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(OPINION) Goodbye David Mark

Written By Idoma Television on Friday, February 19, 2016 | 9:16:00 AM

By Dan Ekah

As the days for the re-run elections in Benue south senatorial district draws nearer, quite a lot of Idoma people have postulated that the entire fight is between the Tiv and the Idoma. Many even feel it is the handiwork of George Akume against David Mark and lots more.‘

 Why does Senator Akume have an entrenched and unconcealed hatred for Senator David Mark’ as posted in Idoma Peoples News by Comrade Elias Onogwu, a Political Science lecturer at the Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State is a sad commentary from someone who should know better. It is also a sad commentary on the level of gullibility among the Idoma elite who should be able to guide the rural populace.

His conclusion that we should all be” aware that we have a common enemy in our Tiv neighbours to contend with, and this monster we must overcome or we will be doomed forever” was a more frightening exposure of the level of ignorance as well as falsehood that had been and is currently being fed the average Idoma person!First, are we at war with the Tiv people or do quarrels or shades of difference between David Mark and George Akume constitute a war? Even then, is it when David Mark lost out at the Court of Appeal to a fellow Idoma in the person of Daniel Onjeh that this war became manifest? What had happened in the past 25 years since the Igala left for Kogi?

When David Mark was in the ruling party and even became number three in Nigeria, were the Idoma not marginalized, traumatized or even declared a stateless community? Why did we not pick up the gauntlet until when Mark’s arsenals have been depleted and he had become a spent force that one should clamour for his reinstatement? Let us enlist your interest in some instances David Mark as the so-called defender of the Idoma nation failed to provide the umbrella.

For three years and indeed immediately after President Goodluck (abi na bad luck) commissioned the Otobi water project, Otukpo town and its environ stopped benefitting from the project on account that the State Government failed to pay the contractors. For three years David did not have the temerity to confront Gabriel Suswam nor intervene and help his people. Thank God, there was light at the end of the tunnel for that same water Suswam and David Mark denied his people was restored two days after the Ortom-Abounu APC government came and negotiated with the contractors. Today we have water in Otukpo, the traditional headquarters of Idoma land!

Justice Ejembi Eko was the most senior Judge in the State Judiciary when the then State Chief Judge, Justice Terna Puusu retired. Justice Eko was made the acting Chief Judge but because there was no love lost between Eko and Mark, he encouraged Governor Akume to overpass Eko for his junior, Justice Iorhen Hwande. Puusu was enraged about this interference and facilitated Eko’s upliftment to the Appellate Court. David knew this and, as a result, has been silent since he could not claim any credit for the upliftment. The Idoma people were all enraged but no-one heard the voice of our now acclaimed defender. He went into hiding like when a dog hears gun shots!

If we have a common enemy in the Tiv, then David Mark fought for Tiv supremacy over the Idoma more than any Tiv man dead or alive. A favourite cliché of David Mark is that you never empower your adversary. But David Mark had done so more than even the Tiv. When he was Minister of Communication, he made a Tiv man, the then General Manager Ben Bottling Company a director of NITEL. Was there no Idoma or Igede person that could have earned such a blessing?

It was in David Mark’s house in Otukpo that George Akume was adopted as the PDP Governorship candidate instead of Mike Mku.

Mark it was who singlehandedly fought Lawrence Onoja and other Idoma contestants against vying for the governorship in 2003 in order to ensure a second term for George Akume.

Mark’s quarrel with Akume started in 2003 when Mark wanted Akume to substitute Ogiri Ajene, his deputy with Ada Mark Ogbole, his sister and George refused.

It was Mark’s unforgivable silence over the treachery perpetrated in the 2006 primaries that cost Mike Onoja the chance to become governor. It was a known fact that David could have used his closeness with President Obasanjo to upturn any action taken at the primaries. But he decided to pretend he was not involved because he had his neck to save over the deadlock over his primaries with Lawrence Onoja.

