By Odeh Ageh
The preparation for the senatorial re-run election for Zone C of Benue State that has Sen. David Mark and Mr. Daniel Onjeh as contenders is reaching a feverish pitch.
many commentators have gone to town with the tale of how highly experienced Mark is in legislative matters. In fact, some fell short of calling him Mr. National Assembly or Mr. Know-all of law making.
Other commentators, when making a passing remark about Onjeh, call him a greenhorn, a journey-just-come man and somebody who is aiming for something that is way beyond his reach.
While the import of this piece is not to gain-say the near appropriation of the National Assembly as it concerns Zone C by Mark, I will suggest to the promoters of his candidacy not to gloat over the many near-wins of the distinguished senator.
Before we delve into the undistinguished performances of Sen. Mark, it will be nice we take a peep into his background and how that has come to play in his quest for the office and his activities in the National Assembly.
Brigadier-general David Mark (rtd) held several positions that were all political as a serving military officer; some of them included minister of the Federal Republic, military administrator and chairman of abandoned projects committee, amongst others.
It should be noted here that appointment into political offices, unlike promotions, not based on military prowess but on level of involvement of an individual in a coup that brings about regime change.
That has been the lot of Mark, coup plotting. His numerous military political postings could only be attributed to his dexterity in planning and execution of coups.
As a master coupist, he is imbued with attributes of arm-twisters, manipulator per excellence, master strategist, a guru in whipping of sentiments to gain support, a master game blamer and one that has the ability of playing on the intelligence of the people.
These attributes Mark has brought to bear in his dealings with the people of Zone C in his service as their representative in the National Assembly.
It is on record that he planned and executed a coup, a rebellion against the majority party in the Senate which shot up Sen. Bukola Saraki to its leadership position. Otherwise where on earth has it been reported that a minority party in cohort with disgruntled elements in a majority party produced leadership position of a parliament if not the type induced by Mark, a master of the art of coup making.
This apart, what of his near-wins in terms of project initiation or proposal and execution? Sen. Mark is a man with the highest number of uncompleted projects in his sojourn in the senate for the past 16 years. This indeed is worthy of an award of one who achieve so much from the rear.
Part of those projects he went to town canvassing for votes with were Otobi multipurpose dam, army barracks to be located between Otukpo and Taraku to curb the incessant land skirmishes there, Oweto road and bridge across river Benue, university of health sciences or was it college of health science he called it, dualization of Aliade-Otukpo road, the famous Apa state which could not even be mentioned amongst the first three proposed and his famed scholarship programme.
We will not also lose sight of the youth centre of Sen. Mark, and the Open University Study Centre. What about the constituency projects which he appropriated to be own projects. The list is endless.
So, if after 16 years Mark is yet to deliver on all these projects, what is the likelihood that he can ever deliver on any especially now that he is a mere chairman of the observation committee in the senate? Will the federal executive arm be comfortable working with a man who championed rebellion in the legislative arm? I think the proper thing for him to do, in demonstration of his so-called love for Idoma people, is for him to rather support the young man instead of making Zone C minority in the Senate which will earn them further deprivation of what makes life meaningful in terms of dividends of democracy which he could not attract to them over the years.
The question to ask at this juncture is, what other plan does Mark have that he is hanging to the seat so desperately? Is it his plan to further incite the senate against the executive arm?
Again, having preached against engaging in minority politics over time, does he think he can now be a majority if elected? Does he want Idoma to be minority even at the national level? Does he want it on record that he led Idoma into minority politics, an experience they never had before?
To the discerning minds, that is not the right way to treat a people who had endured him for this number of years.
Ageh, Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Benue State, wrote from Makurdi