WueseTyona © I am Benue 2023

Benue State Youth Parliament (BSYP) At The Valedictory Session Of The 2nd Assembly, 8th May 2023

Benue Government, Stories 8/05/2023 by Rachel Wuese Tyona

His Excellency,

The Executive Governor of Benue State,

The Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly,

The deputy Speaker and Honourable members of the State House of Assembly,

The Secretary to the State Government,

Members of the State Executive Council,

Special advisers,

Clerk of the House,

My Honorable Colleagues,

Past Members of the Benue State Youth Parliament,

Clerk of the Youth Parliament,

Staff of the Ministry of Youth and Sports,

Staff of the Assembly,

Invited guest, gentlemen of the press,

Ladies and gentlemen.

  1. It is with utmost joy and humility I give this valedictory speech, which can be best described as my account of stewardship on the opportunity given me to serve the 2nd assembly of the Benue State Youth Parliament as her Speaker. This experience has been one of a lifetime and the lessons learnt will be a prerequisite for future endeavors as God pleases.
  2. I will begin this address, by appreciating God Almighty, the giver of life and opportunities, who found me worthy of the responsibility to lead and guide the 2nd Assembly of the Benue State Youth Parliament and my parent, Mr & Mrs Terkimbi Tyona, for their unwavering support and understanding throughout the period of my speakership and my life in total.
  3. My profound gratitude to the Executive Governor of Benue State, His Excellency, Dr. Samuel Ortom, for his unwavering commitment to youth development in the state. His consistent support to the Benue State Youth Parliament has been the core of our successes. We do not take this opportunity for granted and we remain eternally grateful to His Excellency for supporting a platform that gives Benue Youth a voice and a place. Also to the amazing senators representing Benue, at the red chambers of the National Assembly; Sen. Gabriel Torwua Suswam of Benue North-East Senatorial district, Sen. Emmanuel Orkev Jev of Benue North-West Senatorial district and Sen. Patrick Abba Morro of Benue South Senatorial district and all the House of representative Members for ensuring that the parliament achieves her set out objectives and facilitating the same, we remain grateful for having you be part of our success story.
  4. Our heartfelt gratitude to the Honorable Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Titus Uba for accommodating the Parliament and her programmes, your advice, support and leadership has placed the Youth Parliament at an enviable height. The enormous support received from the entire staff of the house has been phenomenal especially the clerk of the Benue State House of Assembly, Barr. Bernard Nule and the clerk of the parliament, Mrs. Margaret M. Igbiantar who ensured best practice in all our proceedings thereby giving valuable contributions to the formation of future legislators as I chose to believe.
  5. To the Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Youths and Sports, Hon. Barr. Teryima Nguher, the Permanent Secretary, Directors and staff, we say a big thank you for your commitment in ensuring the programmes of the Parliament were given priority consideration. We cannot thank you enough.
  6. As we all may recall, on the 25th of February 2021, The Executive Governor of Benue State inaugurated the 2nd Assembly of the Youth Parliament, after which I was elected your Speaker. In my acceptance remark, I promised to lead an all inclusive house, develop pioneer initiatives and raise the bar and banner of the Benue State Youth Parliament for all and sundry to see and feel. These have been the guiding principle and rules of engagement for myself, principal officers and the members of the parliament.
  7. As I took over the helms of affairs, there were myriads of things seeking our immediate attention, but we understood the need for structure and administration, thus, through the support of the management of the Benue State House of Assembly, we were able to secure an office apartment in the assembly complex that have served as our secretariat. The importance of this office space cannot be overemphasized. In collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, we incorporated the youth parliament and activated a bank account with United Bank for Africa (UBA).
  8. On the 8th of July 2021, through sustained advocacy, the Ministry of Youth and Sports in collaboration with Benue State House of Assembly organized a one day capacity building workshop for the 30 members of the Youth Parliament, where seasoned staff of the assembly took Parliamentarians through various aspects of legislative procedures. Worthy of note is that, the workshop had in attendance the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, his deputy, Honourable members, Chairman and members of the House committee on Youth and Sports, Commissioner for youth and sports development and ministry staff to provide hands on feedback to the learning parliamentarians. The outcome of this training would be later felt at the Parliament’s first plenary sessions, where members conducted themselves appropriately as well trained.
  9. As a parliament, the constitution provides that we hold sittings four times in the course of our 2 year tenure. In Spite of the current economic hardship and global pandemic that ravaged societies across the globe, it was a thing of immense joy for us to hold our first plenary session, that was held on the 7th and 8th of April 2022. At the plenary several motions were raised, deliberated upon and resolutions were adopted; prominent amongst them are as follows;

    The need for placement of youth parliamentarians as interns in the office of elected members of the State House of Assembly with respect to each constituency.

    A vote of confidence passed on the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr Samuel Ortom,

    A motion seeking for the setting up a strong security outpost between the boundary of Obirikwu in Obi LGA and Asa 3 in Otukpo LGA of Benue State.

    The need to sensitize the youth of Kwande-East on the negativity of pre and post-election violence.

