With an astonishing record, as three times President of the Senate, retired army General and politician of great repute, David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark, from Benue state of Nigeria, stands out as personality of great appeal to a cross section of Nigerians in the search for credible candidate who can wrestle power from incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari,in 2019.
BY VICTOR UGBORGU
David Bonaventure Mark, former president of the senate surely must be in a dilemma about his next political move in Nigeria now.Run, David, Run,is a slogan among many who want him to step out in 2019. In the past few months indeed, many prominent politicians, retired army officers and groups from different quarters have been urging Mark to throw his hat in the ring as a substitute to President Muhammadu Buhari. The heat is on Mark to run for Presidency.
Last year Olusegun Obasanjo, former president said he would have preferred Mark to mount the saddle in 2019 as president because he believes he could stabilize the country if Nigerians entrust the mandate on him. Obasanjo described Mark as one of the intelligent politicians that Nigerians need to tap from to boost their experiences.
Obasanjo said he was no longer a politician but could support any formidable and eligible candidate that has the requisite experience that would address the numerous challenges confronting the country. He described the Buhari-led administration as full of failures and needless blame game. He warned Nigerians not to reinforce failure as the country prepares for 2019 elections.
Obasanjo’s support for Mark seems to have stimulated Nigerians about the new political permutation and scheming going on in the scenery by powerful politicians in the country.
Recently too, there was call to service from Kogi Youths on the need for Mark to contest the 2019 presidential election. They believe that he is capable of putting the wrongs in their right places. “How can we continue to blame some people and refused to choose those whom we know have the capacities to put Nigeria back to its original form.
Kogites are calling on you for a rescue mission to liberate the masses from the mess of APC led administration. The wisdom that God have given you is needed in Nigeria. Kogi youth group calls on you to move Nigeria to the promise land. The change we clamour for is here.
David Mark, Nigeria youths need your service, come and rescue us before it is too late. Without mincing word the youths need a solution provider and not a problem analyst. With Senator David Mark, Nigeria will return to its past glory”, they appealed to Mark.
Abdullahi Ali Kano, national coordinator of PDP youth group said the group would organize a rally across the country to mobilize support for Mark’s presidency. “Mark has never, since the inception of the PDP, left the party. For 19 years, he has remained faithful and loyal to the party. He has shown that he is not a fair-weather politician”.
He said the rally which would be replicated in all the 36 states of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory FCT, and for the overall interest of the country, especially the PDP members.
“David Mark is a disciplined military officer, an astute politician who is tested and trusted. He presided over the National Assembly for eight years without blemish or blame. Nigerians will always remember him for saving our country from constitution crisis during Umaru Musa Yar’adua’s administration when he came up with the Doctrine of Necessity”, Ali Kano said.
Not quite long ago, Mark celebrated his 70th birthday where Nigerians from all walks eulogized the former senate president and expressed hope that he would take up the challenge to rescue the country from the shackles of incompetent administrators. Theophilus Yakubu
Danjuma, a retired general and former Minister of Defence during the event described Mark as one of his most dependable subordinates in the military. Danjuma who was chairman at a dinner in his honour in Abuja said he was not surprised that Mark is doing well in politics.
Hear him: “David was one of my dependable subordinates in the army. I am not surprised that he is doing so well in politics, becoming the longest serving senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. David doesn’t look 70 at all to me. By the grace of God he will continue to serve his country in good health”.
Ahmed Lawan, the Senate leader in a remark said Mark was exceptionally skilful as senate president and carried everybody along. Describing him as his mentor, “I learnt a lot from him for which I will always remain grateful to him”, he said.
Uche Secondus, National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who led members of the party’s National Executive Committee said Mark remained one of the best in the fold of the PDP. He noted that “We need the voice of David Mark in this country so that when he speaks and we listen our nation can begin to change for better”.
The persistent calls for Mark are hinged on the belief that President Buhari has failed the nation. Many people are of the opinion that the Buhari-led administration is the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria. Junaid Mohammed, a second republic lawmaker and a foremost commentator on northern Nigerian affairs described President Buhari as a ‘monumental failure’ as president, saying that he deceived the north using the toga of Islam while pretending to have their interest at heart.
