Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
About 1,371 indigent students, in Benue State, on Tuesday, benefitted from the 2016/2017 edition of the N50 million annual Senator David Mark Scholarship Foundation (DMSF).
The beneficiaries, drawn from across the 23 local government areas of the state, went home with the sum of between N250,000 to N20,000 each.
Speaking during the event which held at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), Otukpo Study Center, Chairman of the DMSF, Prof. James Alachi, noted that over the years, the Foundation had 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 Senator Mark for bringing education to the door steps of the poor and given them the weapon to conquer the world through the scholarship scheme.
On his part, guest of honor at the occasion, Prof. Tor Iorapuu, a gubernatorial hopeful on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), commended Sen. Mark 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, the former Senate President, who spoke through his wife, Helen, said the success story of the Foundation amply 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 noted that 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 edition.
Some of the beneficiaries included Maria Egwu, 300 Level student of NOUN studying Criminology and John Adaga, a physically-challenged graduate of Mass Communication from Fidei Polytechnic, Gboko.