    A motion seeking for a lasting solution and security intervention on the communal crisis between Mbaviur and Mbasombo of Gwer-East LGA.
  10. As a parliament, the need for exposure and continuous learning is the driving force; this made us write to the National Assembly to allow us witness a plenary session of both the upper and lower chambers. We got the approval and made the trip to the National Assembly on the 23rd of March 2022. This provided us the opportunity to witness plenary sessions and after which we met the Benue caucus at the National Assembly. The senior legislators gave fatherly advice and encouraged us as young parliamentarians to make judicious use of the opportunity we have got as this could be stepping stones to greater ones.
  11. We also made advocacy visits to the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, this visit gave us the opportunity to interface with the Governor and lay some of our challenges as well as the aspirations of the Benue Youth. It was a positive engagement and the outcome began to roll almost immediately. This advocacy facilitated the donation of ALHAMBRA SEAT space bus to the parliament for mobility and the same gestures were given to other youth and students groups by the Governor.
  12. During the maiden edition of the National Youth Conference held in Abuja from 1st – 3rd of October 2021, I had the honor to lead the delegation from Benue State which was composed of members of the parliament and other youth organizations in the state. It was indeed a time of learning and networking. This conference was attended by high ranking government officials and was declared open by the Vice President of Nigeria, His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN, with his iconic “we move” speech.
  13. Though as a house we started the journey in faith and good health, we regrettably lost two of our members; Hon Agudo Manasseh representing Buruku State constituency and Hon Ejeh Abutu John, representing Okpokwu State constituency, in 2021 and 2022 respectively. While it would have been a joyous moment for us all to be here today, we shall continue to pray for the repose of their souls and eternal peace, Amen.
  14. As Speaker, my office has had to roll out initiatives on a consistent basis, as it is obvious, I am the first female speaker of the Benue State Youth Parliament, expectations were really high and like we say these days “I don’t have to disgrace my gender”.

    Consistently for all International Women’s Day, my office has collaborated with CSOs to have public enlightenment seminars using the year’s theme as guide to the engagement. This has been widely attended by many with speakers within and outside the state.

    On October 11th 2022, being the day of International Girl Child, I had the opportunity of hosting Mrs Ngunan Addingi, a two time member of the state house of assembly and former commissioner of information; speak to young girls of W.M. Bristow secondary school, Gboko, on leadership.

    We also ran a school support project, in Guma, Kwande, Tarka and Agatu LGAs, where we supported students with writing materials and school shoes. Beneficiaries of this intervention include; RCM primary school Nanev, Kwande LGA, LGEA primary school, Dezuan, Tarka LGA, LGEA central primary school, Gbajimba, Guma LGA, and RCM primary school, Oweto, Agatu LGA. The selection was done to have at least representation from the three (3) senatorial zones in the state.

    I also represented Nigeria at the International Youth Conference held in Dubai, UAE between 26th-30th May 2022.

    My office collaborated with the KEEP BENUE CLEAN team, to host a mega clean-up and sanitation exercise on 25th September 2022. This was widely attended by youth and student group leaders and members. Where the perennial waste dropping point at the high-level market area got a facelift.

    At the conference of Youth Speakers in Nigeria, I was also elected the vice- chairperson.

    From my activities as Speaker of the Benue State Youth Parliament, I have been privilege to be recognized by notable organizations and associations, with few awards to my shelf, some of which includes; Youth Advocate of the year 2022, Most outstanding Parliamentary Speaker of the year 2022, Influential Female Youth Icon 2022, and Most Outspoken Benue Youth 2022.
  15. As I reflect on some of the things we have been able to achieve within the period, I am grateful for the opportunity given us at this time in history to contribute our quota to the development of our dear state and her people. As we take our final bow, I vacate this seat with a sense of fulfillment, knowing that my time as Speaker is a promise well kept. We are leaving behind a solid legacy of inclusion, plethora of initiatives and a well known and respected Benue State Youth Parliament.
  16. This is evident in the number of interested persons that have picked nomination forms for the 3rd assembly, a far cry from what was obtainable during our time. For us departing parliamentarians, I hope you can look back and say you maximize the opportunity given and the experience gained will be useful in future endeavors.
  17. To the incoming Youth Parliament, a united house with everyone contributing would do a lot of wonders. You must rely on each other’s unique talent, skill and expertise to build a formidable house and team; with this the sky would only be your starting point.
  18. As I draw the curtains on this speech, it’s only the right thing to sincerely appreciate the members of the 2nd assembly of the parliament, whose support I got to be where I sit today. In the course of our time, we may have had instances where issues were blown out of proportion and offenses were made. I want to tender my unreserved apology and hope that we forgive ourselves, because indeed fate brought us together for a purpose. I will miss us all and can’t wait to see what the other side has in store for us. To everyone that has contributed in one way or the other to the success we have shared in our time as a parliament, that your name isn’t mentioned here, I owe you a debt of gratitude. There is time for everything and Today is our time to leave.

Thank You for listening.

Long Live! The Benue State Youth Parliament.

Long Live! The Benue State Government.

Long Live! The Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Hon. Rachel Wuese Tyona
Speaker, Benue State Youth Parliament.

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