BENUE ASSEMBLY SPEAKER FIDDLES, RULE OF LAW BURNS

By James Ibechi

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For the men and women in the wig-wearing profession, contempt of court could be the appropriate jargons for the description of what appears to be happening at the Benue State House of Assembly. But for this writer with a poetic license, who enjoys the liberty to use words the way he fancies — but with circumspection — to say that mischief, arrogance, idiosyncrasy, hypocrisy and lawlessness in the lawmaking arm of government seem to be a truly bottomless well is an understatement.

The state Assemby led by its speaker, Terkimbe Ikyange, had to put Its hands up to a very first expense mischief or call it contempt of court fiddle. And there is bound to be backlash. Just watch

A federal high court sitting in Makurdi had, penultimate week, sacked the lawmaker representing Oju 2 state constituency, Ire Owuru, in a terse judgement and ordered the House to swear in Mike Adigwu in his place. INEC was also to withdraw the certificate of return from the sacked lawmaker and give it to Adigwu, to which the electoral body had dully complied.

On its part, the Terkimbi Ikyange-led eight state assembly has refused to comply with the court order. It is either a refusal of the House or a foot-dragging. Whatever that is, it has not complied at least as at last sitting, let alone now that the lawmakers are on a retreat in Obudu cattle ranch.

The reason adduced by the speaker for his non-compliance with the federal high court order is an appeal which the defendant was rumored to have filed against the judgement of the federal high court, on which a stay of execution order was said to have served the House, but which, as we write, the source of the counter order remains obscured. Neither were the plaintiff and his counsel served a notice of such an appeal or stay of execution order.

So, where lay the validity of such a stay of execution order that the House Speaker is honoring for which he is seemingly plunging the Assembly into avoidable crises that are sure to result?

Only the speaker who thinks has two heads seems to have the answer. But by the time the trouble he is brewing by refusing to comply with the extant court order and swear in the rightful person is over, he sure, will realize he has only one head. Fingers crossed.

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