George Okoh in Makurdi
Former Senate President, David Mark has called on students to be diligent with their studies in order to achieve success in life. He said this at the award of scholarship to 1,371 indigent students in Benue State.
The award, which is part of the annual Senator David Mark Scholarship Foundation (DMSF), is worth N50 million this year. The beneficiaries who were drawn from the 23 local government areas of the state got between N250,000 to N20,000 each.
Speaking at the event which held at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Otukpo Study Centre, the Chairman of the DMSF, Prof. James Alachi said over the years, the foundation has grown from giving beneficiaries N5,000 to at least N20,000.
“We started with an award of N5,000 per student and two years after that, it was increased to N7,500. Shortly after that, students smiled home with N10,000 and later N15,000 and now, each recipient goes home with a prize money of N20,000.”
Alachi commended Mark for bringing education to the doorsteps of the poor and giving them the weapon to conquer the world through the scholarship scheme.
The guest speaker and a gubernatorial aspirant in the state, Professor Joseph Tor Iorapuu commended the senator for his consistency in developing the human resource of the state through the scholarship scheme and called on other well-meaning individuals in the society to emulate him.
Responding, Mark, who was represented by his wife Helen, said the success story of the foundation underscores the steady growth of the award from N5,000 per beneficiary at inception to N20,000 presently with the astronomical growth of beneficiaries yearly.
He said his passion for education and the belief that the oxygen to success and happiness in life is the elimination of illiteracy and ignorance through sound education of the populace propelled him to institute the scholarship scheme which is now in its 12th year.
Some of the beneficiaries, including Maria Egwu, a 300 level student of NOUN studying Criminology and John Adaga, a physically challenged graduate of Mass Communication from Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko acknowledged the efforts of Mark towards ensuring that they acquire education. The occasion was also used to celebrate his 70th birthday.