Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
There was heavy security presence, on Tuesday, within and around the premises of Benue State House of Assembly over alleged plot by members to impeach their Speaker, Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange.
Daily Sun gathered that the development was as a result of speculations of bitter rivalry currently brewing between Governor Samuel Ortom and the leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Sen. George Akume ahead of the 2019 election.
An insider, who did not want to be named, hinted our correspondent that there was an alleged plan by Governor Ortom to defect from the APC with his supporters after feelers had it that the party had already perfected plans to deny him the 2019 governorship ticket.
However, Sen. Akume, on getting the hint, was said to have warned the governor against leaving the party on whose platform it won election in 2015, threatening that if he did, he would regret it.
This, our impeccable source said, did not go down well with the APC leader in the state who, in a bid to stop the governor from decamping and leaving the ruling party in the lurch, decided to use his ‘boy’, Speaker Terkimbi Ikyange to remove the governor through impeachment.
The development, our source said, angered members of the opposition party in the Assembly and a plot to, in turn, plot his (Ikyange’s) removal was hatched and was planned to have been carried out on Tuesday.
Though Daily Sun could not immediately ascertain on whose orders the stern-looking security operatives were invited to the Assembly, Sen. Akume was also said to have driven to the complex at a point that day.
But, the House at its sitting, of Tuesday, following the insistence of the Speaker, resolved to adjourn until July 15 this year to arrive at a resolution.
But fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the adjournment, Speaker Ikyange denied the impeachment plot against himself and even the governor.
Though he admitted that there had been some political instability in the ruling APC in the state, Ikyange said the rumours were the handiwork of external influence in town which had hit up the system.
He insisted that there were no plot to impeach him nor the governor of the state as cordial relationship had existed between all involved since the past three years.
“The House, as an institution, has members that represent various constituencies and the House has its own way of conducting its business.
“The Assembly has full respect for the governor and we are in support of him. There is nothing to suggest that the house is planning to impeach the governor.
“But as much as I can tell you over the three years that I have been the Speaker, there had never been any cause to worry over any issue.
“We have been working together and there is perfect understanding particularly between the leadership and other members of the house.
“And there hasn’t been any reason for us to disagree but there has been little political instability particularly in the APC for the past few weeks so to speak, just some little disagreement among various interest groups.
“Since the House of Assembly is made up of members of different political parties, particularly, APC in control, there is the likelihood of agitations and that is not enough to constitute any wrangling, but just last week the members passed vote of confidence in me.
Speaker Ikyange also noted that the heavy presence of security operatives in the Assembly complex was to ensure adequate security in the House.
“Security agencies that were here were just to ensure there should not be disagreement that will result to some kind of crisis.
“There is no plan to impeach me or the governor of the state as being speculated. As a matter of fact, just two weeks ago, the Assembly passed vote of confidence in me.”