Baring any last-minute surprise, the Benue State House of Assembly is set to elect a former broadcaster and public relations practitioner, Mrs Beckie Torkwase Orpin, as Speaker. This will be the culmination of high-stake political manoeuvres, particularly following former Benue Governor George Akume’s appointment as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Orpin, an erstwhile spokesperson for Akume during the latter’s reign as Governor of the Food Basket of the Nation, also previously served as Chief Press Secretary to Mrs Margaret Icheen, the first female Speaker of a Legislative Assembly in Africa. If elected as expected later today (Monday, 5 June 2023), Orpin shall be stepping into the shoes of her former boss, Mrs Icheen, for the rare feat of a woman leading a male-dominated House of Assembly.
Mrs Beckie Orpin, one-time Chairman of Gboko Local Government Area in Benue State, will be taking the mantle from the current leader of the 9th Benue State House of Assembly, Mr Titus Uba, who suffered a stroke before the 2023 polls and a defeat by Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia during the same polls.
A source close to the ruling APC disclosed to AkweyaTV
that though Mrs Orpin was widely known to not have the blessings of the newly-sworn-in Governor Alia, who wants to wrest himself from the claws of godfatherism, the permutations changed after Akume got the SGF slot. Akume’s politics is known to be characterised by the distribution of political offices to court loyalty and analysts feel that with so many civil service institutions and positions under the office of the SGF, Governor Alia will run out of arsenals to keep up a political wrestling match with a veteran like Akume, which accounts for why the Reverend Father might throw in the towel as far as trying to determine the occupant slot of the seat of Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly.
In fact, a chieftain of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue, while speaking to AkweyaTV on condition of anonymity, said, “As soon as we heard the name Akume for SGF we knew our party (PDP) shall be losing the next elections in 2027 because Akume will go to every nook and cranny of Benue and he will be distributing posts to every household.”