By George Onmonya Daniel
Senator David Mark.
Former Senate President, David Mark, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Daniel Onjeh of the All Progressive Congress (APC) are set to clash in an epic battle as they engage in the final manouvering before Saturday 20th, 2016 election.
Senator David Mark has been quiet and low key throughout this campaign. NEWISSUES have it from authoritative sources that he consulted with elders, women and youths before deciding to run this time after the court canceled the election on 30th November, 2015 and ruled that they should be a a re-run.
For the Daniel Onjeh camp it has been excitement and lots of roaring campaign. This is because from reliable sources NEWISSUES gathered that Makurdi is behind Daniel Onjeh and has ordered all the caretaker local government chairmen to deliver their wards to Mr. Onjeh. One can see the optimism of Onjeh as he has the governor behind him and George Akume, the man who has been described as the man who owns the governor and the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Benue State.
Daniel Onjeh (red and black cap) leaning to talk to George Akume (black and white cap).
However, one thing is playing out here in Zone C, the Senator George Akume and Governor Samuel Ortom interest in controlling the politics of the Idoma dominated area is what the Idomas find quite uncomfortable. A lot of Idoma leaders are also not comfortable with the idea of imposing Daniel Onjeh, which they see as quite young for that post on them. Some of those leaders who defected did that to ask Onjeh to step down for them. One of such is Chief Mike Okibe Onoja. NEWISSUES learned that some of the elders who defected from the PDP to the APC had earlier visited Senator George Akume to ask him to tell Daniel Onjeh to step down for them. An angry George Akume, we learned chased them away, as when they were looking for a representative before the presidential election, they all refused to join the APC but remain in the PDP as they thought Goodluck Jonathan would win the election.
Daniel Onjeh’s Achilles heel is also his sponsors. There is a form circulating in which his guarantors in INEC is Senator George Akume and some other person from Ghana. Alhaji Usman Abubakar, Young Alhaji, has also thrown his support behind Senator David Mark and complained bitterly that it is a disgrace that no Idoma is good for Daniel Onjeh to serve as guarantor.
The Idomas have complained about Tiv domination over the years and are demanding for an Apa State. That a Tiv man, George Akume, and some Tiv interests are the main people sponsoring Daniel Onjeh is offensive to most Idomas. That’s the talk on the streets of Otukpo, the capital of Idoma land.
Daniel Onjeh has been vigorously campaigning and the slogan has been that Senator David Mark has been there for too long and there is a need for change. The problem is that until now he is not popular in Idoma land.
There are some people who have complained that David Mark hasn’t done enough for Idoma land but the questions on the streets of Otukpo is that what have the others who have been in government done for the Idoma people?
The likes of Abba Morro are behind David Mark and Abba Morro has done so much for the Idoma nation.
Daniel Onjeh may have the state house in Makurdi behind him, but Makurdi is not popular in Otukpo.
Daniel Onjeh’s group have been very uncomfortable that Senator David Mark has not been seen outside campaigning but only his campaign organizations. Zone C looks ready for Saturday 20th Fenruary, 2015. There has been reports of pockets of violence here and there and both sides are blaming each other of the violence. The David Mark campaign group have accused the deputy governor’s security of shooting into David Mark’s house in GRA Otukpo and of Daniel Onjeh inviting cult members into Zone C for the election.
In any case Saturday is going to be a fiercely conested one.