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Who says elections cannot be lost and won?  Who says Amiable Distinguished Senator David Mark cannot lose or win the forth coming election that was nullified on the orders of the Benue State Electoral Tribunal that has pitched Distinguished Senator David Mark against his strongest opponent Onjeh Daniel from the ruling APC Party in the political history of that constituency or even the state at large?  Yes, Distinguished Senator Mark can lose the election as much as he can win it.  This is the beauty of democracy.  There must be ‘Yea voices’ and ‘Nay Voices’ either to return the man many believe has an amiable charisma when he reigned in the Senate as the Senate President or to send him to political oblivion at least in the next 4 years.

His reign as a former Senate President was characterised by absolute normalcy with few dissenting voices despite aggressive opposition by the then opposition party APC.  He was wonderfully respected and admired by both his critics and his praise-singers mostly from the then ruling party PDP. Many of those virtues such as tolerance, and cool-headedness may now become added advantage towards clinging back the job that’s hanging on the edge.

Must he win?  Is it his right to win? Does experience still matter here?  These are questions that would be treated as we tread along this pebbled and thorny political walk-way where the echoes of ‘YEA’ and ‘NAY’ will keep surfacing.  Observing from the outer stance, Senators have great respect for the person of David Mark.  There was no glaring accusation of witch-hunting.  Many see him despite partisanship and differences in political affiliations and ideologies as a political harmonizer and the type that reaches out so easily to mend wounded hearts and heated spirits among his colleagues.  Little wonder, he had less opposition than many other Senate Presidents of the Past.

DOES EXPERIENCE COUNT HERE? Let me begin an attempt at the answer to the question by recounting a personal experience when a television station in Istanbul advertised for a vacancy calling applicants to fill the position of a Content Developer for their English programmes.  I was among the very many people that attended the interview.  First, they were looking for competence around applicant’s nationality being an English speaking country and the applicant’s ability to generate uncommon programmes and ideas with specific target at promoting social cohesion, tolerance, education and pro-environmental activities.

My specialty was not necessarily media at that point, but I have through mentorship and experience perfected myself in the arts of edutainment.  Before leaving the shores of Nigeria, I’ve ‘crafted ideas where certain virtues could be bequeathed Nigerian children and youths leveraging on entertainment’.  I came up with ideas where we can showcase our competences as a nation leveraging on comics and entertainment.  INEC, CBN and NIPC benefitted from those uncommon ideas.

So during the interview session, I spoke less.  I simply made reference to the ideas I have created back in my home country and Mr Memeth, who led the team of interviewers from all ramifications seems so pleased with that work that there and then, I was taken to another room to start negotiation around my salary and allowances.  One thing stood out here.  Despite my obvious professional deficiencies as I never majored in media, my experience availed me the job many needed so desperately.  I became one of the few black Africans in an entertainment outfit that hosted professionals both from Turkey and Canada, among other countries.  My ideas counted.  My inputs were sought.  All thanks to experiences and sound mentorship I’ve received back home.

What from all indications gave me the job was not my ability to oratorically convince the panel of interviewers, but by the uncommon action of showcasing what I’ve done in the past vis-à-vis what the interviews are looking for. Perhaps, others spoke more brilliantly than me.  Others perhaps made convincing points as well but my works and experience were handier to fetch me the job.

Senator David Mark has garnered as much experience as needed to aid the Saraki-led Senate or even President Buhari-led Executive through his mentorship, his wealth of experience and above all his charisma as a balancer.  Those that know Distinguished Senator David Mark will easily tell you that he’s not a power monger as many have been made to believe.  His supporters opine that the cancellation of the election and the rerun was deeper than what an average eye can see. They claimed the cancellation may not be unconnected with the ‘soul’ of that geo-political zone come next general elections.

‘He could have manipulated the system to return himself as a Senate President with the aid of his associates and damn the consequences if he wanted, but he chose to toe the path of honour and dignity by being an ordinary Senator. There were vacuums created amidst power tussles among all the actors and parties that may have been cashed in on if Mark was the desperate type. His simplicity and patriotism where he puts the peoples’ interest first should not be seen as cowardice’.  One of his supporters warned.

Though his critics insist that being in the Senate to represent his constituency of mostly Idoma ethnicity is not a right to be enjoyed by only David Mark.  Yes, it is not his sole right to enjoy even though he has not violated any part of the constitution in seeking for another term.  In many countries such as Turkey and USA where I have closely studied their political and military modus operandi, they seem to feel a lot more at ease revolving men and women who have garnered more experience than the wannabes. As old hand, Senator David Mark knows the political intrigues, the inner-caucus games and above all how to strike a balance to ensure smooth sail of all the arms of government without destructive collisions among the 3 arms of government.

His virtue of tolerance was much conspicuous when the Electoral Tribunal nullified the election that returned him to the Senate and ordered a new election in the concerned constituency.  Unlike many politicians of his status who look at themselves to have been so politically rooted and as such cannot be ‘disgraced’ in that manner, Senator David Mark calmly accepted the verdict of the Tribunal for a rerun without casting aspersions on the judiciary or even the APC led Central Government.  He took it in good faith.  He rarely spoke about his achievements, a situation his opponent seems to have cashed in to brand him ‘a non-performer’.  His silence was a conscious act and decision.  For those that know him, he acts more than he speaks.  He has defended himself by pointing to many pro-peoples’ scheme he either directly initiated and executed or aided in executing within his constituency and state.

Senator David Mark sees the accusations of ‘non-performance’ by his strongest opponent perhaps in the political history of his constituency as another challenge that tends to fire him towards giving more and more to his people should he be returned by the votes of his kinsmen.  He has promised to do more within his abilities if God lends him breath and his kinsmen return him to the Senate.


Light Iheoma Shedrack

{Author and Social Right Advocate}