Ahead of the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, Senate President David Mark is leaving nothing to chance as he has allegedly started making moves to retain his seat regardless of the stinging defeat his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, suffered in the just concluded general elections.
Although, the PDP won only 45 seats in the elections compared to the 64 seats won by the All Progressives Congress (APC), making it the majority, Mark believes he stands a good chance of snatching the position from the APC.
His calculation, according to sources in his camp, is made stronger by the decision of the APC national leadership to zone the Senate Presidency to the North Central from where Mark hails.
He will subsequently penetrate and divide the camp of APC senators, and then win to his side some of them who will vote for him along with the 45 PDP senators.
The plan, The Nation gathered, is Mark’s contribution to the effort to rebuild the PDP ahead of the 2019 elections.
He is said to have the support of PDP leaders who believe that he is the only one, for now, who stands a relatively bright chance of standing up to the APC and in the process, stop the PDP from losing out completely to the APC.
Sources close to his camp said he may have found an accomplice in an APC senator, who is a former North West governor.
The former governor is expected to work on his fellow APC senators to back the emergence of Mark as Senate President for an unprecedented third time.
A massive war chest of N10billion is allegedly being readied for the battle for the Senate Presidency, sources said.
Mark who has been in the saddle since 2007 is one of the few PDP members to win in the last senatorial election in the North.
It was also learnt that some PDP members do not want him to return to the Senate as minority leader or an ordinary floor member having been Senate President since 2007.
A party source said: “Our leaders are thinking of how to manage Mark’s situation because we do not want him to play a second fiddle. He was elected on March 28 based on our previous equation that we would still retain power.
“Our leaders are calling for a new international role for Mark who has become a statesman in view of the manner in which he had used wisdom to save this nation at its crisis time. Some are also saying that Mark should play a strategic role in the reformation of PDP ahead of 2019 elections.
“Although the ultimate decision belongs to the Senate President because has the mandate of his people, he is a party man”.