A former President of the Senate, David Mark, has said he is retiring from active politics to become a peace ambassador for Benue State and the country.
Mark stated this on Sunday during a thanksgiving service held at the St. Augustine’s Catholic Church, Otukpo, Benue State.
Mark, who appreciated the people of his constituency for the support given to him for the past 20 years, also thanked God for his mercy on his immediate and political families.
He appealed to the people to forgive him in case he made any mistake in the course of his 20 years in the Senate.
He said, “When I came back in 1998 after my exile, I went round all the parts of my senatorial district and this I have done to appreciate the support of the people since the last 20 years.
“It is through the support you gave to me that made it possible for me to be the longest-serving senator who contested six times and won six times.
“In the course of my political career, I may have made certain mistakes, those mistakes were not from the heart but from the head. Therefore, I should be forgiven and I hope at the end of the day, history will be kind to me.
“Now that I have retired from active service, I will devote my time to be a peace ambassador for my senatorial district, Benue State and for Nigeria.”
Speaking at the thanksgiving service, Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, described Mark as a role model whose humility and services to the state and the country would remain indelible.
Also, a former Minister of Interior and now senator-elect to succeed Mark, Abba Moro, said the former President of the Senate did not betray the trust of the people of the senatorial district.
“Nobody, living or dead in this senatorial district, has made the kind of impact that Mark had made in the past 20 years,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu; and Ortom, among others have paid tribute to Mark as he leaves the Senate after 20 years.
Mark’s media assistant, Paul Mumeh, disclosed this in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday.
Mumeh said the leaders eulogised Mark in their separate goodwill messages.
The statement read, “Senator 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.
“Senator Mark is 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 (44 years) in terms of institutional memory that he embodies.
“Saraki acknowledged that Senator Mark remains a stabilising 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.
“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 8th Senate, appreciates his humility, brilliance and patriotism.”
In his tribute, Ekweremadu commended Mark’s leadership qualities.
“Your place of honour as a fine, perceptive, detribalised, patriotic, astute leader and a true democrat is unarguable and unshakable.”
“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,” he said.
Ortom, in his remarks, said that Mark’s quality representation and leadership in the Senate brought stability to the system and added 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,” the governor said.
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