You have served your people enough:Open letter to David Mark,by By Oga Tom Uhia

senate_president__david_mark 600His Excellency,
Senator David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark
The President of the Senate,
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
National Assembly Complex,

Your Excellency,
The Most Distinguished Senator,

MY PIECE OF ADVICE TO SENATOR DAVID MARK: You have served your people enough, let someone else help you carry the burden of leadership

“No man will make a great leader who want to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it” Andrew Carnegie

I am greatly constrained to formally write you this letter, your Excellency, the most distinguished Senator David Mark, the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for so many reasons than one.
First, I must say that such a letter as this shouldn’t have come from me because I am not a politician, and do not have political ambition neither am I aiming ambitiously at taking your position away from you. But I believe that our lives begin to ebb to an end when we keep silent about the things that are about to happen to us. For now, I do not have such bogus and over-sized ambition. Two, I am just – a mere child before you oh great man of valour. I hail from Igede, one of the component tribes and stakeholders that make-up your (domain) senatorial district where you have ruled and reigned over the poor hopeless and helpless people for the past fifteen years unchallenged.
I am not in any way qualified to write you such an open letter let alone challenge you on issues that are exclusive reserve of great and notable politicians; if not for the democratic liberty that I now enjoy, made possible by the guts of men gifted with the act of epistemology like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. I thank God, for this period which luckily for me is the season of letter writing. This has also afforded me the ample opportunity and audacity to tow the line of great and mighty men in the act of letter writing like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, the Former Military Head of State and two term democratic president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the likes of His Royal Highness, the Emir of Nigeria’s Financial Institution, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who have lion hearts and are bold enough to write President Goodluck Jonathan as I now do to you.
Three, given the present security situation of our country, where mere men like us dare not raise their voices to challenge or even ask our leaders questions that border on the welfare of the people for the fear of being eliminated by private solders; “trained snipers” (guerrillas) as alleged by the former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in his letter to President Goodluck Jonathan. But I have humbly decided to do this by laying down my life as a living sacrifice on the altar of selfless service to my people in the hands of the Almighty God in whose hand are the hearts of all kings.
I was most pleased to find such worthy compliments about the Idoma people in the WIKIPEDIA which I herein restate to buttress my points. “The IDOMA, the WIKIPEDIA says, are multi-ethno-linguistic group that primarily inhabits lower and western areas of Benue State, Nigeria; meaning that we are more than one ethnic group in Idoma land. “The Idoma are known to be warriors and hunters of class, but hospitable and peace loving”; also meaning that we are brave and fearless but amiable. “The population of the Idoma is estimated to be about 3.5million”. We are large group of people, therefore cannot be short of capable hands in replacement of you to lead us.
The statements above seem to sum up and provide the main thrust of this open letter to you, the most distinguished Senator. The Benue South Senatorial District that you represent at the senate consists of nine local government areas in Benue State. They are the Ado, Apa, Agatu, Okpokwu, Ogbadibo, Oju, Obi, Otukpo, Ohimini LGAS. These groups of people are highly educated, so industrious, humble, yet subservient, very poor and greatly marginalized up till date by few of her privileged individuals like you. The land has produced great medical doctors, lawyers, engineers, economists of repute, academics, serving and retired military generals, high cadre police officers and para-military personnel, diplomats and other career men and women, therefore are not in short of capable hands.
You were fortunate to be singled out and elected among this potpourri of great people not necessarily because you were better and greater by any standard than most of them, but because the time and chance has happened to you according to (Ecl 9:11) and today, you are the longest serving senator in the Nigerian Senate. You are as old in the senate as the Nigeria’s 2nd and 3rd republic democracy itself. I hail and envy your untiring strength and courage to want to serve your people this long without minding whose right is usurped and trampled upon.
By the special grace of the Almighty God upon your life you were elected and re-elected time and time again up to four times, not because people like you so much, but sometimes for fear of the unknown which made even the legible contenders stay clear and dumping their ambitions. And very soon you will be serving out your fourth term of 16 (sixteen years) making you the longest serving senator in the history of Nigeria’s democracy, and yet asking for more.
For the past fourteen years, the Idoma people are proud of you, what you mean to them, the position you hold and what role you have played at the National Assembly. Your presence at the Senate provided the ample opportunity of an Idoma person to become the number three citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And since 2007, you have provided sustained leadership at the Senate. This is no mean feat at all. The people are also aware of your efforts at getting them to the Promised Land through the repeated promised creation of “Apa State” which could have freed us from the domination of the majority Tiv tribe.
This proposed state of yours may or may never be possible after all during our life time. Your inability to secure “Apa State” for the Idoma people which was one of your strongest campaign promise was not entirely your fault, but the unforeseen political exigency of the moment. We also acknowledge the numbers of Idoma people you have empowered, countless numbers of them are in the Federal Civil Service today and many others are self employed courtesy of your effort. These people we are also aware are mostly your biological children, siblings and those whom you owe some token political favours. Nevertheless, they are all Idoma people. Before now, Benue State indigenes especially the Idoma rank third behind Akwa-Ibom and the Cross-Rivers States people on the queue of odd and menial jobs in all the cities of the Federation. But today, everywhere you go to, young Idoma men and women have increasingly replaced the others as security men and service waiters.
