Ikyange And His Many Troubles | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ikyange And His Many Troubles

Posted: Aug 25, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


By Ejikeme Omenazu

For Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange, Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, this is not the best of times. Recently, a Federal High Court sitting in Makurdi ordered the enforcement of its judgment delimiting his constituency, Ushongo Constituency, into two by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to become the Ushongo and Mbagwa state constituencies.

The court ordered INEC to withdraw the Certificate of Return it previously issued to Ikyange, who was elected to represent the people of Ushongo at the State House of Assembly. The court also ruled that INEC should conduct elections within 90 days into the two constituencies

Now, Hon. Ikyange has found himself on the wrong side of the law. A petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), by an unnamed author alleged that he connived with his principal officers to defraud the state to the tune of N750 million said to be car loans for lawmakers.

Based on the petition, the Speaker, his Deputy, James Ikefe; the Majority Leader, Benjamin Adanyi; Deputy Majority Leader, Nick Eworo; the Minority Leader, Sule Audu and 10 other members were arrested, detained in Abuja by the EFCC. More evidence of looting to the tune of another N750 million was also allegedly traced to the Speaker

On their return from Abuja, some lawmakers led by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislators, backed by a pressure group, Concerned Benue Youth for Good Governance (CBYGG) mounted pressure for the removal of Ikhange and other principal officers. This was after the call for their resignation fell on deaf ears.

Observers view the issue very serious as Benue State had been finding it difficult to pay its workers since February this year. For John Ashaver, the leader of CBYGG, “It is unfortunate that in just one year, the House is enmeshed in monumental corruption. All the principal officers should resign. The House sinks.”

If the Speaker thought they would receive a reprieve through Governor Samuel Ortom, he was mistaken as Ortom lauded the EFCC for doing its job. The Governor vowed that he would never shield anybody found to be corrupt or wanting. According to him, “Yes, it (the arrest of the lawmakers) is a good thing; it is part of the process. They are under investigation by the EFCC.

“From day one, I brought up a slogan that ‘if you chop money, money will chop you. We have to be careful and I have sent signals to all that nobody is above the law.”

Analysts of Benue State situation believe that for Hon Ikyange and his principal officers, their days on their exalted seats are numbered. This is because their accusers are hell bent on ensuring that they are impeached to restore sanity and accountability to the state’s legislature. Will they succeed in doing this? Only time will tell.