30 March 2011

Nigeria: 'Benue Will Back Mark Until Apa State is Created'


Adakole Elijah is Special Assistant on Media (Benue State Liaison) to the Senate President, David Mark. In this interview with CORRESPONDENT Terna Doki in Makurdi, Elijah speaks on the feelings and aspirations of Idoma nation and the Benue South community as embedded in the senatorial quest of Mark in April among other issues. Excerpts.

Benue South community is facing another round of elections. How will you assess the political tempo in this area?

Well, for those of us in Benue South senatorial district, we can say we are on a familiar terrain because we have fought this battle over and over again, emerging very victorious in all the previous instances. We have come out neat and continue to do so. But generally, I think what we have done now is that we have traveled round the entire senatorial gamut of BNSTH, selling our candidate, our manifesto and our agenda.

That is what our principal, Senator David Mark, intends to do for them for his fourth term in the Senate. We have gone round talking to people and convincing them to know the accruable benefits they stand to gain by Mark's continuous stay at the National Assembly. So far, the response has been tremendous. That's why wherever we go, you see people trooping out to receive us, to receive the President of the Senate; to receive even the Idoma Youth Vanguard, and receive also the David Mark Campaign Organisation. This is because there are a lot of volunteer organisations that are actually working for the return of David Mark; they have strategize a the door-to door campaigns to meet the people. So, far the response of the people has been so wonderful.

But there are complaints that anytime Mark wants election, he plays the Apa state creation card, so as to win unjustified support over his opponents. What is your comment?

You should know the issue of Apa state is like a sick man. When you are sick, you cannot stop medication, until you are cured of the ailment; you cannot stop going for diagnosis; you cannot stop going for medical examination. So, our problem is basically that in Benue state where we find ourselves today, things have not been palatable with us the way they ought. And since we have not yet met our expectations, as a people, as a community, we shall continue to cry out loud towards the actualization of Apa state. And until Apa state is actualized, even if Senator Mark continues to play the card 100 times, we are solidly behind him, because no one else can do it.

There is no problem about it. All we need is an Apa state. We are not comfortable at the moment and it is not as if someone is driving us away from Benue ; but we want development to come closer to our people. Ask yourself, for even those against Mark today, when he creates an Apa state, would they be sent away from it , because they opposed him? No, it is impossible. It will be for all of us and for everybody. They will not go and take citizenship of another state. In fact all of us, including Senator Mark's are longing for the creation of Apa state.

What if this dream is not realised?

As long as Apa state remains uncreated, we shall continue to fight for it until it is created. Agitation for Apa state is not a David Mark affair alone and our people should know this. Everybody is involved, the farmer in the remotest part of Idoma land is involved; I am involved. In fact I am the secretary of the committee for the creation of Apa state, So, its everyone's business.

Other notable Idomas, the military officers, Professors, artisans and everybody in Benue South senatorial district is involved. So it is not a David Mark affair alone. It is a project of the Idoma people and Mark as the Leader, knows the aspiration of his people and he is working to actualize these aspirations. Mark knows that with Apa state, the problems of underdevelopment of his people would better be addressed.

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