Former Senate President, David Mark, has said one of his goals is to see the people of Otukpo, Benue State play basketball at the highest level.
According to Mark who promised this in his hometown, Otukpo, his love for sports would outlive his presence in the Senate as it predated his foray into politics.
He explained that his love for sports manifested in the establishment of a Golf Academy and sponsorship of the annual Mark d’ ball basketball competition, which had attracted local and international athletes to Otukpo.
According to Mark, the establishment of Mark Mentors, a DSTV Premier League Basketball team, and APA United Football Club, a pro league team, are proof of his love and support for sports.
He stressed that these sports outfits would continue to exist through the Mark Scholarship and Sports Foundation whether he was dead or alive.
Mark said, “Nigerians are always united in sports, so this is my own way of lifting sports in Nigeria; my promise to you is that, even the Mark d’ ball competition will outlive me.
“We have sent five young boys to Scotland to represent Nigeria in golf competition and today, the golf academy is training over 300 boys. Our team, Mark Mentors, won the 2015 DSTV Premier Basketball League; and now in Otukpo, we have been able to raise a national champion in basketball.
“I assure you that in my lifetime, Otukpo people will play at the International level and at the National Basketball Association league in the United States.
“I will continue to support sports because it has kept us together and has provided opportunities for our young boys and girls to be useful to themselves and the nation.”
The former Senate President dismissed doubts on the hosting of the 2015 Mark d’ ball competition, saying that the event had come to stay, whether he was in the Senate or not.
He said, “There were lot of doubts whether we will sponsor this year’s event or not. Whether I am in the Senate or not, it makes no difference to me as far as encouraging young boys and girls are concerned.
“More players will be sponsored abroad through the foundation; it is a foundation which after I have completely gone will still be there. This is not a political arrangement because I was awarding scholarships to people before I joined politics and I am still doing it.”