The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom and former Senate President, David Mark have condoled with the families of the victims who died in a road accident in Benue State.
Eight supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) were confirmed dead in an auto crash on Friday at Ugbokpo, Apa Local Government Area of the state.
The victims were travelling to Agatu for the flag-off of the PDP Zone C Senatorial campaigns when the incident occurred involving three vehicles.
Some of the victims who were certified dead at St. Charles Catholic Hospital Adoka have been deposited at the morgue of General Hospital in Otukpo, while the survivors were still been treated in Adoka at the time of this report.
Governor Samuel Ortom, who visited the hospital in Adoka in company of former Senate President, Senator David Mark and the Deputy Governor, Engineer Benson Abounu, announced indefinite postponement of the PDP senatorial campaigns flag-off in Zone C.
The Governor described the incident as painful and unfortunate, saying it is a huge loss to the entire PDP family in the state.
He also directed the immediate evacuation of the survivors to Benue State University Teaching Hospital Makurdi for further treatment, stressing that cases that required further referrals outside the state would be handled accordingly.
Governor Ortom while describing the development as unfortunate, condoled the bereaved families and PDP on the loss of their loved ones.
Former Senate President, Senator David Mark who also consoled the affected families, lamented that most of the victims were very promising youths within his senatorial district and prayed God to grant the deceased eternal rest.
On his part, the member representing Obi/Oju Federal Constituency, Rt. Hon Samson Okwu, described the incident as painful, saying he met with some of the victims yesterday but never knew they were meeting for the last time.
Former Senate President and Presidential Aspirant, David Mark, has said that he knows other aspirants will step down and vote for him.
David Mark who is running for Presidency under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stated this on Friday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He said, “I know other aspirants would step down and vote for me. I’m the aspirant to beat”.
He called on residents to vote for him as the candidate of choice that would usher in peace, unity and prosperity to the nation.
“I’m well equipped and prepared for this assignment. My blueprint is designed to address grey areas and imbalances in our national life”.
He refuted insinuations in some quarters and submitted that “my credentials and wealth of experience puts me in a very good stead to win.
“Our program would give every citizen a sense of belonging. No one should be oppressed or marginalized in our country”.
According to him, if elected gainful employment through industrialization and agriculture, functional education, improved healthcare system among others would be given priority.
Senator Mark added that he has traversed the length and breadth of Nigeria and has come to the inevitable conclusion that “all we need is good governance anchored on equity and justice for all”.
“We know those who are good Party men and women. We know those who absconded when we had challenges. We have rebuilt and rebranded the party. They are welcome back but it will be unjustified for them to inherit the product of our struggle”.
He asked party faithful to be guided by good reasons in their choice of the PDP presidential candidate pointing out that “those who were fair weather friends yesterday would not be different tomorrow”.
Former Senate President, David Mark, says the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is not afraid of division after its presidential primary because the party is confident of its leadership structure.
He said this on Friday, when he visited Niger State.
According to him, the idea that the PDP will break up after the primary is a mare presumption championed by people who are against the party.
The ex-Senate President said the 13 presidential aspirants of the party have agreed to support whoever emerges as the presidential flag bearer.
Meanwhile, he also responded to allegations by the Rivers State Governor, Nyeson Wike, that there were plans to move the venue of the national convention out of the state (Rivers).
He said the party was handling the matter.
Speaking further, he urged the media to uphold truth and objectivity in their reportage of political activities in the country.
The Senator who also picked the presidential nomination form of the PDP on September 4, joined other aspirants like Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki, former governor of Kano State, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, among others, in the presidential race.
When asked why he joined the race late, he said the best is usually reserved for the last.
He also said he was confident that he would get the party’s ticket when it holds its primary.
The Senator was in Niger State in the company of Senators Tunde Ogbeha, Paulinus Igwe and Zainab Kure who is his campaign Director-General.
Reacting to the development in a statement by his media assistant Paul Mumeh, he said such an attempt was at best an exercise in futility.
“It is unconstitutional and devoid of any known legislative practices and procedures,” the former Senate President said. “I will advise members of the Benue State House of Assembly to be guided by the Constitution and legislative rules and procedures. They should not engage in any act that could undermine the established tenet of democracy.”
