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Sunday, 31 January 2016
What Has Idoma Not Done for David Mark ? - By Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi
The article, titled “What has David Mark Done for His People?” must have been published by overzealous hangers-on without input or clearance from erstwhile Senator representing Benue South, David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark, ostensibly to curry favour and make some quick ‘chop’ change from their boss, whom they must have rightly or wrongly surmised is caught between a rock and hard place.
The write-up, which sought to highlight David Mark’s achievements in the sixteen years he sat in the Senate, clearly fell short of the sense of importance that the former Senator exudes. Call it megalomania, the choice is yours. The David Mark they failed to project is the one you meet and go away with the impression that he gave birth to every Idoma person alive.
David Mark enjoys deluding himself about how no Idoma man has ever become anything without his input. The spin his minions are churning out, without him bothering to set the record straight, chronicle how David Attah was appointed Chief Press Secretary to late General Sani Abacha; how he made Lawrence Onoja, Ernest Attah, JIP Ubah and others as military governor from exile; how he created Apa state; how he gave birth to the Director General of Dan Onjeh’s campaign, Barrister John Ochoga and paid his school fees too; how he made even people outside Idoma land whatever or whoever they currently are; and the litany of names of every individual from Idomaland who got one appointment or the other on one board or the other position as his achievements is endless.
Matthias Oyigeya, one of the so-called beneficiaries of Mark’s benevolence alleged to have been appointed as Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, FMC Makurdi has unequivocally come out to distance himself from that compilation. Same goes for Professor Yakubu Ochefu, who was nominated to the National Confab in recognition of his individual sacrifice and contributions to nation building. These minions should go a step further to tell us what they did for Matthias Oyigeya.
The list has become the key plank of Mark’s bid to stand for election for the first time in Benue South, having become addicted to repeated manipulation of the electoral process and truncating the people’s will and mandate. This why the likes of Oyigeya and Ochefu are being branded as ungrateful for denying the veracity of the list of supposed beneficiaries of Mark’s hegemonic rule in Idomaland.
The kind of bravery that will make a man declare himself a god among a people can only be the product of when, on account of being in pursuit of the collective good, the people opt to pursue the path of peace even in the face of a pillage that is spanning about two decades or more. Now that the scales have fallen off the narrative has to change, the records have to be set straight.
As right-thinking people, when we ponder what David Mark has done for Idoma we must also look at what Idoma has not done for David Mark. For instance, to cover the collective shame of the Idoma nation, we kept quiet when his proxy, former Minister of Interior, Abba Moro brought opprobrium on us by way of his greed that killed several Nigerian job seekers after extorting hundreds of thousands of hapless unemployed youths. But the deaths from that show of shame pale in significance when viewed against the daily carnage from a killer his criminal squad made up of proud cultists and armed robbers that have killed many of us at home.
Against our better judgment, we applauded the phony scholarships that he touts around annually. What Nigerians know is that a federal lawmaker gives scholarships to his constituents but what Idoma know that he has made so much money by selling forms to prospective beneficiaries and in turn distributes about 20 percent to selected students as beneficiaries. The toll collected from applicants is further supplemented with forced contributions from local government chairmen. So he actually makes over 80 percent markup from this yearly lottery. Yet we accept without questions.
The entire roads contracts he attracted to the area were awarded to his brother and family members. After collecting full mobilization they convert same to their personal use and no one gets to talk about it. Mark is comfortable for things to remain in their current condition in that state because it is from there he gets another racket into the budget for more private performance.
We gullibly mobilized crowds for his photo ops to lend some sense of relevance and seriousness to the famed creation of Apa state. Even we discovered Idoma have been scammed by Mark’s greatest achievement of creating an Apa State we kept quiet to protect our own. We did not kick when we found out that the ruckus over Apa state was to create a legitimate conduit for him and fellow legislooters in the National Assembly to enrich themselves.
The so-called Mark D Ball, the annual basketball fiesta organized annually by his younger brother and Personal Assistant has always been sponsored by contractors and Parastatals in Abuja at the expense of oversight function that should have been a primary focus for a lawmaker. Yet, we covered our own, we kept quiet.
His annual golf tournament has always been sponsored by Otukpo Local Government, where his son-in-law had made a permanent stool for himself. Should the Idoma people dare to demand accountability from Dr Innocent Onuh, the royal son-in-law and Blessing Onuh, erstwhile social development secretary in Abuja, Olisa Metuh and his Kuje prison experience would become child’s play.
In listing his achievements, Mark forgot to mention the nylon tarred express road that passes through his house. For the non-Idoma that helps the former Senator beat drums of propaganda, a visit to Otukpo, the modern day Dubai of Nigeria would reveal definitely what Idoma has not done for David Mark. The man forgot to mention how he came back from exile without shoes yet rode on the magnanimity of the people to feather his own next for sixteen years in the Senate. In those years, he failed not just his constituents but also sabotaged Nigeria as the armsgate scandal happened under his very nose without oversight intervention. It now to our eternal shame that a man who under the guise of representing us allowed innocent people to die because he watched idly while money meant for fighting insurgency was shared.
What we will not do for him, this time around is to allow him to return to the National Assembly to chair the Senate Committee on Observation, a position he actively held before the court, in recognition of his presence there being a fraud on account of a flawed election sent him packing. What David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark should do for Idoma, this time around is to allow us to express ourselves at the ballot and that is if he continues to ignore the calls by those who love him to throw in the towel before the final disgrace.
Ogenyi is a forensic historian and PR expert based in Abuja.