After Akume stood for his kith and kin in the name of Gabriel Suswam, the Idoma candidates who looked up to David Mark did not see him perform that defender of the Idoma race being accorded him now.

The Idoma people at a forum organized by the Idoma National Forum which was attended by Mark himself resolved not to have any involvement with the election of the state governor but who made Suswam win? The Idoma people of course through the encouragement of Mark who drummed it into our ears that it would be suicidal for the Idoma to go into opposition because of our minority status.

What has changed now that we should go into opposition? What are the take-homes for us? Should we cut our nose to spite our so-called enemies?

When the number one Idoma hater, Abu King Shuluwa came out in favour of David Mark recently I knew that it was not Onjeh but David Mark that was the turncoat and Tiv lackey in our midst!! Abu King Shuluwa’s only relevance in Tiv politics is his ability to denounce anything Idoma and fan the embers of distrust and enmity between the Idoma and Tiv. For him to come out in support of David Mark meant that if the Idoma jettison David and there is a positive reconciliation of the two divide, his relevance and possibly his source of survival would be eliminated. Thus keeping David who is seen as the hawk the chick owner must shoo away is a task for him and every Tiv person. The Tiv knew that the best way to keep us from progressing is to sustain this so called Tiv-Idoma divide personified by Mark versus Akume.

The Tiv would love to have us bring back David so they could reinforce their claim that we are not part of the change mantra for which we already have a minister in the person of Chief Audu Ogbe and the second powerful person in Nigeria’s military, AVM Monday Morgan. They can then say did we not tell you that the Idoma do not like this government? Where shall we lay our eggs? In David Mark who can no longer go to Buhari to seek favours or in Audu Ogbe who has the ears of Buhari? If we stand by Mark, we will perpetually remain a whining group complaining of marginalization instead of forging ahead with what should take us out of the doldrums we have found/ ourselves.

Mark could have taken us out but he let the opportunity slip from his hand because of selfishness and his blind fight to subjugate every other Idoma person and his ambition to be paramount among the Idoma.
Banners for onjeh 2

It was for these reasons he could not pursue the completion of the Oweto road project or the Otobi Dam project. The then Director of Dams in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Dr Sunday Adanu had told an economic forum organized by the Idoma National Forum in May 2013 that the gains derivable from the Otobi Dam project could so empower the entire Idoma people that no one would think of what comes or do not come in from Makurdi or the Benue State Government. That project was billed to have been completed in November 2014 when David Mark was still senate President. Because of grease, the project is still at land clearing stage and over 50 billion naira spent on what should have cost 17 billion! Is it now that Mark cannot open any doors in Abuja that he would pursue its completion? Are we so blind that we cannot fathom that since David has no committee in the senate or friends in the ruling party he can no longer be a goliath killer!

Let us also look at the College of Health Science at Akpete, Akpa. We all acknowledge Mark’s effort in drawing such a gigantic project to Idoma land but why to wait until the end of his tenure when he knows that anything can happen. The Idoma people need to rally around the new powers that be to ensure the take-off of this project by supporting Onjeh Daniel and Audu Ogbe. We must all ensure that this project does not die by not being the fly that went with the dead man into his grave. The PDP is already dead and heading for the grave.

Even then what was our take at the college? The initial team brought in to kick-start the take-off of the college had no Idoma person in it. Would Mark tell us that there are no Idoma Professors of medicine that could have been appointed as provost or Vice Chancellor as the case may be or no reasonable person from Zone C or even Benue State for the post of Registrar or Bursar? Why then should we cry over our non-inclusion at the Benue State University or the University of Agriculture, Makurdi when such a golden opportunity was left to slip by! Did David Mark not trust the league of Idoma Professors that supposedly bought his nomination form of over 5 million naira? Haba!

