Senator David Mark yesterday emerged winner of the rerun election conducted in Benue South senatorial district by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The immediate past senate president and candidate of Peoples Democratic Party defeated his closest rival, Mr. Daniel Onje of All Progressives Congress after winning in five of the nine local government areas of Benue South Senatorial district.
According to the results announced by the INEC returning officer, Professor Isiaka Eneji. Mark had 18,468 votes in Otukpo, his native local government, while Onje polled 12,203. In Obadigbo LGA, Mark scored 6,844 while Onje scored 8,882. Others are Ado LGA, Mark 6,513, Onje 6,370; Agatu LGA, Mark 7,986, Onje 3,456; Okpokwu LGA, Mark 11,935, Onje 6,830; Apa LGA – Mark 9,191, Onje 4,942.
By this victory in the court-ordered rerun poll, which followed the nullification of his election by the Court of Appeal, the former senate president, who would be doing his fifth term at the upper chamber, will retain the status of Nigeria’s longest serving senator. He is also the country’s longest served senate president.
The Court of Appeal, sitting in Makurdi, had on November 28 last year nullified the election of the former senate president, upturning his confirmation last October as winner of the March 28, 2015 senatorial election by the election petitions tribunal. The appeal court also ordered a rerun of the poll within 90 days of its ruling.
Yesterday’s contest, which was held in a generally peaceful atmosphere, was a straight fight between Mark and Onje, a former students’ union leader. Mark is 68 years old, while Onje is 41. Benue South senatorial district is peopled mainly by the Idoma, and Mark and Onje are of the ethnic nationality.
Besides Benue, rerun elections were also billed to hold yesterday in Kaduna, Plateau, Niger, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba and Imo states, the first set of the 80 court-ordered elections that INEC said it was scheduled to conduct between January and March. Though, the elections for Plateau and Imo were later postponed.