The re rerun election for the South west Senatorial
zone of Benue State promises to be a tough battle,
OKECHUKWU JOMBO writes that its between
two brothers backed by external forces



The D-day for the conduct of the rerun
senatorial election of the Benue South West
following nullification by the Appeal court
of the election of former Senate President,
Senator David Mark is here. The rerun
election between Sen. David Mark of the
Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and Daniel
Onjeh of the All Progressives Congress,
The two contesters in the election, Mark
and Onjeh are of the Idoma tribe, which
is in Benue South West senatorial district
comprising of nine local governments.
Since the inception of this democratic
dispensation in 1999, Senator Mark has
been in the red chambers of the National
Assembly defeating various contenders
including General Ejiga (rtd), Major
General Lawrence Onoja (rtd) and Alhaji
Abubakar Mai Shano a.k.a “Young Alhaji.”
Before the advent of the current
democratic rule in the country, Mark had
also held sensitive positions in the past.
He is one time Minister of Communication
and erstwhile military governor of Niger
State during the military rule of General
Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida.
Thereafter, he left the shores of the
country first to Ghana and later United
Kingdom, UK where he spent three years
during the regime of late General Sani
Abacha. Hon. Daniel Onjeh first came into
prominence in 2002 when he was the zonal
coordinator of the National Association of
Nigerian Students, NANS Zone A.
He was then a student of the Federal
University of Technology, Minna. After
the NANS National Convention of 2002,
he contested and was elected into the
National Executive Council of NANS
as the President. It is worthy of note that
Onjeh was suspended from school barely
few months after his election.
His alleged sin was that he was bold
enough to speak against the authorities of
FUT Minna over the police brutality and
eventual death of a young female student.
When Daniel Onjeh emerged as the
Senatorial candidate of the All Progressive
Congress, APC in Benue South West
senatorial district, many political observers
took him for granted until the last elections
were held and the political watchers
witnessed his wizardry as he was in early
lead until the result began to somersault
leading to the eventual result in favour of
his opponent.
As campaigns towards electing a
candidate to fill the now vacant senatorial
position in the Benue South West senatorial
district otherwise known as zone ‘C’ hots
up, the two major contenders, Sen. Mark
and Hon. Onjeh have already gone back
to the drawing board canvassing for votes
by way of holding electioneering rallies
and soliciting the support of the electorate
pending when the election umpire, (INEC)
will blow the whistle and fix the date for
the election.
Preparations has reached top gear as
the two political gladiators are not leaving
anything to chance, as they are already
advanced into the hinterlands of the area
to convince the people to vote for them.
Indications is rife in some quarters that
the Senatorial candidature of Onjeh have
been sponsored by the dominant Tiv
ethnic group which in the last elections
overwhelmingly voted for the APC thus
producing the Governor, his Deputy and
a host of others too numerous to mention.
It is interesting to note at this point ,
the wave of recent decampment as well
as defectors from the opposition Peoples
Democratic Party, PDP to the ruling All
Progressive Congress, APC on a daily basis
in the state.
Arguably some kinsmen of Sen. Mark
who preferred anonymity have vowed not
to disgrace their son as they described his
reign as an effective era while he served his
people diligently in the senate and must by
all fairness be supported to return.
The election promises to be very volatile
rising from what happened a few days
ago when a clash, occurred at Ugboju in
Otukpo Local Government Area, after
a petition by Senator David Mark to the
Inspector General of Police, alleging threat
to his life ahead of the re-run with Daniel
Onjeh of APC.
In the petition, former Senate President
David Mark had alleged that the APC had
imported some thugs and cultists into
the area to cause a stir and kill him in the
But governor Samuel Ortom in an
interview with newsmen morning of
Tuesday had dismissed the allegation
describing the reports as “completely
untrue, malicious and unfounded.”
He said since assumption of office as
governor, he banned all forms of thuggery
and recovered arms in the hands of
unauthorised persons.
The governor assured the electorate in
the senatorial district of adequate security
to guarantee their safety during and after
the polls.
He urged the people of the state to
disregard such false alarm and go about
their legitimate affairs without fear of
However, few hours after governor
Ortom spoke to newsmen, report filtered
in that one Okwoche Omale, Andrew
Adaji and Audu Okopi, were killed in clash
between the two major political parties in
the area with several houses also razed.
It was gathered that the crisis was
triggered by a disagreement between
the caretaker Chairman of Otukpo Local
Government Area, Mr. Ijachi Ude of APC
and his younger brother, Eje Ude of PDP.
The representative of Otukpo/Akpa
in the state House of Assembly, Johnson
Ahubi alleged that the crisis was triggered
by APC supporters, expressing dismay at
the attitude of the Police in Otukpo, whom
he accused of failing in their duties
When contacted, Police Area
Commander for Otukpo, Mr. Fasuba
Akinyele, said the report had not been
brought to his notice.
Earlier by ending of January, ex-minister
of Interior, Abba Moro, had addressed a
press conference and raised the alarm over
the assassination attempt on his life and
other supporters of David Mark by four
unidentified gunmen.
He said the assassins came to his house
at Ugbokolo in a white Toyota Camry car
at about 11p.m, and demanded to know
whether he was in, adding that they were
however later arrested by policemen with
guns and other dangerous weapons.
The former minister however, vowed
that he would not be deterred by
intimidation from any person or groups
of persons to mobilise support for the reelection
of David Mark.
Also, the state chapter of the Peoples
Democratic Party, PDP, had raised
the alarm over alleged plot by the All
Progressives Congress, APC, to unleash
fake soldiers and police on the area to
manipulate the election
However, the Police Public Relations
Officer, PPRO, in the state, ASP Moses
Yamu, said investigation is on into the
alleged killing of the three persons noting
that adequate arrangement has been
made to ensure security of lives during
the election and urged people of the area
to turn out for the election without fear of
All eyes will therefore be on zone c,
which is what the senatorial zone is called.

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