BREAKING: Dajoh emerges Speaker of 10th Benue Assembly

Mrs. Lami Danladi becomes Deputy Speaker

BREAKING: Dajoh emerges Speaker of 10th Benue Assembly
Hon. Aondona Dajoh

By The Editor

Hon. Aondona Dajoh from Gboko West State constituency has finally emerged Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly after a protracted voting process. He defeated Mrs. Becky Orpin, from Gboko East State constituency by 17 votes to 15.
Hon. Mrs Lami Danladi from Ado State Constituency was unanimously elected Deputy Speaker. Other principal offices of Majority Leader, Minority Leader and Chief Whip are to be filled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the majority and minority parties, respectively, in the Assembly.

The new leadership of the Assembly emerged in a blaze of drama and rowdiness in Monday's session.
Shortly after the Assembly was inaugurated by the state Governor, Rev Fr Hyacinth Alia, the 32 members, from all Progressives Congress (APC), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Labour Party (LP), went into a session to elect key officials to lead the House.

The session began with Hon. Emmanuel Shimawua from Kyan state constituency, Vandeikya Local Government Area, nominating Hon. Aondona Dajoh to be elected as Speaker.

He said that Dajoh was a seasoned politician with versed experience saying he would provide quality leadership to the 10th House of Assembly.

His nomination was seconded by Hon. Lami Danladi from the Ado state constituency. Aondona Dajoh had also stood before his colleagues and accepted his nomination to be speaker of the House.

Similarly, Hon Manger McClinton, of the Tarka state constituency nominated Mrs Becky Orpin, representing the Gboko East state constituency.

His nomination was seconded by Rt Hon Cephas Dyako of Konshisha State constituency, Labour Party (LP), who explained that considering zoning arrangement and competence, Mrs Orpin’s antecedents show she has the capacity to lead the house.

Becky Orpin also accepted the offer saying, “I offer myself to serve based on the reasons that have been adduced by my nominator and the seconder.” She said the world is moving towards gender sensitivity and electing one out of the only two female legislators in the house, would be a great idea.

When the 32 House members went into the election choosing the open secret ballot, Hyacinth Aondona Dajoh, of Gboko-West constituency and Becky Orpin, Gboko-East State constituency had a tie with each polling 16 votes.

The members requested that the election be conducted again. At this point, the member representing the Konshisha state constituency, Rt Hon Cephas Dyako, demanded that Governor Alia and his entourage excuse the House before the second election commences.

He said by their presence, the House is being put under pressure to do the bidding of the executive.

The request caused an uproar in the house with some members supporting him, while others rejected his plea.

While the commotion was going on, the Clark of the House, Barr Bernard Nule, gave Governor Alia permission to stay arguing that if the members did not object to his stay earlier, why at a time when there was a tie in the election?

After several debates and the pandemonium in the House, the Clark called for a break to enable members to lobby and consult after which it will reconvene in 10 minutes.

The break lasted for over two hours. It was learnt that the break period was used to print ballot papers as members had decided to conduct the second round of election through secret balloting.
As it turned out, Mrs. Orpin lost one member to Hon. Dajoh resulting in the final outcome of 15 votes to 17, respectively.
There was another rowdy period after the election which delayed the swearing-in of the newly elected principal officers by the Clark of the House.
Speculations are rife that the division of members of the 10th Benue State House of Assembly right from its inauguration is a reflection of the divided loyalties to the state Governor, Rev Fr. Hyacinth Alia and the Leader of APC in the state, Sen George Akume. Dajoh was reportedly the candidate of Governor Alia while Mrs. Orpin was supported by Senator Akume.