By Festus Owete
The Senate President, David Mark, on Wednesday said he would not defect to the All Progressives Congress, APC, in order to return as Senate President.
He said he would rather remain a member of the Peoples Democratic Party to restructure the party in readiness for the 2019 general elections.
Mr. Mark spoke during a mass held at St. Mulumba Catholic Chaplaincy, Apo, Abuja, to mark his 67th birthday anniversary.
There were speculations that ahead of the June 6 inauguration of the 8th session of the National Assembly, the Senate President, who has occupied the position on PDP ticket since 2007, would dump the party for the APC to enable him continue in office.
Mr. Mark has been in the Senate since 1999 but became its president in June 2007. He won his re-election bid in the March 28 National Assembly elections to represent Benue South Senatorial District.
But the Senate President said no member of the APC had spoken to him about decamping, vowing that he would remain in PDP to restructure the party because it made him what he is today.
He said, “Before I go and sit down I have heard by way of rumour to start with in social media that I am decamping to APC. Social media is awash with that. If I will be the last man standing I will remain in PDP.
“The rumour is just an unnecessary fabrication and I even heard that one of the papers yesterday had it as headline. The media men must please make sure they investigate cases before they begin to publish it.
“Nobody has spoken to me from APC. I have no reasons whatsoever to leave PDP, no reasons. I have risen to where I am on the platform of PDP. PDP has a manifesto and I believe in it.”
Mr. Mark, a retired brigadier general of the Nigerian Army, described those who are leaving the PDP since the victory of the APC in the presidential election as “fair weather friends of PDP”.
“Those who are leaving PDP now are fair weather friends of PDP. So they have gone (and) they have no problem. When PDP bounces back in few years in the next couple of elections or next election they will come back again to PDP. So they will move. Those ones are not really the issues.
“So, the point I want to make is that I remain in PDP and I will try to restructure PDP, bring it back again. This is democracy, there will be a winner and there will be a loser and the loser must accept it and the winner must accept it. It is not anything new for us.
“Nigerians have spoken and we in PDP have accepted it. That is the will of God and that is the will of Nigerians and so there is no need for anybody to speculate any more doomsday stories,” he stressed.
The Senate President said all over the world all political parties are entrenched through their manifestoes and they talk to the people.
He said Nigerians must remain one united people and that they must put Nigeria first above every other consideration.
He said God answered prayers offered by Nigerians before the elections hence they were peacefully conducted.
According to him, there were many prophecies of doom before the election but that those prophecies did not come to pass. He asked the prophets to apologise to Nigerians.
“There were so many prophecies, so many but the problem is that all these prophecies when things don’t go their own way they find another way of coming back to us that they mean this or that and they spoke in tongues and we didn’t hear. But we thank God for that.
“As a nation we have risen well beyond the wishes of all these prophets of doom. But what is really more important is that we have established democracy in this country, strong roots of democracy because that is what this election has shown that PDP the ruling party is no more the party at the centre even though we are going to win many more states than the APC.
“But that one will happen on Saturday, not now. Let me not comment on that one but I am very sure about that one,” Mr. Mark said.
He thanked members of his immediate family for their continuous prayers, noting that it was the prayers that made him to succeed in his assignment as Senate President.
“I have always assured you as members of this my immediate family that I will do only those things that are honest in the eyes of you my brothers and sisters. Even in the eyes of God, I will be sincere that I will do those things that are acceptable and noble and make all of you very proud.
“Whatever I have achieved today, it is because you continuously remembered me in your prayers. Every morning here you ask for God’s wisdom on me and on His eminence and I think God has answered your prayers.”
Earlier, the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, eulogised Mr. Mark for the wisdom he employed in piloting the affairs of the Senate and the National Assembly.
He said the Senate President’s contributions to the socio-economic and political development of Nigeria cannot be undermined.
Mr. Mark’s close friend and a former senator, Tunde Ogbeha, prayed God to grant the Senate President good health, long life and courage in the years ahead.
Also, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Salisu Maikasuwa, praised the Senate President for his resourceful leadership and harmonious working relationship between the management and the political leadership.
In his homily, the Parish Priest of St. Mulumba Catholic Chaplaincy, Innocent Jooji, a Reverend Father noted that only God determines the destiny of all human pointing out that ”Whatever the future holds for each and every one of us is determined by God, ” we should continue to have faith in God.”