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Retiring 20 years after, NASS leadership, Ortom salute Mark for national service

It was pump and pageantry as the hierarchy of the Nigerian Senate lead by the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, his Deputy, Barr Ike Ekweremadu, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State and others, Sunday paid glowing tribute to the immediate past president of the Senate, Senator David Mark for his meritorious services and leaving the Red Chambers, after 20 years.
It was a day of thought provoking goodwill messages to Senator Mark at a thanksgiving mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church, Otukpo, Benue State, where colleagues and visiting well-wishers poured encomiums describing him as an icon and patriotic leader in the contemporary Nigeria.
While opening the floodgate of good wishes, outgoing Senator President, Dr Saraki noted that his predecessor has set a record as the longest serving Senator since 1999, the longest serving President of the Senate and referred to him as an officer and a gentleman.
According to the chairman of the National Assembly (NASS), “Senator Mark was our own equivalent of the US Senators Robert C. Byrd (51 years, five months, 26 days), Daniel K. Inouye (49 years, 11 months and 15 days), Strom Thurmond (47 years, five months, eight days), Ted Kennedy (46 years, nine months, 19 days and Patrick J. Leahy (44years) in terms of institutional memory that he embodies”.
Continuing, Saraki acknowledged that Senator Mark remains a stabilizing force in or out of the chamber pointing out that he remains relevant even when he left the position of the primus inter pares in the Senate.
Senate President further averred that “While Senator Mark’s record in the Senate remains unbeaten, it is necessary to mention that he is a bridge builder and consummate politician. My colleagues and I, in the eight Senate, appreciates his humility, brilliance and patriotism”.
Corroborating Saraki’s out-pouring, Deputy President of the Senate and Enugu State-born democrat, Senator Ekweremadu noted the leadership qualities of Senator Mark and added “your place of honour as a fine, perceptive, detribalized, patriotic, astute leader and a true democrat is unarguable and unshakable.
He submitted that “Besides leading the National Assembly to break the jinx of constitutional amendments and the successful electoral reforms, Ekweremadu added “your capacity as a wise, experienced, patriotic and true statesman manifested at a very trying time in the Nation’s history when you guided the National Assembly to invoke the Doctrine of Necessity to steer the country away from palpable constitutional crisis”.
Twitting via his verified handle, @iamekweremadu; @OfficialPDPNig, Senator Ekweremadu announced Sunday saying “It’s my birthday. Please, join me in appreciating the Most High, the ever merciful and gracious God for His love and kin…”
Still on the Thanksgiving bash in Otukpo, Benue State Governor, Mr Samuel Ortom, noted that “your quality representation and indefatigable leadership in the Senate brought stability to the system and added enormous value to democracy.
“I am proud to identify with you for your selfless services to the State and the nation as well as providing mentorship to upcoming leaders”.
In his address, elated Senator Mark expressed appreciation to his people for the opportunity to serve, promising to continue to work for peace and unity of Nigeria.
Earlier in his homily, the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Otukpo, Most Reverend Kenneth Odeh described Senator Mark as an icon of inestimable value saying that his contributions to the development of Nigeria cannot be wished away.
Reverend Odeh, who urged Nigerian politicians to emulate Senator Mark’s selfless service to the country, prayed God to bless the Benue political export in his future endeavours.