Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
A total of 20 students from some secondary schools across the country have won various cash prizes in this year’s National Arts Competition (NAC), organised annually by Chevron Nigeria Limited in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education.
Aside the winning participants, teachers from many schools whose students featured in the competition and art exhibition were also rewarded during the grand finale held in Asaba, Delta State.
The overall winners in the junior and senior categories were rewarded with N100,000 cash prize each, while 18 others received various consolation prizes with the first and second runners-up receiving between N75,000 and N65,000 each.
The cash prize for the champion would be in the form of scholarship for the rest of his/her secondary education. In addition, the runners-up and other top performers will receive one-off cash prizes.
Miss Edith Atakere, a junior secondary two (JS2) student of Landmark University Secondary School, Kwara State, emerged the winner in the junior category, while Miss Chioma Azike, a senior secondary three (SS3) student of Charles Dale Memorial International School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State emerged winner in the senior category.
In his remarks, the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, commended Chevron for its exemplary commitment to its corporate social responsibility including educational and youth development programmes as well as other projects established for its host communities through GMoU initiatives.
Okowa, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kingsley Otuaro, stated that the place of creative arts in the society cannot be over-emphasized especially at this time in the country when diversification of the economy is the watch word.
While harping on the numerous entrepreneurial programmes of his administration, as well as educational development particularly in the area of technical education, Okowa said, “well-meaning observers must admit that Delta State Government is embarking on these, among others because of the high premium it places on transforming its citizenry, especially its youths from waste to wealth through commitment of scarce resources in these economically challenging times.
“I should state however that even in the best of economic times, it is not easy for any government to achieve all its inspirations. Hence, governments seek private sector partnerships in a bid to add value to its citizens and build prosperous societies.”
Earlier Chevron’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Mr. Deji Haastrup said the company’s social investments across at least 26 states “cut across education, health and economic empowerment.
“Over the years, Chevron has continued to support the education sector in Nigeria positively through such interventions as the yearly provision of thousands of scholarships to Nigerian students both in secondary and tertiary institutions; infrastructural support including classrooms, libraries, laboratories, sports facilities and sponsorship of competitions and programmes.”
Haastrup added: “In 2015 alone, the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture spent about N186 million on about 2,406 student beneficiaries of our various scholarship schemes while over N250 million was given to Regional Development Committees (RDCs)- a closure of communities close to CNL’s operations – which signed Global Memorandum of Understanding with NNPC/Chevron for scholarship scheme administered by the RDCs.”
He said the 11-year-old arts exhibition and competition was designed to arouse in students the necessary passion towards a possible career in fine and creative arts, which could boost the country’s quest for job creation.
“The initiative is also aimed at creating an avenue for the students to discover their potential especially in the field of creative arts, which would arouse in them passion to become future entrepreneurs rather than white-collar job seekers.”