Uchechukwu Nnaike

UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has announced call for entries for the 2017 edition of its annual National Essay Competition.

The competition is aimed at encouraging healthy and intellectual competition among secondary school students in Nigeria. The foundation said this year’s topic is meant to arouse students’ creative and critical thinking skills. Students are expected to ‘select a popular new technology or application and write an instruction manual for your grandparents on how to use it, and how to get the most value out of it’.

Briefing journalists in Lagos, the Chief Executive Officer of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, said the competition, which is open to all senior secondary school students across the country, provides an opportunity for the students to win prizes in form of educational grants, which will help them realise their goals in life.

“We are well aware that if you help get one child educated, you help support an entire family as that child will eventually impact his entire family.

“The competition is a key aspect of our investment drive in human capital and we will continue to sustain the exercise. Education is very strategic to us as an institution and we are more than committed to keeping it that way.”

Atta added that each year, the bank donates books to students in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, under the ‘Read Africa’ initiative to encourage and promote the reading culture in secondary schools. “We are driven by the mantra ‘do well do good’. We would not relent in our efforts at touching lives through our various projects and initiatives.”

According to her, the first prize for the essay competition is a N1 million educational grant for the winner to study in any African university of his or her choice. The second and third prizes are N750,000 and N500,000 educational grants respectively.

She explained that the competition is part of the foundation’s initiative to promote creative and analytical thinking among senior secondary students in Nigeria and across Africa and a follow up on its Read Africa initiative, which promotes the reading culture among students through mentoring and free distribution of Africa literary classics in secondary schools.

The national essay competition is also held in Ghana and Senegal. Entries received for the competition will be reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges made up of professors from reputable Nigerian universities, who will then shortlist 12 best essays for further assessment. A second round of the competition will involve the 12 finalists who will write a second supervised essay from which three best essays will be selected. “Three best essays will be selected as the overall winners from 12 finalists that will emerge from the first round of the competition,” Atta said.

Also Speaking, the Deputy CEO, Anglophone Africa, Ebele Ogbue, said knowledge is power and the only effective way to transform Africa is through education. “Undoubtedly, the future of any nation rests on the younger generation. Hence, the legacy passed on by the preceding generation could make a nation. Therefore, investing in their future of the youths is key to redeeming the economy for the collective good that is why UBA’s support of education across Africa is relentless.”

As a the CSR platform of the UBA Group, UBA Foundation embodies the group’s CSR objectives and seeks to impact positively on the society through a number of laudable projects and initiatives.