By Achiri Igiri-West
The story of David and Goliath in the holy book is one of the most narrated in biblical history. It is famed for several reasons chief amongst which is with determination; no obstacle is insurmountable.
The other reason being that no one should see himself as the ultimate in power as it comes from God. This captures the story of the David of our time, Senator David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark, vividly.
Senator Mark has bestridden the political firmament of Nigeria like a colossus for several decades dating back to his days in the military.
Having spent his military days in several high profile positions in governance arena, he was amongst the earliest men that were dubbed militicians as they immediately adorned the flowing agbada in place of the starched khaki uniform of the military when the bell tolled for the return of democratic governance.
That placed him in the position of legislators who have kept the hallowed chambers of the red arm of the national assembly clean with their shoes as he has been in that chamber since 1999.
Apart from been a regular face, he is one of the power brokers in the senate as it is a known fact that no issue of substance passed him by without his input. That was for him a mere member. The story completely changed when he assumed the leadership of the senate.
He completely dominated the affairs of the chamber, dishing out favours and withholding same for those in his bad book.
As a military tactician, he still dominates the affairs of the chamber even in opposition albeit from the sideline as most major decisions in the 8th senate are seen as the hand of Esau and voice of Jacob.
However, this vantage position of Mark is gradually waning in such a way that he would soon be confined to the position of has-beens, men of yester years who dispensed favour and called the shots but oblivious of when the ovation was loudest for them to quit the stage.
That is where Mr. Daniel Onjeh comes in. Onjeh by Nigeria political reckoning is a neophyte, a latter day entrant to the political scene and a rookie where Senator Mark is concerned. But that is now the problem of Mark, as Onjeh has turned to be his enfant terrible as the biblical David was to the famed Goliath.
Goliath had military pedigree which David had not just like Mark has political pedigree that Daniel has not. The like always beget the like – treatment. You see.
So it is right to say that Senator Mark is now poised to fall into the shoe of Goliath. The only problem now being that his first name is David and his traducer is Daniel. Daniel in the Bible is also a resilient character, daring where others are quick to chicken out, entering into actions others feared to dare.
Daniel’s resilience in the Bible paid off for the people of Israel and the land of their captivity. Same outcome is now starring us in the face as Daniel has come home to roost against the famed senator DAB Mark.
While Mark may not escape the hang man’s noose here is because of his refusal to heed to the handwriting on the wall signaling the imminent danger that will befall him. As a signal military officer, one would think Mark would be conversant with signs and what they portend but he did not.
So if at the end of the day he falls as he is going to do, let no dirge be written on his political epitaph that here lies the man that falls because of insatiable quest for political power, for relevance and naira power. Nobody needs to do that because men like him who view themselves as indispensable, as master strategists and those with right connections always fall to inconsequential shots from equally inconsequential, unlikely quarters. That was the fate that befell Goliath.
Goliath had all the right connections, right military training, rose to become a field marshal but he was blind to a mere sling from a shepherd boy who he derided, scorned and disdained.
Senator Mark has all the connections; he rose to be a general in both fields where he played and so like Goliath is full of himself. That is the singular reason why Mark has to watch it. Daniel Onjeh is a sharpened sling in the quiver of APC ready to be unleashed on the well-armoured Mark. But like the heavy metals failed Goliath, no amount of Ghana must go can sway the decision of the people of Zone C who are poised to heed to oft given advice of Mark who is a major proponent of mainstream politics. Can you see now?
Zone C has never played opposition politics; Mark championed that, so why should he now work against his age-long political belief? But unfortunately, that has been the attitude of many Nigerian politicians, inconsistency. Mark should be above that, should he not, considering his pedigree?
Benue indigenes in Zone C cannot afford to be left behind in the political wind that has ushered in the change we desired and prayed for. They will not because they are aware of the benefits that go with aligning with the government at the centre.
More so, the scale has now fallen off the face of the people as Mark who has used political gimmicks to gain election cannot go to town with the issue of Apa State and sundry others anymore. He had used that to hoodwink the people for a long time but now it is quite glaring that that project is not realizable in the foreseeable future.
Senator Mark’s elections over the years have been fraught with gangsterism, now that the system cannot be manipulated; he will be consigned to the dust bin of history as Goliath suffered.
What is expected of Mark is for him to concede the office before he is counted amongst the mighty ones that have fallen. Or are we expecting a situation whereby the famed Daniel will now be the David of our time and Mark becomes the Goliath ready for Daniel’s sling? Let’s keep our fingers crossed.
*Achiri Igiri-West is Special Assistant on Media to Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Benue State. .