David Mark: Biography, Education, Marriage, Net worth, Controversies and More

By Balogun Kamilu Lekan

Biography

David Alechenu Bonaventure Mark, GCON, is Nigeria’s former Senate president and retired Army Chief.

He is of the Idoma ethnicity in Benue state.

Born in Otukpo on the 8th of April 1948, he served as the president of the 6th and 7th Nigeria’s red chamber.

Mark served for 20 years in the national assembly. 

Prior to his transition to democratic politics in 1999, he served as a Minister of communication and Military Governor of Niger state between 1984 to 1986.

Late General Sani Abacha forced Mark to retire from the Army as a Brigadier General. He then left the nation and went into self-exile in England when he was being hunted by the late head of state.

He returned in 1998  to a tumultuous reception by his Idoma people who instantly made him their leader.

Education

Mark attended St. Francis Catholic Practicing School before attending the Nigerian Military School. 

After that, he attended the Nigerian Defence Academy. 

He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1970 and became a Captain in 1971. 

Marriage

According to a court paper, Mark married six women by customary marriage but subsequently separated from the third by customary divorce.

He got involved in a messy divorce with one of them in 2000. His wives include:

  • Helen Mark
  • Kate Mark
  • Victoria Preye Mark (estranged)

Mark’s marriage is blessed with 3 children:

  • Blessing Onuh
    House of Representatives member representing Otukpo/Ohimini Federal Constituency of Benue State.
  • Tunde Jonathan Mark
    The first son. Married with a child. Started primary school at Yaba Military School, Lagos and subsequently completed his secondary school in the United Kingdom. Graduated from King’s College, University of London.
  • Anne David Mark 

Net worth/Source of Wealth

Mark is one of Nigeria’s richest Senators in Nigeria. 

David Mark is regarded as one of Nigeria’s wealthiest senators. He has undoubtedly accumulated a significant fortune, as evidenced by the high-profile roles he had while in the army and the length of his tenure as a senator.

He is reportedly worth $2 billion (or $828.9 billion) in 2021.

When David Mark was a senator, his official vehicle was a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado SUV. Public access to information on his own vehicles is prohibited.

He was Commandant of Static Communications in 1974 and later held a political post as Chairman of the Abandoned Properties Implementation Committee in the Eastern region in 1976.

Achievements

Mark, then the youngest member of the Armed Forces Ruling Council (AFRC), the nation’s highest decision-making body, served in the military while carrying out his political position.

While Mark occupied the country’s third most prestigious position he was awarded the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON)

David Mark is a staunch lover of sport and has been reported to have contributed immensely towards the development of sport in his domain

Mark also initiated a golf tournament in Idoma land which attracted various tourists around the world.

Mark’s radio station, Joy FM, in Otukpo gave jobless gave jobs to unemployed youths to contribute to the socio-economic growth of his community 

He also influenced the establishment of the National Open University (NOUN) and the Federal University of Medical Sciences in Otukpo

The NOUN campus at Otukpo, which Mark helped establish, as well as the expansive golf course and associated activities, gave enormous economic benefits to the Otukpo metropolis and its surroundings.

Controversies

As a public figure, David Mark has not been free of controversies. 

According to a report, he was quoted to have made a statement while he was the minister of communications that “telephones are not meant for poor people”

David Mark has also been accused of being corrupt. Professor Itse Sagay, a renowned legal practitioner was quoted to have accused him of corruption. 

 ”Mark has a bad record; he was the one who threatened to deport non-indigenes when he was the governor of Niger State. As Minister of Communications, he said telephones were not meant for the poor. It is an eternal shame to him that virtually everybody now has a phone. It is a great tragedy that a man who has no compassion for the common man has emerged as Senate President. He is a member of the establishment that wrecked the country; there is a great difference between him and his predecessor, Senator Ken Nnamani.” 

A former Senator, Joseph Waku has also described the Mark as being an “embodiment of corruption”

Messy divorce

On July 17, 2000, Mark’s fourth wife, Mrs. Victoria Preye Mark, filed a divorce where she exposed Mark’s corrupt past.

Preye later got an injunction at a Family Division Court in London preventing Mark from tampering with the family’s assets (real estate and funds).. The court documents revealed that Mark had some offshore accounts.

As a result of Victoria Mark’s request for ancillary relief in the couple’s divorce case, funds in four accounts totalling almost six million pounds were frozen in October 2000 – three at the Northern Bank, Isle of Man, and one at the Allied Irish Bank, Jersey.

The Court of Appeal (Civil Division), Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2, disclosed on 16 June 2006 as follows; “The freezing order was not only in general terms but attached to specific assets, including sums held in four bank accounts at the Northern Bank, Isle of Man and one account at the Allied Irish Bank, Jersey. A total fund of about £6 million in those four accounts was frozen by an order dated 4 October 2000.”

David Mark rumoured relationship with Chika Ike

In 2011, there was a rumour that Nollywood actress, Chika Ike, is in a romantic relationship with Senator David Mark.

The actress and businesswoman however debunked the report. Speaking with Encomium Magazine, she said; “Normally, I wouldn’t react to stories about myself in public, I have my reasons, but I would talk about this briefly. I know David Mark, he is the senate president. But personally, I do not know David Mark and I can say this anywhere, anytime.

“Why I am actually reacting to this tale is for two reasons. It’s a delicate story and second, I wouldn’t want my success, my hard work, and my struggle to be attached to someone I don’t know. I have never had anything to do with Senator David Mark.

“People just wake up and makeup stories. The range rover I drive is my hard work, my struggle and my sweat”.

Panama Papers

In a report by PremiumTimes, it was reported that a large amount of data was leaked from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm, linking David Mark to a series of thefts.

Mossack Fonseca, known as one of the most secretive businesses in the world, assisted clients in establishing offshore corporations, some of which are subsequently used to launder money, evade taxes, and avoid sanctions.

The 68-year-old former military officer has primarily held public office for the last 40 years, which is the subject of the investigation. However, he is widely believed to be wealthier than his legal revenues could have allowed for.

Mark serves as a public officer and is one of Nigeria’s most active users of offshore shell corporations as revealed in the Mosseca Fonseca database. 

The data linked the former senate president to some British Virgin Island-registered corporations namely: 

  • Colsan Enterprises Limited, 
  • Goldwin Transworld Limited, 
  • Quetta Properties Limited, 
  • Centenary Holdings Limited, 
  • Hartland Estates Limited, 
  • Marlin Holdings Limited, and 
  • Medley Holdings Limited.

Mark got involved in this while in office as a senator even though it violates the federal code of conduct regulation which prohibits a public officer from involving in private business.

EFCC probe

In 2017, Senator Mark was grilled by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) grilled Mark over various allegations bordering on corruption including the acquisition of his residence in Apo, Abuja.

The property is said to be valued at N748 million.

Defending himself, Mark said; “The property was ‘duly offered for sale, bid for, and purchased like any other person would in line with Federal Government’s Monetisation Policy that was started during the time of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

“I had the right of first refusal. Even if I did not purchase it, someone else would have. I am a law-abiding citizen. I did not flout any law.

“Curiously, four houses occupied by the then presiding officers of national assembly were offered to the occupants. All of us, me as the then President of the Senate, Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his Deputy Bayero Nafada were all given the same offer.”


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The information in this article was curated from online sources. NewsWireNGR or its editorial team cannot independently verify all details.

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