He called on the north to replace him if he decided to run for re-election in 2019. He, however, warned that crisis may erupt which could hasten the break-up of the country if Buhari decides to run for re-election in 2019. “If Buhari decides to contest in 2019, he will be defeated, except if he rigs the election and there will be violence which may lead to the break-up of Nigeria,” he said.
Buba Galadima, a former member of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), said if the north wanted to retain power, there was need to replace Buhari in 2019. “Although I have not heard of plans to replace him and field another northerner in 2019, I will not be surprised if this happens,” he said.
According to him, the Buhari-led government was the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria and the most nepotistic that has ever been since independence. Galadima said it would be a shame for Buhari to run for second term when he has not offered solution to the myriads of problems facing the country.
He also warned that he might be stoned if he contests in the 2019 presidential election. “So, the north is justified culturally, politically and morally to replace Buhari in 2019 if it chooses to do so. Buhari would be abandoned by the people in 2019”, he added.
Mike Iheanetu, PDP member representing Aboh Mbaise state constituency, Imo state House of Assembly said anybody that wins the PDP presidential ticket would defeat President Buhari at the polls.
“Anybody is better than Buhari; a man who cannot differentiate between sincerity and reality. How can you be a president of a nation where somebody would score two points in an entrance examination and gets admission while the other person from another zone scores 130 points and he’s denied admission? He has localized the Nigerian state. How can a president of a country put all his relations in various positions at the expense of other sections of the country? Is Nigerian constitution useless?”
Iheanetu wondered why a president would claim to be fighting corruption with corrupt people. “ How can you be fighting corruption and you are on top of corruption and use corrupt people to surround yourself and still claim that you are fighting corruption ?
I am ashamed that such a person is our president. He is encouraging nepotism, insecurity and incompetent in managing the economy. In short, he is clueless and still wants to come back in2019, to do what?” he queried.
Verbatim investigations showed that even though Mark may not have formally declared for the 2019 presidential race, he is believed to have tactically deployed his political machinery aimed at building the momentum to enable him actualise his ambition.
For now, the former senate president is busy consulting with various stakeholders within the PDP, friends and political associates as well the nation’s political space. Additionally he is reaching out to the power brokers and top politicians in a bid to form possible re-alignment and collaborative partnership that could guarantee a smooth sail to the Nigeria’s top job in 2019.
Mark is said to be working assiduously, ahead of other presidential aspirants seeking to go for the big prize. He is said to be consulting widely within the three northern geo-political zones (North East, North West and North Central). His response and decision will culminate in a public declaration to take further his ambition if the consultations signal a positive outlook.
Sources close to former Senate President revealed that the Senator representing Benue South is under immense pressure to declare his intention to run for the presidency in the 2019 election.
According to our source who spoke on condition of anonymity, Mark has the backing of three very influential former leaders of the country and his support base cuts across six geo-political zones on account of how he led the Senate and the National Assembly.
“David Mark may declare his intention to run for the presidency if he bows to pressure from his supporters across the country. From the glaring failure of the present government, he alone can stop himself because he has the full support of three former leaders of our beloved country. Aside this, he also enjoys the backing of top politicians across the country. He made numerous friends given the manner he handled the National Assembly while he was Senate President.
“He is yet to bow to the pressure because he is still reaching out to stakeholders across the country but beginning from the North. This is because his party, the PDP has zoned its presidential ticket to the North. Mark qualifies well to run because he is from the North Central zone, more so, he has the prerequisite experience for the job. Perhaps the only factor that can stop him from declaring his intention is if he simply doesn’t want to contest. But from what we are seeing and hearing, he is under pressure. His decision on this will be known soon”, the source revealed.
Verbatim gathered that the depth of negotiations, horse-trading and consensus indicate that “Mark is gradually deepening his stronghold to the presidential throne in 2019”. Ironically, the rising profile of Senator Mark has become a source of concerns and/or threat to other aspirants including the incumbent president.
Former president, Goodluck Jonathan handed over power to Buhari on May 29, 2015. Before he was elected as president, he made a lot of promises to Nigerians. His party, the All Progressives Congress, (APC), promised to “change” the situation for Nigerians who were already tired of the PDP-led administration. They decided to try the change.