Coordinator of Idoma People of Nigeria, Josephine Akioyame has affirmed that she owes no one any apology for calling on former Senate President, David Mark to stop warming bench in the Upper Chamber of the National Assembly.
Mark has been facing general public criticisms for maintaining closed lips in the senate after his party was ousted from power in 2015.
Irked by Mark’s loud silence, Akiyoamen took to her Facebook wall Wednesdaynight to express her worries over the former’s refusal to press the issues ofAgatu community before his colleagues.
She literally called on ‘thunder to fire’ anyone who would want to claim that the silence of Mark is golden.
Reacting to her submission, David Mark in a statement through coordinatorof his campaign organization, James Oche rubbished Mrs. Akioyamen for feeding thepublic with what her termed ‘lies.’
He claimed the respected and highly feared renowned blogger and activist has not stepped her feet on the soil of the country for months and as such has no right to speak on issues in the senatorial zone.
In another reaction, Akioyamen said Oche failed to answers the burning questions she raised in her opinion.
She vowed to continue to air her views on issues affecting the community with restrictions.
Her statement reads thus:
I have read the statement put out by Comrade James Oche on behalf of the distinguished Senator Mark pertaining to my question about his legislative activities with respect to the Agatu issue and I failed to find any answer in the entire gamut of it.
It is obvious to me that he didn't understand the full import of my question before putting pen to paper.
For the record, I never questioned Senator David Mark personal love for Agatu. I know he does. Nor did I question David Mark personal generosity to the Agatu. I know he was very generous for after all in the aftermath of the attack he showered the victims who had then become IDPs with materials to ease their pain.
It is also a credit to him that he visited Agatu at a risk of his life. He was even said to have been shot at. I thank him for his personal generosity. I’m proud of him for that. It is the same way I’m proud of the generosity of the many Idoma sons and daughters who contributed personally to the IDPs.
But the fact remains that we didn’t elect Senator David Mark because we want him to display personal generosity. We elected him to help shape policies that could be beneficial to us his constituents.
In this wise, since the attack of February 2016, the question becomes, what has the distinguished Senator David Mark done on the floor of the Senate by way of shaping the federal government policies in response to our people? This is the gravamen of my post.
Comrade James Oche has failed to answer this question in any way, shape or form. Instead, he sought to deflect from the real issue by well-worn bloviating into ad hominem and non-sequitur arguments. Where I talk policy, he replies with what David Mark has done personally for the Agatu people as if they are one and the same and as if one could make up for the other.
It is not a condition precedent that Senator David Mark must be a Senator to have done everything that was catalogued in James Oche's reply. However, he needed to be a Senator to move the senate to push the Federal government to make a more aggressive response to the plight of his constituents in Agatu. This is what I was talking about.
I was talking to him not as David Mark qua David Mark but as the SENATOR representing Benue South. To do that which is necessary and within his legislative powers to ensure that Agatu is not allowed to fall from the public burner. To take up the gauntlet and become the champion for our people in Agatu not only personally but through his legislative activities. I don’t think this is too much to ask.
It is worthy of note that his silence on this matter on the Senate floor provided the lacuna for the Senators to sweep Agatu massacre under the red rugs of the Senate. The Chairman of the Joint Senate Committees on Agriculture and National Security and Intelligence, Senator Abdullahi Adamu said so himself. He told a representative of ours during the one-day public hearing of that committee on farmers and herdsmen clashes held Tuesday the 11th of May, 2016, that Agatu was never mentioned on the floor of the senate because Senator David never brought it up on the floor of the Senate even though he had then been sworn back into the Senate on the 2nd of March 2016.
The question of whether I have visited Agatu or not is red herring, it is meant to serve one purpose that is to conflate the issue. Senator David Mark was elected because he said he could provide great representation in the Senate for Agatu and the rest of the Benue South Senatorial District. I wasn’t. As his constituent, it is my responsibility to hold him to account on this. This is exactly what I'm doing. It is my right and it is not contingent on whether I have visited Agatu or not.
On the charge that I have never taken the state government to task for its failings on Agatu, there is nothing that could be further from the truth. I have done so copiously and on various occasions.
At any event, the issue I raised in my post has nothing to do with the state government. It was purely a legislative question. That the state government is silent, is fumbling, has provided no lasting solution to the crisis, has failed to compensate, resettle or rehabilitate the victims of that gruesome attack is not enough for Senator David Mark to maintain legislative silence with respect to this issue. This is what I’m saying.
There is no Senator that could be as effective as David Mark when he chooses to be. Just saying