Benue House of Assembly: Will this Dog Bite?

Posted: September 6, 2012 in BENUE, political, Uncategorized
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The Benue state House of Assembly had last Tuesday at its plenary sitting, issued the Benue state Governor, Gabriel Suswam a seven-day ultimatum to disengage the services of his information commissioner, Conrad Wergba or face their wrath.

This threat is penultimate an earlier threat issued the commissioner for alleged unguarded comments contained in a press release issued by the commissioner. The commissioner had in the said release accused the Assembly of attempting to arm twist the governor for pecuniary gains, further describing it hallmark behaviour. Wergba had also out rightly denied claims by the assembly that the government owed civil servants’ salaries as well as members of the assembly.
In view of these allegations the assembly summoned the commissioner, in a bid to clear the air on the allegations he levelled on them. Wergba on appearance, admitted guilt as to name calling the Assembly members as well as accusing them of arm twisting.
However, the commissioner insisted the honourable members had wrongly accused the state government of owing salaries furtherance to which he offered to present physical evidence in form of payment vouchers to back his claim.

Sequel to Wergba’s insistence that the government did not owe assembly members, the assembly was sent into unexpected frenzy as Wergba had expected a formality owing to an already established reputation given the assembly. It was expected he would only get the usual pat on the back and asked to leave, unfortunately Wergba seemed to have stepped on their sensitive side as the floor arouse in unison demanding for Wergba’s resignation within seven days, this was as the speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Dave Iorhemba had tried to show solidarity by attempting to save the embattled commissioner’s neck or at least provide a soft landing for him.

With this declaration by the House of Assembly the whole state was thrown into a certain level of excitement seemingly out of the fact that as he had rightfully noted had made enemies in the course of his duty as media manager for the governor.
This call for Wergba’s neck has variously been viewed as a baseless threat since the Benue state assembly under the Gabriel Suswam administration has been tagged a rubber stamp assembly which has been under the whims and caprices of Governor Suswam.
This is even as this seventh assembly has been acclaimed to have included the highest number of opposition members ever in the state with the ACN constituting a total of ten out of thirty members a perceived active and potentially effective number.
Thus the general expectation of a vibrant opposition by the general public.
Unfortunately, the Assembly especially the opposition was put to test when the Assembly jointly walked out of a retreat organised by the state government for the executive and legislature. With this walk out, there was a level of excitement by the populace acknowledging the presence of an opposition capable of checking the government. But this dream died in no time as the assembly was faced with the usual accusation of arm twisting and intimidation as atiterkula gathered.
According to sources the assembly had allegedly walked out to press home their longing for new automobiles, a claim they could not refute as they in turn did not respond to the allegations put forward. The issue died a natural death.

Only recently had the members of the opposition caucus led a walk out of a plenary led by one of her most vibrant, Hon. Dorathy Mato, demanding for the provision of the post of a minority chief whip as according to them, is their constitutional right. Although they had succeeded in pressing home their demand it also apt to add that the demand only remained at the level of walking out of a plenary: a move judged by watchers as an attempt to save face, only to show there is an opposition on ground.

It is also worthy to note here that since the inception of the Suswam administration in 2007, he has been able to clip the wings of the legislature in the state, planting cronies and alleged stooges as speaker and leaders of such assembly.
It was allegedly on this ground that he survived the sixth assembly by planting his aide, Hon. Terseer Tsumba as speaker and ensuring the seventh assembly elects his crony Hon. Emmanual Tarzoor, as speaker who on losing his seat to the opposition in a legal tussle, Suswam ensured his former classmate, Hon. Dave Iorhemba becomes speaker, thus easing the way for him to manoeuvre the assembly.

This will also not be the first time the assembly will be threatening a member of Suswam’s executive cabinet as the sixth assembly under the leadership of Hon. Tersee Tsumba, had called for the resignation of another Commissioner, Hon. Eugene Aliegba, who was alleged to be drawing salaries from two government sources: the state university where he served as lecturer and from the state executive council as commissioner.
For this, the State Assembly after investigating the matter resolved that Aliegba tenders his resignation due to this sharp practice. Unfortunately, even as the findings indicted him, the governor stood down the call by the assembly thus retaining Aliegba and even a subsequently relocating him to a juicier ministry.
It is already days after the pronouncement against Wergba and the governor is yet to take hix stance on what the commissioner’s fate will be. This is even as the people of the state are anxious to know the grit that makes up their legislature. As at the time of filling this report the state governor was said to have travelled to Abuja with Wergba on a courtesy visit and thus the people of Benue await to see the end to the Wergba/Assembly brawl.

  1. Gabriel Nyam says:

    Nice one there keep us informed


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