Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Benue South re-run: Mark, Onjeh should not tear us apart with sentiments

Coordinator of Idoma People of Nigeria, IPN, a community development group, Josephine Akioyamen has called on the people of Benue South Senatorial district not to allow sentiments overpower them in the ongoing political battle between Dan Onjeh and Senator David Mark.

Electorates in Benue Zone C are expected to return to the polls to elect their Senator within 90 days after an Appellate Court had nullified the election of Mark, citing irregularities and electoral malpractices in the last election.

The development had since torn the community into two, with many calling for outright removal of Mark while others insisted that the Okpokpowulu should still remain till 2019.

Reacting to the development in an article entitled, “Mark Vs. Onjeh: Let Throw Sentiments Out of Our Politics”, the female activist insisted that both Mark and Onjeh must present before the Idoma community their manifestos before they get their nods.

She voiced her conviction thus:
“I have looked at the four grounds upon which the election of Distinguished Senator Mark was nullified and I find them sound. You cannot declare a winner in an election contest while collations were still going on in 7 out of the 9 local governments in Zone C. INEC needed to have waited for results to trickle in from all of the local governments but it didn’t and thus prepared grounds for this debacle.

“There were documents that show exactly how INEC failed in this regard. In a hurry to declare a winner in that election, INEC also used the wrong form! Their excuse? They forgot the Senate form. The hearer of fact (The Tribunal) introduced an alien concept into our law to justify its judgment in favour of the senator, the concept of the documentary hearsay. It didn’t say the document didn’t prove the facts stated in it. It didn’t say the document was forged.

“But that the person that sought to tender the document was not the right person through which that document could be tendered. The Tribunal forgot that it had powers to do away with the normal strictures of the Evidence Act to do substantial justice between the parties. That tortuous reasoning was not bound to stand and in my view, justice was served.

“Having touched on the judgment. Let me touch on the highly emotional issue of politics. Senator David Mark and Comrade Daniel Onjeh are both our sons. We cannot favour one more than the other. What we can do is to peel out our sentiments in this forthcoming elections.

“Let both of them run on bread and butter (kitchen table) issues of the Idoma.

“David Mark after 16 and half years in the Senate must have accumulated a record which we could look at. The last time we requested for a manifesto, he scoffed at us. Scoffing won’t be good enough this time. He must let us know with clarity and a degree of certitude while he thinks he would do better now than he had ever done before. His pitch to us shouldn’t be based on sentiments.

“It shouldn’t be based on how he is the greatest defender of the Idoma from the Tiv. I don’t buy that. He gave us Akume, then Suswam, he also campaigned for Tarzoor. No one is defending no one from anyone. A senate seat is not meant for those sentimental things. It is to canvass for the real development of his people through the law making process.

“He should let us know how he intends to get the Federal Government to complete the slew of uncompleted projects dotting the landscape of Idoma land viz the Otobi Dam, the Ajobe Earth Dam, The RAMP, The Demoted University, The Otukpo-Oweto-Loco-Abuja Road etc. It shouldn’t be that he stands the chance of becoming a President should he remain in the Senate. The truth is you don’t need to be a Senator to become the President.

“Daniel Onjeh should tell us what he has in his antecedent that could give us the confidence that he is the Daniel we have been waiting for. The sentimental fact of his Youth is just not enough for us to hand over the seat to him. He should show to us what he is going to do differently.
His manifesto should be eminently better than the ramshackle one he brought last time. He should tell us how he intends to complete the projects initiated by his predecessor should he be given the mandate, For example, the Otobi Dam, the Ajobe Earth Dam, The RAMP, The Demoted University, The Otukpo-Oweto-Loco-Abuja Road etc. and what he intends to do. The government should become a continuum in Idoma land for our progress. It should not longer be a question of cult personality or who is going to take the credit for what.

“We shouldn’t allow these guys; Mark and Dan to fool us on sentiments. We shouldn’t allow anyone to be talking about the Akume factor (DM was a beneficiary of the Akume Factor. It may be that Dan is a beneficiary right now) to cover our eyes. It is not Akume that prevented anything being done for Idoma.

“It is ourselves. We are solely responsible for our rise and fall. Let take sentiments out of this thing.”


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