Former Senate President, David Mark was on Sunday morning, February 21, declared winner of the rerun election conducted in Benue South senatorial district by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), amid protest by his main challenger, Daniel Onjeh, who demanded that the election be declared inconclusive.
Mark, who is the candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) defeated his closest rival, Onjeh of All Progressives Congress (APC) 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.
The former senate president scored 84,192 votes, leaving a margin of 12,571 votes between him and Mr. Onjeh, who garnered 71,621 votes. A total of 29,273 votes were cancelled.
After Mr. Mark was declared winner, Mr. Onjeh’s agent, Eloyi Ogbeh, protested, saying the number of cancelled votes (29,273) was higher than the margin of win (12,571).
He therefore contended that the election should have been declared inconclusive.
Onjeh also accused INEC of cancelling votes in APC’s strongholds, and indicated that his party and its candidate would challenge Mr. Mark’s victory.
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.