Published On: Mon, May 13th, 2019

Saraki, Ekweremadu, Ortom Extol Mark As Icon Of Democracy

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• As He bows Out Of The Senate After 20 years

By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja

President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, his Deputy Ike Ekweremadu and Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State among others yesterday paid glowing tribute to the immediate past president of the Senate Senator David Mark for his meritorious services as he exits from the Senate after 20 years.
In their separate goodwill messages to Senator Mark at a thanksgiving mass held at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Otukpo, Benue State, they described him as an icon and patriotic leader in contemporary Nigeria.
The Senate President Senator Saraki particularly, noted that his predecessor has set a record as the longest serving Senator since 1999, the longest serving President of the Senate and referred to him as an officer and a gentleman.
He said: “Senator Mark was our own equivalent of the US Senators Robert C.
Byrd (51 years, five months, 26 days), Daniel K. Inouye (49 years, 11 months and 15 days) Strom Thurmond (47 years, five months, eight days), Ted Kennedy (46years, nine months, 19 days and Patrick J. Leahy (44years) in terms of institutional memory that he embodied”.
Saraki acknowledged that Senator Mark remains a stabilizing force in or out of the chamber, pointing out that he remains relevant even when he left the position of the primus inter pares in the Senate.
According to the Senate President, “while Senator Mark’s record in the Senate remains unbeaten, it is necessary to mention that he is a bridge builder and consummate politician. My colleagues and I, in the eight Senate, appreciates his humility, brilliance and patriotism”.
In his tribute, Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ekweremadu noted the leadership qualities of Senator Mark adding “your place of honour as a fine, perceptive, detribalized, patriotic, astute leader and a true democrat is unarguable and unshakable.
He maintained that besides leading the National Assembly to break the jinx of constitutional amendments and the successful electoral reforms, Ekweremadu acknowledged Mark’s capacity as a wise, experienced, patriotic and true statesman manifested at a very trying time in the Nation’s history when he guided the National Assembly to invoke the Doctrine of Necessity to steer the country away from palpable constitutional crisis.
Governor Samuel Ortom noted that Mark’s quality representation and indefatigable leadership in the Senate brought stability to the system and enormous value to the nation’s democracy.
“I am proud to identify with you for your selfless services to the State and the nation as well as providing mentorship to upcoming leaders”.
An elated Senator Mark expressed appreciation to his people for the opportunity to serve, promising to continue to work for peace and unity of Nigeria.
In his homily, the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, Most Reverend Kenneth Odeh described Senator Mark as an icon of inestimable value saying that his contributions to the development of Nigeria cannot be wished away.
Reverend Odeh urged Nigerian politicians to emulate Senator Mark’s selfless service to the country.

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