WHO does Senate President, David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark think he is? Is he anything more than the President of the Senate?
His command that Nigerians should pray continuously for nine days for the health of the President is the latest in the ridiculous ways that are becoming Nigerian life. Where did he draw the authority to make this sanctimonious demand on over-burdened Nigerians?
Mark has become used to assuming magisterial postures on all things. With an eye on the headlines, the Presidentâ€™s illness was another opportunity for him to be heard and seen as patriotic. As usual, his pontifications unveiled the Senate President for what he is, a preacher who would not practise his admonishments.
With the same finality he uses to over-rule whatever he dislikes in the Senate, he continued: â€œSince the President left for Saudi Arabia for medical check-up, the organs of government have remained intact and functional.â€
Possibly, among the best crop of the educated in the Nigerian military of his generation, Mark who holds qualifications in telecommunications engineering and attended courses at Harvard and the US Defence College, cannot be said not to know a functional government.
The 12th President of the Senate (preceded by these eminent personalities: Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Dennis Osadebey, Nwafor Orizu, Joseph Wayas, Iyorchia Ayu, Ameh Ebute, Evans Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo, Adolphus Nwabara, Anyim Pius Anyim, and Ken Nnamani) as always was selfish.
Mark was covering up for his own inability to discharge the functions of his office as the President of the Senate since June 2007. Under his ceaseless watch, the President has been on long absences from duty, including a vacation, ignoring the Constitution.
The 1999 Constitution explicitly provides in Section 145 that â€œWhenever the President transmits to the President of Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives a written declaration that he is proceeding on vacation or that he is unable to discharge the functions of his office, until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such functions shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.â€
At the National Assembly where Mark thinks he is an emperor, leadership for him centres on promoting his importance. His disdain for civilians (commoners to him) is remarkable. Two years ago, he said a sergeant in the army was more educated than a university graduate.
Mark is famous for his apathy towards the public. He has built a huge image of placing the importance of his person and offices he occupies above the public he claims to serve. He preaches patriotism too.
Nigerians remember him well as the Minister of Communications who told them telephones were not for the poor. One wonders how he feels seeing even his own domestic aides using telephones, which were so expensive and inefficient under his supervision that less than 300,000 Nigerians had them.
It is not in his place to tell us how long to pray when he clings to the Senate leadership blind to constitutional abuses.