional rulers, religious leaders, politicians and youths in a vanguard that is steered at his expense.

Torkuma Tor-Adekpe has an immeasurable affection for education, he established the Ngukat Group of Schools were children of the down-trodden enjoy palliated incentives for learning. Presently, he has offered ex-gratia as he introduced and lavishly sponsors a scholarship scheme for children of the less-privileged at primary and secondary school levels. As a measure of largess, he has also erected classroom structures for schools in various communities for conducive academic pursuit.

Torkuma Tor-Adekpe has accomplished hence ascended the pinnacle of laymen cadre in Catholicism. His passion and enthusiasm as a young catechumen brought to bear his level of ecclesiastism, resultantly, he was administered the sacrament of baptism in 1970 by Rev. Fr. Hunter of blessed memory, the then Parish Priest of St. Mary's Catholic Church, Wukari.

An undaunted devotee he is inducted to sacrament of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Matrimony that qualifies him as a worthy communicant of the faith. He increasingly plays to the tenents of Christianity and hold society in great sanctity, the reason for his benevolence. As a Catholic, he has provided leadership at the Laity level helping to build befitting worship places. For instance, the Lord used him to raise St. Anne's Catholic Church, Okokomaiko, Lagos from a makeshift to a gigantic befitting building. He has also donated one hectare of land to St. Augustine Tiv community of SS Peter and Paul Nyanya, Abuja for building of an estate. He has contributed in the building of many Churches including the one in Amadu and his country home at Tse Tor-Adekpe all to the glory of God. He repudiates evil; he is repugnant and antithetical to all known vices and acts of treachery. Last but not the least, he is a member of the charismatic faith.

As a team player, Torkuma Tor-Adekpe is fondly respected by subordinates and superior alike, his simplicity, humility and unfeigned support to people within his socio-religious and political milieus has hugely ameliorate the lot of many. Torkuma Vitalis Tor-Adekpe is a community leader, mobiliser, liberator and philanthropist, who contributed immensely and labours assiduously for the development of his community. It is on record that in 1980, he collaborated with Gabriel Ashaver of blessed memory, to form Mberev Development Association, which was vanguard and veritable pressure group for mobilizing, sensitising and an instrument of lobbying for infrastructure development from government. He help to create a strong unity and peace among the Shitile communities and their neighbours.

He used Mberev Development Association and wooed for the construction of Basic Health Clinic at New Gboko, Mberev Kpav. Because of unlimited love he has for his community, he also formed a family association with his uncle, late Cosmas Daudu in 1982, known as Bunde Development Association. He mobilized members of Bunde descent and build the Bunde Community Clinic sited at Kpashi in 1991, for Bunde Community Mberev Kpav which drastically reduced their suffering by trekking long distance to access health facilities.

In the sphere of human capacity development the altruistic son of Shitile is not found wanting, without appeal to family leanings or biological affiliates, he has facilitated the admission of sons and daughters of Tiv extraction into sundry institutions of learning and procured employment to many others (of which not less than fifteen (15) are in federal parastatals).

In the field of Agriculture, Torkuma Tor-Adekpe has cleared an unusual miasma for many and ushered several people into the occupation, a possessor of several hectares of land at fringes of Abuja, precisely at Tako, Yelwa and Guruku, Torkuma is arguably one of the biggest farmers in FCT. He cultivates commercial quantities of yams, cassava, maize, pumpkin among others. He has herds of cattle and other livestock. Several women, widows, civil servants, artisans are beneficiaries of fiefdom as they do tillage on portions of his vast land without request for a dime.

Torkuma Tor-Adekpe found the love of his life in 1988, Salome Ngunan Adekpe, daughter of Mr. Iortsor Gwaza of Mbajir-Mbakyer, Shitile. He instantly fulfilled traditional requirements to authenticate the marriage ; he later walked the isle with her in the Catholic order. The union, clearly God ordained is successfully peaceful and sufficiently blessed with four children, two males and two females.

Citizen John Akevi,
Bauchi State.