Former President of the Senate, David Mark on Monday made a very strong case on behalf of the people of Agatu. Senator Mark was speaking when his ‘Thank You Tour’ of nine Benue South Local Government Areas (LGAs) stopped in Ado LGA.
Senator Mark expressed dismay at the level of devastation in Agatu as a result of Fulani herdsmen attacks. According to him, “I will sacrifice all that I have for the Idoma nation and I will do it because you have also sacrificed a lot for me. You have asked me and given me a huge responsibility. I will not downplay it because it is huge and good. As we talk now, we have a problem confronting us, the Agatu issue. My desire and my wish is to amicably resolve the crisis in Agatu so that the people can return to their places and homes.
“We will solve it through dialogue, we will solve it through prayers but no body should take us for granted. Our first option is dialogue and we will employ that to make sure that we solve the crisis in Agatu. I believe that the government should act swiftly and quickly so that the problem confronting Agatu will be resolved as quickly as possible.’
He commended the people of Ado noting that “Ado is a difficult place for me to speak. I never thought nor envisaged that I would win election in Ado because all the canvassers and mobilizers within Ado had before the election decamped from our party. But I was assured by some gallant youths and women that they are solidly behind me and this they demonstrated by coming out en-masse to vote for me during the last re-run.”
He further stated that if there’s any victory he adores and appreciates so much, it’s the one of Ado because it was hardly fought and contested.
“Prior to the election, I said I’d give the people of Ward 1 in Ado a transformer but I won’t give now in order not to be seen that it’s because I needed votes that I’m donating the transformer. But in fulfillment of my promise, the transformer will be delivered within the week.
“At a point I was contemplating whether or not to contest the election, but your insistence, resilience and resolve to vote for me overwhelmingly made me to change my mind”, he said.
Speaking at Ogbadibo LGA, the former Senate President for the first time took a swipe at some defectors from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue State, saying they were driven by pettiness and lack of principles.
Mark said that the party invested so much in them while he, as a leader, equally did everything possible to support some of them to rise to political stardom but they chose to abandon the party without any justification.
It would be recalled that the PDP in the Benue South Senatorial district was greeted by a gale of defections before the February 20, 2016 elections rerun, which David Mark also won.
Since then, Senator Mark had preferred not to speak on the matter, even though some analysts believed he was deeply pained due to the closeness of some of the defectors to him. He helped some of them to become Ministers under the PDP.
But his latest thank you visit to the nine LGAs in his senatorial district apparently provided a good opportunity to revisit some political issues and he didn’t shy away from carpeting the action of the defectors.
Specifically, Mark berated a former Minister of State for Education, Jerry Agada, while addressing party faithfuls at Ogbadigbo local government, saying he should have acted based on “principle and not pettiness.”
Agada is from Ogbadigbo and a once closed political follower of Mark until he defected to All Progressives Congress (APC). Mark was instrumental to his Ministerial appointment.
Meanwhile, Mark has tasked members of the PDP across Benue South to work for the rebuilding of the party, assuring them that the party remains the only platform that can protect their interest.
The PDP LG chairman in Ogbadigbo, Williams Atuka, assured Mark that the fortune of the party has not been diminished by the exit of defectors.
He said “The so-called decamping of the former PDP stakeholders and their supporters did not make any significant difference so we should concentrate all our efforts and resources on our new members and would-be members for stability and dominion in governance.
“Your victory has re-energised the party, restores hope that PDP is not dead but alive and has the capacity to overrun the forthcoming local government election in Benue state,” he added.
Atuka however pleaded with Mark to continue to ensure that a level playing is created for “popular candidates of impeccable character to emerge irrespective of their family background, social-status or class.”
(Additional reports by Ariyo Dare-Atoye, Otukpo)
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