We did not agree Jonathan should be PDP’s sole candidate – Mark

The immediate past President of the Senate, Senator David Mark, has revealed how former President Goodluck Jonathan’s aides floated the idea of sole candidacy in the 2011 election.
Mark, in a statement issued on Friday, explained that he was not privy to the meeting where ‎it was agreed that Jonathan should be sole candidate of their party, the Peoples Democratic Party.
He, however, said he was part of another meeting where Prof. Sam Oyovbarie and General Sam Ogbemudia made contributions and it was agreed that though Jonathan was not from the North, he must be allowed to contest.
Mark described Senator Abba Aji as a serial liar and political prostitute.
Aji had alleged that it was the agreement of the party that Jonathan should be PDP’s sole candidate.
Mark recalled that the former aide of Jonathan has decamped four times since the inception of the present democratic dispensation.
Marks said: “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.
“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 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.
“The fourth issue you raised was that I insisted that the Legislature is an independent arm. I have no apologies for this. I still maintain that the Legislature is an independent arm and certainly not an extension of the Presidency. If anything, it is people like you who tried to mislead the President that the Legislature is an extension or parastatal under the Jonathan Presidency. The Legislature must maintain its independence within the confines of the constitution. The principle of separation of power must be maintained for democracy to survive and even thrive. I insisted that nobody should meddle in the affairs of the Legislature in the same way, as I did not get involved in the affairs of the Executive. I am sure you know that I never interfered in the affairs of the Executive directly or indirectly (even though I doubt your capability to discern the truth).
“You said further that Jonathan was close to me because we are both Christians. Politicians who have nothing to offer often result to this religious blackmail. This is designed to cover up their political weakness or shortcoming. I simply cannot imagine what you want to gain by playing this religious card. I hope President Jonathan would take you up on this and that is if he feels your insinuations are worth addressing. Maybe he will simply ignore you as the ranting of a decampee seeking political relevance.
“Finally, you said Jonathan was afraid of me. Did your boss tell you this or you made it up? This is an insult Abba Aji. I had a very cordial working relationship with President Jonathan, we had mutual respect for each other and for our offices; and that is what it should be. In any case I think in your eagerness or anxiety to impress you new (owner) political groom, you have thoroughly conflated issues and dates. Tambuwal was not the Speaker at the time; it was Demeji Bankole if you will recall.”
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