Mark set for record senate presidency re-election

Mark set for record senate presidency re-election

Some senators-elect
from the north central region of the country converged Friday on the
senate press centre to address journalists on their preferred choice of
senate president for the next senate session.

It turned out that
they want David Mark, the incumbent senate president representing Benue
South senatorial district, to lead the seventh senate. This declaration
of support is coming after the ceding of the post to the zone by the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

According to the
senators-elect, Mr Mark has led the national assembly successfully. “He
was able to introduce the ‘doctrine of necessity’ to resolve a near
political crisis that almost tore Nigeria (apart) last year through his
doggedness and commitment to ensuring that Nigeria moves forward,” said
one of them, Zainab Kure (PDP – Niger South).

The endorsement of
the incumbent senate president to lead the next senate by
senators-elect from his region was the climax of a series of public
endorsements and antics by the incumbent senate president to ensure his
re-election into office, which would be a record.

Mr Mark has had his
sight set on leading the next senate from way back as the last quarter
of 2010; he has carefully orchestrated his manoeuvres ever since.

His first
endorsement came late last year when he supposedly entered into an
agreement with the president for mutual support to reclaim their
respective offices. The frequency of endorsements has surged since he
secured re-election to be a member of the next senate.

Mr Mark is also
said to have won the favour of his party for the job following a recent
power-sharing deal which doled out the senate presidency to the north
central region of the country.

Open campaign

On June 6, when the
seventh session will convene for the first time to elect its leaders,
only the 109 senators-elect will be voting to decide who leads the
seventh senate. But the heated campaign for who holds the prestigious
office in the senate has gone beyond the senators-elect themselves to
the general public. Mr Mark is clearly ahead of other contenders in
popularity rating as well as a recently popularised merit-based
requirement for the next senate president. He is also the favourite
amongst his peers, the returning 39 senators to the next senate. He is
however not relenting on his campaign and acquiring endorsements from
all over.

Groups ranging from
Idoma professors from his district, to former colleagues at the senate,
have all supported his bid at various points. They have avoided public
support for his rivals, Bukola Saraki and Danjuma Goje, outgoing
governors of Kwara and Gombe State, respectively, both of whom have had
to carry out their campaigns through lobbyists.

National Assembly
workers were stunned at the close of work on Thursday to find pamphlets
stuck to their cars titled, “Eight Basic Reasons Why Sen. David Mark
Should Return as President of the Seventh Senate.” Most workers were
agreed it was a new twist in the campaign for the position of senate

Mr Mark is being
praised especially for the stability of the senate under his reign.
Suleiman Adokwe, a re-elected senator (PDP – Nasarawa South), said on
Friday that “since we no longer experience frequent changes in the
leadership of the senate, it means we have found the formula.”

Unnecessary rule-tweaking

The efforts of the
senate president to make his way back to the most prestigious office
will come to a head on Tuesday this week when the senate intends to
adopt an amendment to the standing rules in a way that will place other
rivals at a disadvantage.

The proposed rule
will replace Rule 97[1][f] of the current standing order of the senate.
The new rule introduces a ranking system through which senators can
aspire for prestigious offices in the senate. It ranks experienced
lawmakers before first-timers without legislative experience, placing
the latter as last and least eligible to aspire to high offices in the

At the top of the
rank are senators returning, and based on the number of times
re-elected; this is where the sitting senate president belongs. They
are followed by senators who had been members of the House of

Third on the
ranking are senators who have been members of a State House of assembly
or any legislative house. The least in the ranking system are senators
getting elected for the first time – where Messrs Goje and Saraki both

Analysts are of the
opinion that tweaking the rules to favour the incumbent is unnecessary
at this point, considering the senate president’s virtues.

However, the senate
president is not leaving anything to chance. He has also reached out to
opposition lawmakers who will be members of the seventh senate.

A “Door 2 Door for
Mark 2011” campaign organisation was recently co-opted into the
re-election efforts. Its members undertook the pamphlet placement
campaign on Thursday on the premises of the national assembly.

This week, all the
elected lawmakers will be retreating to the central points in their
respective geopolitical zones; the campaigns are bound to continue at
these places. An official of the senate, who did not want his name
mentioned, said the incumbent “will leave no stone unturned” in his

Ayogu Eze, the senate spokesperson and a strong promoter of the
incumbent’s second term bid, on Thursday belittled every other
contestant eyeing the post as he declared Mr Mark the clear favourite
for the office, saying, “There is no contest for the senate president’s

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