It started like a rumour, a rumour some of us wished would not end as a mere rumour but become reality. Sure enough, before the day’s business was over, the rumour was confirmed authentic, you Rt. Hon. Terkimbi Ikyange has been elected Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly. It was good news.

The news of your ascent to the office of Speaker and number three citizen of Benue State in the current era is not heart warming to me just because I happen to have shared a history with you at a point in your life during your secondary school days, but it is the implication of this leadership demand placed on you on the Benue youth in particular and the Nigerian youth in general that has made it so heart warming. This will be an opportunity to prove to the older generation that the younger generation has what it takes to lead and lead better than they have done and will ever do.

The Nigerian youth finds it difficult to clinch leadership roles, where they do, one of the older generation folks is almost always pulling the strings behind for a selfish end, thus not allowing the youth to express his full potential. The news that you were elected in a free, fair and credible process is an indication there is no one pulling the strings behind you for a selfish end, thus you will be able to steer the affairs of your new office without encumbrances from any quarters.

It must be stated that your ascension to the leadership of the house goes beyond your achievement as Rt Hon Ikyange now, but has become and will be the achievement of the Benue youth. Your performance in this position will be a clear testimony to all that the youths have what it takes to lead and to lead aright and for the good of all. It will be a gauge by which the today’s youth will be assessed. It will prove that the today’s youth is not bereft of leadership ideas as has been speculated. The older generation is quick to point to failures in the past, of youths saddled with leadership roles as prove the youth is not ready for leadership; your ascension has provided an opportunity to prove them wrong and show them and any other person with doubts that those failures were exceptions and not the rule.

It is obvious this position comes with a heavy burden. You carry the voice of the Benue people. The demands and burdens of the Benue people is placed on you. When we want the Benue government to hear our voice, we speak through you. When we want our demands met and our burdens lifted, we would drop them on you to carry them to whoever will attend to them. When the government you are part of strays from the right to the left, you will be expected to have the courage to call it to order. You will be praised when you do well walking the right path; but make no mistakes, when you step out of the right path, you will be criticised. As a mtter of fact, some will criticise you for no just cause, just to criticise! You must accept these two as necessary towards a better performance in your new office.

For your people, the Ushongo people, to re-elect you to represent them is a clear testimony that they are satisfied with your service to them. It is our hope and prayer that when your time as speaker is done, the Benue people will look back to today and marvel at the speed with which your leadership of the legislature has contributed in the upliftment of Benue State to its enviable place of pride in the nation.

We the Benue youth is solidly behind you and ready to assist in whatever way we can; and we hope you will create space for other youths to get to leadership positions not just in Benue State but the nation Nigeria. This you will do by your sterling performance as the Speaker of the 8th Benue State House of Assembly, a period we hope will become a reference point when assessing the performance of speakers in Benue and other states in the nation.

It is our prayer the Almighty God that elevated you will give you the necessary wisdom needed to run the affairs of your new office.

Pharm Amene Terhemen

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