By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue South Senatorial District has rejected the bid by the incumbent Senate President, David Mark, to return to the upper legislative chamber in 2015.
According to the report, key stakeholders of PDP in Benue South are strongly threatening to pull the party down if Mark is adopted by the PDP minorities in the zone as a sole candidate of the party for the next year senatorial elections in the state.
The report said this has generated tension in the state, as these key stakeholders are kicking against the purported endorsement of Mark as sole candidate for the Zone ‘C’ senatorial ticket by the Interior Minister, Abba Moro, and few others.
The key stakeholders under the aegis of PDP elders from Zone C and association of former Councilors from the zone led by a former permanent secretary, Ministry of Defense, Mike Onoja; a popular grassroots politician in the state, Chief Obande Obeya; the Senate President’s arch opponent, General Lawrence Onoja, have vowed to block any possibility of Mark returning to Senate to represent the southern zone.
It would be recalled that not too long after the endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan by PDP National Executive Council (NEC), a group of PDP members from the zone led by the Interior Minister, Abba Moro; the party Chairman in the state, Emmanuel Agbo; a former Minister of state for Education, Professor Jerry Agada, sneaked into Abuja and rushed the endorsement of Senator Mark for another term.
This has therefore generated tension in the PDP camp in Benue state, particularly among the opponents of the incumbent Senate President in the zone who are vying for the same seat.
Meanwhile, it was reported last week that the party faithful who are against Mark’s continued stay in the Senate rose from a meeting of the PDP stakeholders in Otukpo last week and forwarded their position on the purported endorsement of Mark as zone’s sole contender to the PDP National Chairman, Adamu Muazu.
It was also reported that the delegation led by Obeya met a stiff resistance from the Senate President but later had their way, which led to the statement issued by the National secretariat of the party, barring state officials from endorsing aspirants.
The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Olisa Metu, had in the statement last week, said while it cannot stop individuals, groups or communities from endorsing persons of their choice, elected party official at state, local government and ward levels must not be involved in such. The statement added that such officials must continue to act as unbiased umpires in the nomination process.
“For the avoidance of doubt, only the National Executive Committee (NEC), as an organ of the party can officially endorse a candidate under the PDP constitution. All party officials at all level are expected to be guided by this,” he said.
It was said that the protests which greeted his endorsement had jolted Senator Mark, leading him to immediately express his feeling to the National Chairman, Muazu.
Informed sources at the meeting between the Senate President and Muazu, quoted Muazu asking the Senate President if he is afraid to contest knowing that he (Muazu) contested for the Senate as a sitting governor and lost.
While the other eight local Government Areas which constitute Benue South Senatorial District feel David Mark’s Otukpo Local Government Area have had its fair share, some people from Otukpo local government who craved anonymity feel his fourteen years in the Senate has only benefited his immediate family and few cronies.