Mark D’ Ball, Popular David Mark Sponsored Annual Basket Ball Fiesta Blocked by Benue Court
The annual Mark D’ Ball basketball tournament, music festival and sports clinic which, undoubtedly, is the most popular privately organized end of year sporting event holding in Benue state, and arguably around Nigeria, is looking like it would not be holding this December.
This is coming even as the organizers, Mark Sports Foundation, earlier announced that the 2016 edition would hold as scheduled. Indications that something was wrong came a few days ago when a court order was found placed on the fence walls of the Otukpo Club 1945, usual venue of the event. Apparently, one Edwin Owoicho, acting on behalf of Idoma Private Trust and the trustees of the Otukpo Club 1945, had gone before the Benue State High Court in Makurdi to get an injunction stopping Mark Sports Foundation from staging the annual Basket Ball event at the venue, pending the determination of the motion before the court.
Since the court order surfaced there have been several reactions by the event fans, members of the Otukpo Club 1945 and concerned citizens from the Idoma speaking parts of Benue state over the development. While some persons berated the actions of the so called Idoma Private Trust as retrogressive and a move aimed at taking away an economic and social opportunity for the people of Otukpo, others have added a political coloration to the matter, suggesting that the action may be sponsored by some political opponents of the former senate president. Top among politicians who have been fingered in the matter is Engr Benson Abounu, deputy governor of the state. Investigations revealed that Engr Abounu owns property just behind the event venue and has had more than one run-ins in the past with organizers of the event for obstruction of movements in and out of his property.
Supporters of the deputy governor have sought to clear him from any involvement in the matter, stating that he is not a party to the court action.
Investigations however revealed, surprisingly, that Mark Sports Foundation may have erred gravely by using the same venue for years now without any proper contract with the owners of the Otukpo Club 1945 or with the individual who claims he currently has a lease to the place and runs it. Very surprising. The owners of the Club may have just got tired of having such a mega event and money spinning venture taking place on their grounds year in year out without any form of compensation or rent payment, and decided to pull the plug on it abruptly.
The big questions left to be answered now lies with the show organizers, Mark Sports Foundation. What is their response to the court action? Will the popular event still hold? Why did they not do the right thing with securing the venue? Will the event be moved to a new venue? The last question seems to be the most practicable at the moment, considering that Senator Mark has unmatched influence in the area an is the owner of a lavish Golf Course in Otukpo as well, one would expect that an event he has interests in would not be dragged over venue, not even by a seemingly faceless Idoma Private Trust.