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Monday, July 15, 2024

Favour Afolabi: Why I Think David Mark Should Be In The Nigerian Senate

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[dropcap]I[/dropcap] really do not know why anyone would want to cajole or beg or appeal to me to support David Mark for re-election to the Senate? Such can only happen in a polity that would have large number of unappreciative people – yes, I used the word – and I’ll borrow another simile for it – UNGRATEFUL!

Mark has been one of the most consistent stabliziling factors in this Nigerian political circles for close to 10 years; and more especially in the last 8 years that he was Senate President between 2007 and 2015 – how do I even begin to list out the fulcrum roles he has played in this nation in that timeframe? Mark was the gentleman that ‘packaged’ the Doctrine of Necessity deal that made it possible for the nation at a critical time to move from ‘having no substantive President’ to a more workable in the days of late President Umar Yar’Adua being sick; with uncommon wisdom, a high degree of zeal for bipartisanship and nationhood, he led a group of congressmen and governors to help the nation find a solution to a problem caused by a lacuna in our constitution.

There were times – many times, that you couldn’t even tell if Mark was “a PDP member” or “an Independent” – too many times, that he played the fatherly role in the Senate and the nation; always mediating in the next impasse; whether within his own party; or at times when thorny issues were to be resolved in the hallowed chamber – and no better test for this than when the G5 + new PDP emerged – even though his own very seat and Office was threatened, he refused to exert too much undue powers to push the agenda of his ‘faction’ of the party that was loyal to President Jonathan, something his younger counterpart in the House, Speaker Tambuwal couldn’t do – something other raking Senators like him couldn’t do – Mark, kept the Senate at Peace unlike the war that was going on the lower chambers within the same timeframe – some in the PDP even went to accuse him – to his face and behind him, of being too kind to the emerging force from the PDP that later joined the then Opposition to form the APC.

You see, sincere democrats are always a scarce commodity in Africa – you can go and read your history books – Nigeria having Goodluck Jonathan​ and Senate President Mark as the Head of the Executive and Legislature at the same time was a miracle that might not repeat itself again for a very long time to come, especially if these current band of tyrants and lily-liver-ed folks remain in control of politics in Nigeria – Mark was not just a perfect gentleman always playing the referee role within this polity, he was doing the real job of the Senate; there were too many times that despite being close to Jonathan, he stood up, as the Leader of the Senate, along with the Senate to negate and counter positions being pushed by the Executive; he always knew how to separate friendship from business even as he also knew how to accord the Office of the President the due respect it deserved without desecrating that institution to become politically accurate or popular.

Then Mark, also shocked me further, when he refused to throw his cap in the race to continue as the Senate President in this new dispensation – those that are familiar with the events of the time would know Mark could have become the President of the Senate; he had only about 10 Senators less than what the APC had – and he could have some “mathematical politics” to secure that seat but rather than do that, he chose to play “retiring and wisdom years politics” by working on a deal that produced Saraki as President – those that have details would tell you “Mark was the very reason that deal was possible” – only someone with his charisma, calm, and unselfishness would do that – you see, this Senate, like that in the US – historically needs “Elders like Mark” to be in the Hall; at all times; the Senate needs people with institutional memory and an uncommon determination for nationhood to continue to help shape the future of this nation – and indeed, how do you even leave this senate and polity to these APC people that only care about themselves?

I don’t know who the APC is pushing against Mark in this re-election bid but the way I see it, even the judgment calling for another election is another one of those grand plans that has been hatched by this APC to systematically weed the political space of prominent, reliable and steadfast members of the PDP – their plan is to have a preponderance of PDP rookies that they can easily eject anytime they want without much resistance or fatherly wisdom available to such people to guide them away from the pit – this Senate and this Nigeria needs ‘a David Mark’ to continue to be one of the ‘reliable voices’ in this political space – and should reject plans by this ‘ruling junta’ to deny the nation of ‘this gift’ the nation has in David Mark.

Mark, is undoubtedly loved by his people; respected by his party; appreciated by fellow Senators – from his party and from the other side; and definitely adored by a lot of Nigerians; and he definitely deserves to continue to hold his seat in this Senate.

Favour Afolabi is a political commentator who runs fbablogs.com in his spare time; and owns a real estate brokerage services company. He tweeted from @favourafolabi.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.

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