Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Re: 16 Years in Office: What has David Mark done for the people? By Yemi Itodo


It could be recalled that I released the first batch of the list of those whose appointments Senator David Mark influenced while serving as the Senator representing Benue South Senatorial district.
The article which was published 6 days ago with the above caption contained names of 85 senior citizens of Benue South who were placed in different positions of responsibilities at the Federal Government level by the distinguished Senator in the past 16 years.
What prompted the independent research work and the subsequent publication of the list was the unending question of ‘what has David Mark done for the people in 16 years in office’?

As I earlier promised, I have already taken the pains of embarking on the onerous task of collating more names of appointments and as I speak, I have up to a hundred names of those who served as Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants, Special Assistants and Personal Assistants to Senate Presidents, Deputy Senate Presidents, Speakers of House of Reps, deputy Speakers of House of Reps, Ministers, Governors, deputy Governors, Senators, House of Reps Members as well as those who were appointed as Caretaker chairmen and members of various local government councils in Benue State, courtesy of Senator Mark.

I also have with me now, the list of those whom the former Senate President had assisted to win elections  into their respective positions from the local government to the federal level.
As interesting as this may sound, over 90% of the names found on my second list are below 40 years and are now well established, married and becoming mentors to others.
All these names I shall reel out in shortest possible time, after which I shall also publish list of thousands of youths, mostly graduates who were empowered by Senator Mark via federal government employments. I shall also willingly oblige to publish with pictorial proofs, some of the constituency and personal projects the Senator attracted to his district and list of over 16,000 Students who benefitted from the David Mark Scholarship Scheme.

Meanwhile, it has become very imperative for me to respond to some issues emanating from the first publication. Ordinarily I would not have reacted to some beer parlour and frivolous criticisms being mewed by a microscopic few who chose to castigate, rather than appreciating the effort of an individual who independently embarked on a breath-saving research to provide answers to an age-long question.

As a Researcher, one expected that every average Benue indigene should have taken advantage of these wonderful bulletins to create an archive for future references. But nay, some would rather sit and analyse it over a calabash of palm wine.
To this class of people, it would amount to nothing even if Senator Mark should facilitate appointments of every human being in Benue South. This is synonymous to ignoble incubus and arrant witchery!
And for this group of persons, I have no reply.

However, for the sake of responses from 3 out of 85 names on the appointment list published earlier, there is need to clear some air.
First, the immediate past Chief Medical Director of Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi and an APC chieftain, Dr. Mathias Oyigeya allegedly came out to repudiate Senator Mark’s responsibility of his appointment.
Like every other concerned citizen of Benue State who has called on phone and made comments on the trend, I would be disappointed if the statement credited to Dr. Oyigeya as published in IPN News is duly confirmed to have emanated from him.
I make bold to say that Dr. Mathias Oyigeya himself is my source in this research, because I have listened to him more than 3 different times and he was also accentuating it heavily during his governorship campaign tour last year, where he was quoted as saying, Senator Mark was his benefactor and that “if other Idoma leaders in various offices had complemented the efforts of Senator Mark in the area of human development, the Idoma land would have been better for it”.

I have also been reliably informed by a close source who was with Dr. Oyigeya on that fateful day, when he came to Senator Mark’s house, cap-in-hand, complaining intensely on how he was about to be short-changed by some Tiv elites (for the second time) and the Senator asked him to go home and wait for announcement.
Like I always say, Dr. Oyigeya is a man everyone respects for hisgood humanitarian postures and I doubt if he would condecent to the level of contradicting himself in such an obvious case that is known to all.
Another Senior Citizen of Idoma extraction who reacted to the list published is Prof. Yakubu Ochefu,  former DVC of Benue State University, Makurdi who was one of the four Idoma representatives at the 2014 National Conference.
After reading the response credited to the Professor on IPN News, I took another step to dig out more facts on his membership of the Conference and additional information gathered from the office of the former Senate President reveals that he was never nominated from his group as claimed.

A Senior Member of Goodluck Jonathan's administration confirmed to me that he personally submitted the list to the then Senate President alongside the name of Prof. Ambrose Okwoli, another eminent Idoma Scholar who was also delegated to the conference.
The source further submitted that Professor Ochefu was not nominated by National Historical Council.  He also said the then Senate President, during the constitution of membership of the conference, had an opportunity to nominate a historian and the Senior Member of Goodluck Jonathan’s cabinet suggested Prof. Ochefu to him. The Professor’s contact was gotten through a family source.

My source also queried that Prof. Ochefu should have tendered to IPN News, the letter nominating him from his organization, (If he was actually nominated by NHC), to substantiate his claims.
In my summary of findings, our dear Professor Ochefu, an ex-officio, could not have been nominated to represent an organization in a National Conference where each participant got N12m. As at time of the Conference, Prof. Ochefu was neither a President, Vice President nor Secretary of the National Historical Council.
Mr. Ajuh Ameh whose name appeared on number 75 on the list published as Member, Sokoto-Rima River Basin Development Authority has also alegedly come out to state in clear terms that he was never inaugurated into the board.
However, my post-research survey shows that Mr. Ajuh Ameh was actually not inaugurated into the board. Though he was nominated but he declined after he was consulted and another list was sent from the office of Senate President to replace him.
My further investigation reveals that the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation had not updated their records to that effect, as at when my team of Researchers arrived the office.

The problem with some of our youths is that they are too lazy and docile to take steps in finding answers to questions. With the involution of the relevant sections of the FoI Act, one could obtain such information from any MDA and with just a drive round the 9 LGAs in Benue-South, one could be well armed with enough information to provide answers to the questions of constituency projects.
Before now, the chorus has been 'what has David Mark done for the people in 16 years'; but now that the truth has started trolling in and their lies are suffering defeats in the public space, they have suddenly developed a face saving tactics of 'you should not have published the list'.

The question is, what is secret or Sacred about the list? Would I have taken the pains to embark on research if there was no need for such? Would I have bothered to publish the list if anyone among the beneficiaries had come out before now to tell the people what Senator Mark did for them?
It is high time we learnt to appreciate our benefactors so as to spur them to do more and encourage others to help the young ones too.

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