By Emmanuel Ugaba
On April 11, 2015, National Assembly election was held throughout the federation and in that election, Senator David Mark was declared winner of the Benue South Senatorial seat for a record fifth time.
The result was, however, challenged by the All Progressives Congress, APC candidate, Comrade Daniel Onjeh, at the Election Petitions Tribunal that sat in Makurdi; the tribunal upheld the election result as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
Dissatisfied by the decision of the Tribunal, the young man went on appeal where the case was decided in his favour by annulling the election.
The court however ordered a rerun to be conducted by INEC within 90 days.
In compliance with the Court of Appeal order, Sen. Mark returned to his base at Otukpo and called all his supporters across the zone to prepare them ahead of the all-important Election Day.
As a master strategist both in the military and political circle, strategic planning and execution are games he knows how best to play.
While Comr. Onjeh and other APC leaders were busy celebrating the victory at the Appeal Court, Sen. Mark and his supporters were busying themselves with planning how to win the rerun election, knowing full well that rerun election is different from the normal general election, because rerun the poll is a compliance with court order, which there is no more second chance.
One of the strategic planning methods applied by the David Mark Campaign Organisation was media war and attack on the personality of Engr. Benson Abounu, Deputy Governor of Benue State, orchestrated by the former Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro. This was aimed at distracting his attention and focus on how to redeem his battered image in the eyes of the public rather than planning for the serious task of the rerun election in his constituency that he is the party leader.
Another strategy was the arranged defections of PDP supporters that have no serious followers upon which the APC organised jamboree celebrations without recalling the consequences the defected members will have on the party and the election at hand.
While the APC members were celebrating the influx of new members, Sen. Mark and his team were busy having series of meetings with the masses in their various houses using members of House To House organisation and other uncountable associations working for him.
Preparation, they say, is the mother of manifestation. Our people say, “As you make your bed so shall you lie on it.” The APC party leaders were not adequately prepared for the election because if they did there would have been coordinated efforts from them in terms of financial and logistic support to the party foot soldiers that will ensure the party’s victory at the poll.
The deputy governor, Engr. Abounu, who incidentally is the leader of the party in Zone C was quoted to be tight-fisted and too frugal with money to be spent on those following him. Some journalists even complained bitterly against him for turning his back on them after they had spent their times and resources to counter so many media attacks on him.
Tell me, a situation as bad as that, how do you think such a person will be able to win election, even in his own polling unit? Elections all over the globe have become expensive, meaning that if you are really serious on winning elections you must be ready and willing to open your hands to finance campaigns, whether you like it or not.
Local government election is around the corner, the outcome of the Benue South Senatorial election is a pointer to what will be expected unless the party leaders decide now to change their attitudes towards their followers and the electorates, knowing very well that every unit has its peculiarities differently from others.
To be categorical, as a leader, you should not be too frugal with spending on your media promoters because they have the wherewithal to promote as well as marring your ambition. Same goes to your followers.
Having said that, it is pertinent to remark here that APC as a party has fared very well thanks to our God-fearing Governor Samuel Ortom. Despite the financial hardship facing the state, the governor did his best to ensure that the party wins the rerun election.
However, the election ought to have been declared inconclusive and APC leaders in Zone C would have learned their lessons to ensure victory, safe for the fact that the rerun election is more of complying with court order than the normal election that has the potency of being challenged.
On this note, APC is seen as the undeclared winner of the rerun election but suffered defeat in the hands of the superior power of the military cum political master strategist.