By Terver Adom
When you are in an arena where people are dancing and you see anyone who begins to dance by clapping hands first, just know that such a person isn’t a good dancer.
Of course, I know so many terrible dancers including some of my close friends. But I won’t mention their names either. But any time they choose to dance, they disgrace their generation. Therefore, they don’t dance.
But for a great dancer, his first step on the rostrum is seen with distinction. Once he steps on the dance floor, he dances to the rhythm of the music and demonstrates that he’s an exceptional dancer who came prepared.
For the good people of Gboko West otherwise known as Gbemacha and indeed the people of Benue, have witnessed the arrival of a great dancer on the stage as the dependable voice of Gbemacha and Speaker of the 10th Benue State House of Assembly, Hyacinth Aondona Dajoh.
The Speaker who is a greenhorn in politics and first timer in the Benue legislative assembly has taken a lot of people by surprise as someone who came prepared for the task of lawmaking.
Aondona Dajoh who was a relatively known name in Benue State before he was elected the speaker was outrightly written off for the prized position of the speaker. For many people, his name didn’t ring a bell and deserved no chance. He was seen as someone who was asking for too much as Charles Dicken’s character, Oliver Twist.
However, since his election as the primus inter pares of the House of Assembly and the number three citizen, tongues are wagging and people are shifting grounds to appreciate how differently the lawmaker has conducted himself within just a month in office.
Following the activities that culminated in his election as the speaker on June 5, 2023, Dajoh has moved quickly to unite the members of the House devoid of political parties affiliations. Now the House under the watch of the Mbatiav-born legislator is one and indivisible.
To learn from the Veterans, a few days after assuming the chair of the speaker, Dajoh met with former speakers of the Benue State House of Assembly at the residence of Chief Mrs Hon Mageret Icheen who was speaker from 1999 to 2002 where he also quickly learned the ropes of legislation and practical principles of a presiding officer of the House, and above all, solicited their support as senior colleagues. This was a great step.
More so, Speaker Dajoh led members of the House to meet the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty Orcivirigh Professor James Ayatse in his palace in Gboko. The visibly happy Tor Tiv commended the move by the speaker describing it as the first ever of a speaker to visit him on assumption of office to seek counsel.
It should not go unacknowledged that the Assembly under Dajoh has already started receiving training with a three-day retreat with the theme “Setting the pace for Legislative Excellence” that was held from 22nd June to 24th June 2023 at Ta’al Conference Centre, Lafia and was organized by Purplestone Nig. Ltd. This is in addition to the Professor Patrick Iyorwuese Ukase -led Legislative Agenda Setting Committee comprising of Dr Jerome Andohol, Dr Daniel Mailumo, Francis Adole and Barr Torseer Yina.
Within a few days in office, Dajoh has become a national political player assuming the role of the leader of the Forum of North Central Speakers that he also led on a thank you and a congratulatory visit to the Secretary to the Government of Federation, SGF, His Excellency Senator George Akume. It was a historic gathering that attracted encomiums on the Benue number three citizen from the North Central political leader.
The Speaker has also taken time to visit with those who are almost forgotten. In this category, Dajoh visited a former senate president, Ameh Ebute of the third republic, Barr Targema Takema, a former Secretary to the Benue State government who has been ill for about a decade now. More such visits are in the pipeline. These visits aim to show love, care, and solidarity and to also learn from such leaders.
The youth-friendly speaker has also been able to connect with old friends and comrades as they take turns to visit and interact with him reminiscing on old stories, sharing meals and also doing the necessary of ‘demobilization.’
Despite being in office for a few days, Dajoh has initiated many projects of which many are at the stage of completion. For instance, the multipurpose science laboratory at Government Secondary School, Ikpa in Mbatierev, the Traditional council hall in Mbadim and Mbaanku all in Mbatiav are at different stages of completion. These projects and more will be completed to mark his hundred days in office. This feat is unprecedented in the history of Benue legislators that within just a hundred days, all districts within a constituency will have a project.
In the area of crisis management, Speaker Dajoh has demonstrated expertise. He is excellently complementing the effort of the Rev Fr Hyacinth Iormem Alia-led administration. For example, on June 26, 2023, the speaker rescheduled a plenary session of the House to attend to the crisis at Ikpayongo that led the women of the area to block a federal highway that halted vehicular movement for many hours. It was under the rains that Dajoh led other members of the House to intervene and have the road opened for free passage of traffic. Dajoh was drenched. This is compassion. That’s leadership. This was followed by another visit to Ikpayongo the following day June 27, 2023. Under the scorching sun, Dajoh spoke passionately to his mothers to give peace a chance and assured them that the culprits must be apprehended and brought to book.
Consequently, a meeting was held with prominent sons and daughters of Masev including the Ter Gwer HRH Dominic Akpe and other traditional rulers to chart a way forward.
In Gboko where the speakers hail from, recently there was an uproar amongst ‘Okada riders’ about leadership tussle. The speaker swiftly intervened and brought it to a halt.
In furtherance of peace, the speaker has constituted a peace and conflict resolution ad-hoc committee in the house. The committee has a mandate of identifying all crisis areas in Benue to bring peace. The committee is expected to turn in an interim report in a matter of weeks.
It is indeed commensurate that the people of Benue support the Benue 10th assembly under the gaze of Dajoh to make quality laws for the good governance of Benue State. Dajoh has proven within a short time that he’s a ‘good dancer’, a team player, a fast learner and ready for the job. The youth of Benue also need to support and protect one of theirs who is the speaker.
This is because the success of Dajoh as a speaker will open more doors for the youth of this state and vice versa. It is time to disappoint the naysayers. The pessimists. It is time to support a youth who is out there demonstrating capacity and capability.
• Adom is the Senior Special Assistant, Special Duties, SSASD, to the Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly and writes from Makurdi