…As PDP lawmakers call for speaker’s resignation
From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
There was pandemonium at the Benue State House of Assembly yesterday after the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers demanded the resignation of the speaker and all principal officers.
Trouble started shortly after the Speaker, Mr. Terkimbi Ikyange called for the adoption of the votes and proceedings of July 12, 2016. As the lawmakers commenced page by page consideration of the votes and proceedings, Mr. Kester Kyenge cited Order 8, Rule 4 a, to allow for the adjournment of the House to enable it discuss a matter of urgent public importance.
When the speaker demanded to know what constitutes a matter of urgent public importance, Mr. Kyenge said he was referring to an issue on the first page of the votes and proceedings which was under consideration.
The speaker ruled him out of order, explaining that all members were expected to go through the votes and proceedings and bring out any issue they wished to observe, correct or discuss, stressing that he (Kester) needs not come by way of a motion of urgent public importance as contained in the Standing Rules of the House (Order 8, Rule 4 a.).
According to the speaker, the ‘b’ part of the cited order demands that lawmakers will have to first brief the speaker on the intended urgent matter before citing it on the floor as that was the conventional practice in the Assembly.
Following this ruling by the speaker and the consequent refusal by Mr. Kyenge to respect the ruling and allow for the consideration of the votes and proceedings, the chamber became rancorous with many lawmakers, mostly from the opposition PDP engaging one another in war of words.
Attempts by the Speaker to bring the Assembly under control failed as the PDP members insisted that the Speaker must reverse his ruling to allow Kyenge to continue with his motion of urgent public importance.
Mr. Ikyange, accordingly invoked the relevant sections of the House Standing Rules to adjourn the Assembly for 30 minutes (in the first instance), and later adjourned the sitting to Thursday, July 21, at 10am when it became clear that PDP members were bent on disrupting the sitting.
Led by member representing Logo State Constituency, Kester Kyenge, the PDP members shortly after the adjournment, at a press conference called on the Speaker to resign insisting that the alleged N750 million car scam, N500 million discovered in the Speaker’s private bank account and another N86 million oversight function fund needs explanation by the speaker.
Speaking on behalf of PDP members, Kyenge accused the Speaker of being silent on grave allegations of fraud presently rocking the House, thereby, bringing shame on the Assembly.
He maintained that the speaker reconvened the House the other day (July 12) other that the actual adjourning day and entered absenteeism for 16 lawmakers who were present and urged Governor Samuel Ortom to promptly take action on the six months unpaid salaries arrears of civil servants in the state.