Speakership tussle: Benue Gov’s candidate emerges Speaker, defeats Akume’s choice

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The speakership tussle has created a gully between the Benue State Governor, Hyacinth Alia and the leader of the party in the State, Senator George Akume.

This is coming as the candidate of the governor, Aondona Dajoh emerged as the Speaker of the State Assembly on Monday.

Dajoh polled 17 votes to defeat Mrs Becky Orpin the candidate of Senator George Akume who scored 15 votes.

The election of the assembly speaker did not produce a winner in the first ballot as the two contestants tied with 16 votes each.

A female lawmaker, Lami Danladi, from Ado State Constituency, emerged as the Deputy Speaker unopposed.

Horse trading had started trailing the house speakership since Sunday when the party leadership in the state drummed support for the candidate of Senator Akume, Mrs Orpin.

Following the tension the speakership tussle had generated, security operatives had as early as 6 am on Monday been deployed to the assembly complex to beef up security.

However, a disagreement ensued during the election of Speaker of the Assembly after the two main contestants Dajoh and Opin tied for 16 votes each.

This prompted the Clerk of the House, Bernard Nule to order for a fresh election.

Shortly after the tie, lawmakers supporting Orpin insisted that the State Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia who was in the Assembly chamber should step out before the commencement of the second ballot.

They all alleged that some members were under pressure due to the presence of the governor, which resulted in a rowdy session, some members were seen banging tables and engaging one another in a shouting match.

This however stalled the commencement of the second ballot for almost three hours.

As of the time the house reconvened around 3:30 pm, the clerk of the house, Bernard Nule directed that all non-members and visitors except the media should vacate the chamber before the commencement of the second ballot.

It was on the second ballot that Dajoh emerged winner of the election by polling 17 votes against Orpin who scored 15 votes.

Earlier, the State Governor, Hyacinth Alia had inaugurated the 10th State Assembly with a charge to them
to collaborate with the executive arm of government in order to deliver the much-expected dividends of democracy to the people of the state.

The governor further urged the new legislators to be exemplary in their conduct, stressing that the Benue society has placed so many expectations hence the need to deliver.

He said, “The legislature not only gives the people a voice in affairs of government but provides the bedrock for the rule of law, equity and justice to reign in the polity.

“Due to the big role the legislature plays side by side with the judiciary and the Executive arm of government, we are fully prepared to respect the sanctity of the doctrine of the separation of powers under a democracy.”

Alia, who pledged not to interfere with the internal affairs of the legislature, especially in the election of its leaders, said “We are prepared to meaningfully work with those who you choose to lead the house.”

He however, advised members to choose from among themselves those that they will always be proud of their leadership qualities, adding “We will support the house with the training and retraining of staff of members of the House.”


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