He added, “The action of some members of Benue state House of Assembly violates section 188(2) of the 1999 constitution (as amended) which requires that a notice of impeachment has to be supported by at least one-third of the members of the House to be valid. This is obviously not the case here.”
Mark said that considering the present situation, including the security challenge, he expected the lawmakers to join efforts with the executive arm of government to provide the needed dividend of democracy to the people of Benue.
He asked them to remember that the interest and welfare of the people of Benue State remain paramount and that anything less would be a disservice to the people they swore to serve.
The former Senate President advised Governor Ortom not to be distracted by the development but remain focus and steadfast in the discharge of his duties.
He also called on the people of Benue to remain calm and law-abiding and urged the security operatives to maintain law and order objectively.
Senate President Bukola Saraki congratulated a former President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, on his 70th birthday.
In a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, on Sunday in Abuja, Dr Saraki described Senator Mark as a patriot and a statesman.
He said the celebrant has distinguished himself as a Nigerian with a vast leadership experience, having served as a two-time Senate President, a Brigadier General of the Nigerian Army, a Minister of Communication, and a military Governor of Niger State.
“Undoubtedly, as our nation’s longest serving Senator and Senate President, Senator Mark has contributed significantly to the growth of the legislature in Nigeria and distinguished himself overtime in the service of our nation — in various capacities and at various levels as a patriot and a statesman,” the Senate President said.
He further prayed that the Almighty God, in his infinite wisdom, grace, and protection, continues to guide the former Senate President in his endeavours.
Former Senate President, David Mark, has denied receiving about N2billion from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) through a National Assembly account for distribution to senators in the build-up to the 2015 elections.
Senator Mark said this in a statement issued on Sunday by the media assistant, Paul Mumeh while reacting to his visit to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week.
The anti-graft agency had summoned the former lawmaker in a letter addressed to the National Assembly to answer questions on the 2015 presidential election campaign funds as it concerned Benue State.
Mumeh, however, said Mark only honoured the invitation as a law-abiding citizen to deny the allegation.
According to him, the statement is “the first and only official statement from the office of Mark on this issue.”
Mumeh insisted that the senator never received or distributed any money as claimed, adding that he had proven his innocence on the allegation before he left the EFCC office.
The statement read in part: “Curiously, they also alleged that the PDP paid over N2bn into the National Assembly’s account which he, as then President of the Senate, allegedly shared among the 109 senators, including PDP, Action Congress of Nigeria, and All Nigerians Peoples Party (members) in 2010.
“Again, to the best of his knowledge, Senator Mark is not aware of such transaction. This simply did not make sense to any right-thinking member of the society.
“Senator Mark wondered why anybody would think that PDP will pay money into National Assembly account. He, however, clarified all the issues raised before returning home.
“Senator Mark believes in due process and the rule of law. He has maintained a clean record of public service over the years and will continue to uphold the highest standard of conduct expected of public servants.”
As part of efforts to address the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s former President, Goodluck Jonathan, has announced the composition of a special Reconciliation Committee.
The committee would be made up of former Vice President, Namadi Sambo, former Senate President, David Mark and other eminent members of the party.
The former president made the announcement in Abuja, after a stakeholders meeting. He appealed to members of the party to bury their differences in order to end the crisis bedeviling it.
He stated in his address that although the party has experienced some difficulty in the last two years, the situation was not strange especially in a democratic setting.
“There is no doubt that our party has in the last two years, gone through some difficulties. However, in a democracy, this is not strange in the life of a political party, especially after losing power to the opposition party as we did.
“I should note that the situation is similar, albeit milder, even in advanced democracies. We should not forget that the labour party in the United Kingdom, the Democratic Party in the United States both of which lost power at different times, have also been making efforts to reunite, reconcile and and re-energise to become stronger before the next general elections.
“I will like to point out that every election cycle throws up challenges as well as opportunities for a political party,” Mr Jonathan stated.
Other members of the committee include all PDP governors or their deputies, two former governors to represent the north and the south, Deputy Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, two former ministers and two representatives from the youth wing of the party.