Any Party Can Produce The Speaker – Ikyange #Beekhaybee

Lately, members of the Benue state House of
Assembly (BNHA) engaged in fist-cuff over the
election of
principal officers in the assembly.
In an interview with Daily Independent, the
Speaker of BNHA, Terkimbi Ikyange of the All
Progressives Congress throws more light on
what led to the internal bickering and on other
issues including financial autonomy for the
legislature.
Below are Excerpts from the interview:
Recently there was internal wrangling within
your fold over the election of principal officers,
where some of your colleagues engaged in fist-
cuff. How would you react to such actions?
What happened in the Benue state House of
Assembly and elsewhere is that there is no
clear-cut rule that people who are in the
majority will always produce the speaker of the
House. It’s a matter of lobbying and talking to
your colleagues and if they are convinced in
your abilities that you can be their leader, they
can give it to you. I want to tell you that if the
man from Labour Party (LP) was able to
convince members of the assembly that he is
capable of becoming the speaker, he would
have been voted. So, there was no rule that
said the people that have the majority in the
House should produce the speaker. But, the
issue was just that of simple majority. So they
(colleagues of the Peoples’ Democratic Party)
felt that because they are fifteen in number, they
can have the speaker, but remember that I
came from the 7th assembly and I also had
colleagues who were there with me and who
also knew that I had potentials to be the
leadership. I want to make it very clear to you
that there is no rule in the world that says that
people in the majority will always have it. So,
there was no disagreement on the issue of
speakership. If you are to watch proceedings of
the House, we did voting peacefully and I got 17
votes while the person that contested against
me had 13 votes. I was able to convince my
colleagues to vote for me, three votes which
came from PDP added to the ones from my
party; the APC, and that was how I emerged
Speaker. Also, we supported somebody for the
deputy speakership and he eventually won. As
for other principal officers, something
happened. The activities that led to me
becoming the speaker actually didn’t go down
well with my colleagues of the PDP. They were
not comfortable with some of their members
that had supported an APC member to emerge
Speaker, going by their feeling that they were in
the majority. Somehow, they had a
disagreement among themselves and it led to
the expulsion of our colleague; a member from
his own constituency. He felt he was
embarrassed because of what they did to him
as a member who had served for four years and
shouldn’t have been treated that way.
READ ALSO: Gunmen Kill APC Chief And Two
Others
So what did he do after he was expelled from
PDP?
When he was expelled, he joined APC, and
because of that, the House considered him for a
position. When this was happening, the PDP felt
he shouldn’t have left, that there were other
procedures that ought to have been followed
before that decision was taken. When the letters
were read about his leaving the PDP as a result
of his expulsion, his colleagues in the PDP who
were also interested in the leadership became
uncomfortable and the argument that followed
rose to uncontrollable tempers and that was
what brought about the crisis you saw.
What is the position of the present Assembly in
its efforts to maintain the financial autonomy of
the House?
We have a new person who is now our
president, that is Muhammadu Buhari and I
want to believe that his dispositions to the idea
of the arms of government being independent;
the way he speaks and generally his
antecedents tells me that he will be supportive
of this course. We as members of the 7th
assembly also voted for the financial freedom of
the legislative arm of government throughout
the federation and it was sent back to the
National Assembly and Jonathan (former
President Goodluck Jonathan) refused to assent
to it. But if President Buhari is going to revisit
the issue, I want to assure you that there is no
time that we as members of the state assembly
will refuse to vote in support of it being
financially autonomous because this is the way
that you could have some freedom and you are
not completely depending on the goodwill of the
executive arm of government to function.
The 7th assembly was rated below average in
terms of carrying out its over-sight functions.
How does the 8th assembly intend to address
this?
I am assuring you that by the grace of God, the
8th assembly will do much better in terms of its
over-sight functions. We want to improve on
what we had during the last assembly. Once the
standing committees are constituted, we are
going to set a template of doing our work here
as legislators. In these areas, we need the
assistance of journalists like you, because these
issues of over-sight, most people look at the
constitutional roles we have to play as
confronting the executive arm of government for
checks and balances to be in the system so
that you see effectiveness in governance. This
role of over sighting is key but most times in
the course of doing it, the persons that should
understand what you are doing looks at you as
intruding and say things they shouldn’t have
said. But before these things are done and
before we begin in earnest, we will sit together
and talk. I will also use my position as Speaker
to seek audience with executive arm of
government so we understand ourselves from
the onset on how things work at our end. Once
that is done, we will not have much of the
challenges we had in the 7th assembly.
READ ALSO: Suswam Allegedly Siphoned N48B
Meant For Local Council
The 7th Assembly in the state shied away from
the media. Why have you decided to open your
doors to the media?
Journalists are partners in the progress of
governance. The policies and aspirations of any
organization will only be known by the people if
there is a medium through which such policies
would be heard. If laws are enacted by the
Assembly, the people may likely not know
except they are told and the only medium
through which they would be known is the
media who are carriers of information. So I felt
that I should meet with you, to let you know
that we are willing to be supported by you to
succeed in this task which we have of law
making. In the seventh Assembly, we had
sittings where major decisions that affected the
lives of the people of Benue were taken but the
public did not know because probably we did
not involve the journalists. In a way, the people
did not know that important activities and
decisions were taken in the House. But I think
that we have a whole lot of work to do and the
present Assembly will depend largely on you to
succeed. When we were talking about ‘change’,
we didn’t mean changing from one political
party to another, we mean changing the ways
we think and the way we did things and by so
doing we are going to achieve certain feats in
the development of the state and the country at
large.
READ ALSO: I Am Richer Than Bill Gates –
Pastor Adeboye
The relationship between the legislature and the
executive in the past had been viewed as that
of the lawmakers being an appendage of
government. How do you intend to make a
difference?
I wouldn’t want to believe that the last
assembly, which I was a part of, was pocketed.
When you were not part of what we were doing,
there was no way somebody would have
understood our plight, but by the special grace
of God we are beginning on a new note. You
(journalists) are going to be fully incorporated in
whatever we will be doing and then you will be
the ones to tell the people whether we are an
appendage of the executive or we are actually
standing on our own. But I want to assure you
that we are going to stand as an independent
arm of government and we will be duty-bound
to do what is expected of us as members of the
legislative arm of government. And as we set to
do this effectively, we want to believe that the
cooperation we will get from our own partners
in this business who are the executive arm of
government will give us the necessary
cooperation that we need. We will not be
pocketed and you (media) should not be used
against us.

Advertisements