I also want to on behalf of the great people of Idoma thank you for the wonderful Gulf Course which you have built at Akpegede, Otukpo. That landscape is un-compared to and unrivaled with any in the whole of Africa. This has greatly exposed our people to the knowledge and skill of how rich men spend their leisure times with their wealth with predominantly peasant as spectators to this very strange game. The on-going King David University project at Asa is another great investment you have brought to Idoma land. Even though it will not be a school for the ordinary people, because it will be out of the reach of our people, but the infrastructure will greatly beautify the landscape of Otukpo – Igumale road, no doubt. Our people will also have the opportunities to be employed as labourers after dispossessing them of their farmland just as you have done for them at the Gulf Course.
At least, passersby will definitely know that we have a great son in Senator David Mark. In the past few years, the annual International Basketball tournament held every December in Otukpo has greatly added colours to Christmas in Otukpo and has made home-coming for many worth-while.
Your achievements for the past fourteen years or so are uncountable, endless and unforgettable such that mere words of our mouths are too few to recount them. Only the Almighty God can reward you sufficiently.
But come to think about it, your Excellency, the distinguished senator, have you considered nurturing a successor to your position? If you have not, then is it the fear of being politically irrelevant afterwards which is the case with most politicians or the fact that you have not seen any capable hand in the whole of the Benue South Senatorial District among the Igede, Utonkon, Agila from Obusa, Ameka-Owo through Ijigban Adum Otukpo to Agatu who could replace you? If the last reason is your strong reason and fear, then I have a candid advice for you, from Theodore Roosevelt which says “the best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it,” please reconsider this. In the spirit of democracy whose principle is based on equity, justice and fair play, shouldn’t the other federating parts of the Benue South Senatorial district share in this leadership you have monopolized for so long?
Your continuous stay at the senate is no more in the interest of your people but a big slap on the face of the Idoma people and the entire Zone C. It speaks volume of who the people of Benue South Senatorial District truly are; incompetent, inept, non-ambitious and docile. The Otukpo people, your immediate ward and constituency may be comfortable with your continuous stay may be because they thought you are the best they could offer, but the Igede, Agila and Ufia have among them very competent sons and daughters who are ready to offer themselves for service and willing to take over the saddle of leadership from you and do what you are doing or even do better.
The General, the Engineer, the most distinguished Senator David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark, you were once a military Governor, Minister from the slot of the Idoma people and now Senator representing your people for almost sixteen years out of which you will soon round-up your second tenure at the Senate as Senate President for eight years. What would you do differently after now for your people and what would you say you have done so spectacular for the people of Benue South Senatorial zone that has given you the moral comfort to want to stay on for another four year which will cumulatively make it twenty years of selfish service to you, yourself and your immediate family members alone? Please recount our blessings to the people and name them one-by-one aloud, and you will be surprise what opportunities you have wasted for 16 years. I remember that in your time of learning the rope and while the democracy was still booting, you had innocently supported Chief Olusegun Obasanjo to go for the third term. That means you encouraged long stay in political offices. You have gloriously served out your own turn, served out the turn of Tunde, your son and even now your grand-children’s. So what else do you want? God has been so gracious to you and you are a great gift to the Idoma people, no doubt, but let someone else from another side of the Senatorial zone help you to carry the burden of leadership.
Distinguished Senator, some of us were glad and overwhelmed when it was rumoured that you were going to contest for the presidency in 2015. We were proud and willing to be your foot soldiers because you would have progressively deserved such an exalted position. No man in the present Nigeria’s political landscape is more qualified to be there than you. Considering your political antecedents; you have progressively moved from a corps commander, to be a Military Governor, Minister, Principal Staff Officer in Abacha’s regime, Senator, Senate President and now the most appropriate place to occupy next should be Aso Villa. By all political calculation, it is the turn of the Middle-Belter to produce the next Christian president, and you are the most qualified. But why did you change your mind? Why did you chicken-out? I encourage you, great man of valour, go for it, and soar like an eagle, you have our support.
I have looked around and have found among us, people who can replace you and be trusted enough to protect your interest in order to maintain your political relevance in the land long afterward. Among your kinsmen and kindreds’ are people like; Dr. John Eyimonye, Engineer Benson Abounu, Barrister Godwin Obla, Dr. Innocent Onuh; your son-in-law, your daughter, Blessing Onuh or even Professor Isawa Elaigwu, who are very legible.
And if you are so magnanimous enough to concede it to the other side of the zone, please consider any of these great men; Chief Innocent Audu Ogbe, Chief Steven Lawani, Prof. John Idoko, General Geofrey Ejiga, General Lawrence Onoja, General Chris Garba and even General Harrison Adoga who are men with similar military training as you.
Among the Igede people are also capable hands like Prof. Oga Ajene, Prof. Johnson Onah, Dr. Isaac Egboja, Prof. Ibu, Prof. Odeh Ojowu, Prof. Agwu Igwe and Engr. Morgan Okwoche and a host of others.
Lastly, you may want to consider a great Idoma son in the person of Chief Mike Onoja who was the Permanent Secretary, Defence under General Sani Abacha. All these are great men and women from Idoma land who have equal rights as you to contest and be elected and could bring great honour to Idoma land as you are said to have done.
You should now assume the role of a king maker of high repute and the political godfather of our people rather than wanting to stay on till eternity. It is better to leave now when the ovation is loudest. Outstanding leaders appeal to the heart of their followers, not their minds and bearing in mind that “Leadership is not wielding authority – its empowering people” –Becky Brodin. So kindly do this for posterity sake.

Your humble compatriot,
Oga Tom Uhia
[email protected]

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