Winners of Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition Emerge

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Peace Obi

A student of Zamani College, Kaduna, Miss. Fadilah Saliu-Ahmed has emerged winner of the 13th Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary School Students in the country.

Saliu-Ahmed, who maintained the same grade level in the first and second phases of the competition, scored 75 per cent to clinch the first position in the competition that received 846 entries.

While the second position went to Miss Barakat Adebayo of Roshallom International School Egbeda, Lagos, Miss
Wuraola Adeoye of Fountain Height Secondary School, Lagos finished as the third position. Miss. Oluchi Onyenso of Corona

Secondary School, Agbara came fourth.
Moradeyo Olaitan of Fountain Height Secondary School, Lagos came fifth. The sixth and seventh positions went to Master Nathaniel Brown of Ritman College Ikot Epkene, Akwa-Ibom State and Master Ibe Solomon of Township Comprehensive Secondary School, Amaifeke, Imo State respectively.

Disclosing some of the distinguishing factors that made the judges consider Saliu-Ahmed as the winner, the Chief Examiner, Professor T.A Ezeigbo said “Saliu-Ahmed wrote with tact in a natural and effortless way. Her expressive ability and the application of necessary grammatically disposition made her the first prize winner for this year’s competition.

“We had 846 entries for the 13th edition of the competition. The organisers introduced a filtering procedure and quality enhancement mechanisms, which ensured that only good and assessable essays got to the judges for evaluation. So, in the first round of the competition, we adjudged seven contestants as being suitable to proceed to the onehour written test intended to confirm the integrity of their submissions.”

Highlighting the impact the newly introduced mechanisms had on the competition, Ezeigbo said, “this year, cases of copying, collaboration and plagiarism that regularly characterised the exercise in preceding years was significantly reduced.”

The chief examiner added that the topic for the second round of the competition was ‘Adopting and Practicing Tolerance as a Core Value in Nigeria’ and that it was closely related to the overall theme of the year. He said the second phase of the competition, which had just the seven finalists assemble at the TREM headquarters in Lagos afforded the contestants the opportunity to meet and make new friends. This he said was unlike what was previously obtained where all the contestants travelled from different parts of the country to the TREM headquarters for the second phase.

Announcing that prizes would be presented to the winners at this year’s Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture on September 1 at Shell Hall of the MUSON Centre, Lagos, he said Saliu-Ahmed will get a cheque of N100,000, a laptop, a plaque, while the school will get three sets of computer and a printer.

The second prize winner will get a cheque of N75,000, a plaque and the school will get two sets of computer and a printer; the third position will be rewarded with a cheque of N50,000, a plaque and theschool will get a computer set. The fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh candidates will get consolation prizes of N20,000 each.

The competition, initiated in 2004 as part of activities marking the birthday of the Presiding Bishop of TREM, Dr. Mike Okonkwo is said to be Okonkwo’s contribution to the development of education in the country.

“Dr. Mike Okonkwo has continued in this gesture for the past 13 years using his God-given talent, strength and resources to be a blessing to the younger generation in the pursuit of academic excellence by encouraging them to cultivate the habit of reading and writing effectively.”