Presidential race: David Mark written off by ex-challenger Onjeh

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Former President of the Senate, David Mark
Former President of the Senate, David Mark: presidential bid dismissed by ex-challenger Onjeh

By Emmanuel Mogbede

Mr Daniel Onjeh, Board Chairman Project Development Institute (PRODA) and Benue South Senatorial aspirant on the  platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has dismissed the presidential ambition of  former President of the Senate, Sen David Mark.

Onjeh, who attempted to unseat Mark in the 2015 election, said Mark, as  a Senator  has been a failure and outrightly dismissed his bid to gun for the highest post in the land. Onjeh said Mark simply lacked the capacity to rule Nigeria.

The former President of the Senate had obtained the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) Expression of Interest and Nomination forms to contest the presidency in 2019.

Onjeh gave his view on David Mark  on Thursday in Abuja after obtaining the APC Expression of Interest and Nomination Forms to contest the Benue South Senatorial district election in 2019.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Onjeh who was a former president of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) contested against Sen. Mark in 2015. After Mark was declared winner, Onjeh challenged the result in court. However, in the rerun ordered by the court in February 2016,, Mark  emerged the victor polling 84, 192 votes. Onjeh got 71, 621 votes.

Onjeh stressed that President Muhammadu Buhari has  done exceedingly well in the key areas of our national polity.

He added that the former President of the Senate lacks the moral right to contest the presidency with Buhari in 2019.

The  aspirant said he would not be swayed by sentiment, tribe, ethnicity or religion.

He added that Buhari has proven  his capacity to resolve the cause of the country’s underdevelopment, and that the Benue South people would vote for him en masse come 2019.

Speaking about the former President the Senate, Onjeh said he was not sure that a man who couldn’t attend to the immediate security challenges of a zone in his state could handle that of the country.

“Ideally it would be appropriate to support one from your home town, particularly for the position of president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“It is an office every ethnic group or tribe would want to have his or her own occupy but unfortunately in my own view, David Mark does not deserve the support,”he said.

This, the aspirant added, was especially so because, he failed when he was given the responsibility to impact the lives of his people and Nigerians generally.

“David Mark was a monumental failure to the entire Benue South people. Like they  say,  charity begins from home. He practically made the Senate his permanent abode.

“He has been there twice as an ordinary Senator and twice as a sitting Senate President.

“At the time, he was a sitting Senator under former President Goodluck Jonathan, one would be correct to say he was a de facto  President.

“He had everything at his disposal to effect the changes we expected to see in this nation, particularly with  respect to Benue South people,”Onjeh said.

He added that if the former President of the Senate could not influence developmental change and address poverty in the country while he held sway, he would not do any better as president of the country.

According to him, while Mark was President of the Senate, people from his home state lived in abject poverty and deprivation.

He added that the length of his stay in the senate, does not commensurate with the level of development on ground in Benue South and the state generally.

He alleged that Benue South had been completely disconnected from the Federal Government and lacks democracy dividends.

Onjeh maintained that he was in the race again because the issues which warranted  his earlier aspiration in 2015 were still lingering and unresolved.

“A cursory and comparative look at the Benue South, makes it safe for one to conclude that our people are the most deprived, and our district the most underdeveloped in Nigeria, in spite of the humongous constituency funds allocated to the zone in the last 19 years.

“We’ve been existing without a voice since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999,”he said.

According to him, the people of his senatorial district lacked effective representation in the Senate.

“I aspire to effectively represent my people at the red chamber, to carry the silenced voice of the vast majority of the Benue South people to national,”he said.(NAN)

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