Danger is hanging over Benue State as the state's governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom and top leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) are alleged to have resorted to dirty tactics to win the leadership of the Benue State House of Assembly against the People's Democratic Party (PDP).
PDP enjoys the majority in the yet to be inaugurated 8th Assembly of the state, with 15 members-elect, while the APC has 14 with the Labour Party (LP) having one.
But even the LP member-elect, Hon. Tor Aye, is widely believed to have opted to be counted on the side of the PDP, given that he won his election through the support he enjoyed from members of the party.
Following the termination of the 7th Assembly on Tuesday it became mandatory by law that the 8th Assembly be inaugurated immediately to forestall a lacuna being that the days following are working days.
But Ortom instead opted to shift the inauguration of the new Assembly to Friday, leaving the state and its people to go three full working days without a legislature, a situation experts have contended is similar to a military dictatorship.
Impeccable sources have revealed that the shift in date of inauguration is to give the governor and APC leaders more time to perfect their strategies against the PDP members-elect, which include offers of bribes and outright threats of physical harm.
The Benue State governor is said to have held series of meetings with some members-elect of the PDP whom he offered the sum of 5 million naira and a brand-new Toyota Corolla car each in return for their votes in the race for the Speakership of the House, and it has been authoritatively revealed that the Toyota Corolla cars are parked at the governor's private residence in Makurdi.
It has also been gathered that notable members-elect of the PDP have gone into hiding having received death threats from an anonymous caller who warned that all enemies of 'change' will be dealt with, and cited the recent assassination of the PDP Youth Leader of Ushongo Local Government Area, late Hon. Ternenge Gbuuga (Andoor), as an example.
Watchers of political events have expressed worries that Ortom may have started on the wrong footing with such open show of arbitrariness as in the shifting of the Assembly inauguration without minding the constitutional implications of his actions.
Others query the morality of the governor's actions in offering bribes to the PDP members-elect, considering that he won election professing to be a God-fearing man and also promising to bring about change in leadership style and conduct at the number one office in the state.
Meanwhile, Ortom and top APC leaders in the state are said to be in a state of heightening desperation in their quest to win the leadership of the incoming Assembly, and it has been gathered that they have drafted some prominent Benue indigenes holding sensitive federal appointments to influence and win over some PDP members-elect.
But the PDP members-elect are said to have so far maintained their unity, and it is being speculated that they are determined to win the leadership of the House which will give to them six principal offices, namely the Speaker and Deputy, the Majority Leader and Deputy, the Majority Whip and Deputy, as well as the pick of the composition and leadership of the House standing committees.
A notable PDP member-elect, who spoke under anonymity, vowed that the PDP is going to use its numerical majority to good effect by winning the leadership of the House, stressing that in achieving that, they will be deepening the democratic culture, as well as uplifting the image and standard of the legislature in the state.