For David Mark, it’s no matter who dunnit


Ortom says no hand in verdict

BARELY 24 hours after the Appeal Court nullified the election of former President of the Senate, David Mark, another line of controversy, has ensued with dust over the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom remarks on the verdict.

The governor issued a statement to explain that he had no hand in the issues that led to the decision of the Appeal Court.

A statement signed by the governor’s media adviser, Terve Akase, had explained that he never interfered with the decision of the Appeal court.

But David Mark, in a swift reaction to Ortom’s denials, tagged: “We can read between the lines”, the former Senate President described the governor’s denials as curious and suspicious.

Mark’s media assistant, Paul Mumeh, who authored the statement said: “We do not intend to join issues with anyone over the decision of the Court of Appeal in Makurdi, Benue State, that voided the election of the former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, as Senator representing Benue South.

But we found it curious that the state governor, Chief Samuel Ortom, can come up with a frantic denial of playing any role in the judicial decision as if he sat on the panel.

Mark continued: “It is even more strange that Ortom, through his media adviser, Terve Akase, said his boss neither interfered nor influenced the judgment whereas nobody had accused or mentioned the governor’s name in any blame sharing.

It is trite saying in African tradition that if an owl cried in the night and a child dies the following morning, we do not need to ask who killed the child.”‎

“Would it be wrong to conclude therefore that Ortom, through his media adviser, has personally or vicariously, taken responsibility for
the panel decision to rule against Senator Mark?

According to Mark, the governors’ swift denial was an admittance of his involvement in the matter.

“On our part, we believe in the independence of the judiciary as the last hope of the common man but the governor’s quick denial of any role in the judgment, even when he had not been accused, is a subtle narrative of the role the state government played in this bizarre decision of the Appeal panel.

In Benue South, hate him or love him, Senator Mark adorns a garment washed by God, which no man can stain.

If for whatever reason, the justices of Appeal Tribunal found merit in awarding victory to a man, who neither participated nor contested the election in the real sense of the word, we hail their ingenuity.

For us, it is more revealing that the Appeal panel did not question or disapproved the results of the election, but found comfort in conflict in dates signed by the INEC returning officer for no fault of Senator Mark as if that was more relevant than the votes that count and were counted.”‎

Insisting that his constituents would vote him overwhelmingly during the re-run polls, Mark said: “Nothing can be farther from the truth. Our people voted overwhelmingly for Senator Mark on march 28th 2015 and are prepared to do same even now. No amount of external forces or harassment can undermine the resolve of our people.

“It is no longer a surprise that people forget their yesterday with ease but we wish Ortom well.”‎

Reacting to the court’s decision on Saturday, Mark pleaded with his supporters to remain calm and refuse to be discouraged.

He believed that he won the election convincingly and was confident his constituents would turn out en masse to vote for him again.

He said, “Whatever the situation may be, one thing I know is that my people are solidly behind me. They also appreciate the fact that I have done more than enough to lift up Idoma nation to a position of eminence in the contemporary political history of Nigeria.

“I won the election clean and clear. If we go back to the polls 100 times, I will still win convincingly.”

Mark, GCON born April 1948, was President of the Senate from 2007 to 2015 and was the senator for the Benue State constituency till Saturday when his election was cancelled. He is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

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