When states were being created during Babangida’s tenure, Mark through his closeness with Babangida could have gotten APA state on a platter of gold but he also failed for selfish reasons. Another golden opportunity came when he became the Senate President. He knew that the constitutional provisions for the creation of states were so cumbersome and it would be near impossible to achieve this purpose unless there were amendments to these provisions. Three times the constitution was amended in 2011 when Mark was the Senate President and three times he missed the golden opportunity to provide the enabling environment for the creation of APA state. This was on purpose and only David Mark knew why he failed so woefully. The last opportunity was the National Conference set up by Jonathan which David as Chairman of the National Assembly could have lobbied his colleagues into initiating some action. Here again, he allowed his personal interest: his ambition to become President, Federal Republic of Nigeria override his own people’s interests.

One painful instance our lion could not roar was on the plight of the Agatu people. For three years, the Agatu people faced near annihilation in the hands of Fulani marauders. For those three years, the national assembly under the leadership of David Mark was completely silent and left the people to their fate. His only panacea is the contribution of a few bags of rice just as he is now distributing all over zone C. David acted the ostrich and providence did the rest for him. When the floods added salt to the Agatu peoples’ wound and Suswam shortchanged them by denying them of the relief funds and materials, David as usual was silent and many an Agatu would not forget or forgive him for the trauma they went through as a result of his inaction. That indeed is the protector of the Idoma race.

Another fundamental issue that the write-up brought up was the imposition of a candidate on the Idoma people by the Tiv. Prior to the Court of Appeal verdict and prior to the March 28th, 2015 elections, this was not an issue. When did it become an issue? When does a forty-year-old become a toddler and when does an Idoma man become matured enough to contribute or reach leadership position?

Abba Moro, a self-proclaimed comrade and former Minister of Interior is so pissed that Onjeh at forty should aspire for the Senate, a position he has daily prayed that God should eliminate David Mark and provide him the opportunity to aspire. His fears are that if the younger generation now gets there his hopes and dream of becoming a senator would be permanently dashed.

Let us also look back at David Mark. He became the Governor of Niger State at the age of 36 which is four years less than forty. He became a Minister at the age of 38. He became a Senator at the age of 51. Thank God he has progressed to 68. All his life, David Mark has always been a government pickin: he has always depended on government. After primary school, he joined the Nigerian military school where we all know they are paid stipends as soldiers. He then proceeded to Nigeria Defence Academy where he was still on salary. Since then he has always been on government pay and now it is the fear of the unknown and how to survive without government pay that is his driving force.

And on the issue of baggage carrier as Abba Moro and Mr. Onogwo claimed Onjeh would be if elected. What an absurdity! It is even worse coming from those who had been and are still baggage carriers. Abba Moro came to limelight carrying bags for Senator Ame Ebute. He sustained his office as chairman Okpokwu local Government thrice by carrying George Akume’s bag as well as licking the toes of Baver Dzeremo, a fellow local government chairman like himself. Did he not hurriedly marry a Tiv girl who gave birth to the child he named Akume? Suddenly after he lost face with Akume, he came crawling to David Mark where he has remained a bag carrier. If Abba Moro could benefit from carrying Mrs. Mark’s handbag with an appointment as Minister, how would he today lambast someone else if that person so wishes to carry bags?

Those who are close to Daniel Onjeh know that one of the ‘sins’ he is known for is his individualistic tendency and his staunch disposition to forge ahead despite any obstacle. He showed such dexterity as a student leader and as a social critic. Those who have been close to Onjeh know his respect for elders is unmatched and that should not be read as a bag carrier!

The Senatorial re-run coming up is not just about Mark and Onjeh, it is about the liberation of Benue South Senatorial district from the shackles of poverty, political intimidation and opening up of a new vista of political participation in the progress of our fatherland. In fact, we will be doomed forever if we allow David mark and his cohorts such as Abba Moro to continue to lead us to anarchy and perpetual slavery. It is your choice and it is my choice too.For Advert: Call 08171607004, 09058228464 Follow us on Twitter @idomavoice, @idomanews Send us releases at idomavoice@gmail.com
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