Former Senate President, Senator David Mark on Friday took a a swipe at a former colleague parliamentarian and erstwhile Parliamentary Liaison Adviser to late President Umaru Ya’Adua, Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji, over the latter’s recent comments on Mark’s role in the last general elections.
Abba-Aji had in a recent interview alleged that Mark as President of the Senate and stalwart of the then ruling party misled former President Goodluck Jonathan into seeking a second term in office.
Abba-Aji also alleged that Mark was instrumental in Jonathan’s refusal to honour the North-South rotational principle in the choice of presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after the demise of President Umar Musa Yar Adua in office.
However, Mark in a letter to Abba-Aji denied all the allegations and instead said that they were blatant lies.
The letter read thus:
Dear Senator Abba-Aji, “I first met you in June 2003 when we were sworn in as Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
My knowledge of you is therefore largely as a result of my interaction with you in the Senate.
You recall that we served together in the Defence Committee with Sen. Fidelis Okoro as Chairman and the Late Sen. Isaiah Balat as member.
“Now to why I decided to write this personal letter to you. I read with total disbelief and disgust your allegation and or insinuations in the Sun Newspaper of 5th August 2015 that “David Mark misled Jonathan.”
I waited patiently for two days for you to either refute that invidious and malicious contention completely or say that you were misquoted. As at the time I decided to write this, none of the two has happened. “You referred to a meeting in which Prof Sam Oyovbarie and Gen. Sam Ogbemudia made contributions.
I was in that meeting too. You will recall that the crux of that meeting was whether or not Jonathan was to be allowed to contest (2011 elections). It was argued that since the Late President Yaradua was from the North, any candidate to complete his term must also come from the North.
After a lengthy debate the conclusion was that “although Jonathan was not from the North he also was to be allowed to contest”. “If after this, you met elsewhere to also conclude or decide that Jonathan was to be the sole candidate,
I certainly was not a party to that meeting nor was I privy to that decision. I was therefore very shocked when you queried why others were allowed to purchase forms in the caucus meeting.
When did you decide that Jonathan was to be the sole PDP Presidential candidate? If anything, it is you the personal aides who floated and promoted that idea.
The first meeting merely agreed that though it was the turn of the North, President Jonathan was also to be allowed to contest.
“My understanding was that the emphasis was on allowing someone outside of the northern geopolitical zone to contest. Why then would you want to stop other candidates from the North from buying forms?
In any case, how did selling forms to other candidates of Northern extraction amount to misleading Jonathan?
“The second issue you raised was about sitting arrangement or order of protocol. Apart from the fact that it does not make sense, it is pure mischief.
First, I was not in charge of protocol for the Villa; if I came there for a meeting, I sat anywhere I saw my nameplate.
No protocol officer ever asked me where I wanted to sit, whether it was to Mr. President’s right or left, and what difference does it make whether I sat on Mr. President’s right or left. I simply cannot understand what you are dragging at. “The third allegation you made was that I was undermining the VP.
How, if I may ask; did I work in the office of the VP? Let it be known that the functions of the Senate President (Legislator) and that of the Vice President (Executive) are clearly defined by the constitution and therefore there is no basis for this insinuation.
At best, it is just a complete figment of your imagination. “There was no conflict in our schedule of duties. As a matter of fact,
I have tremendous personal respect for the former Vice President Sambo. The only reason why you could have said that is perhaps to exonerate yourself from some sinister activities or attitude you exhibited towards the VP while you were there.
You probably undermined him and now want to make it up.”