It was an all-female affair as 15-year old Samuella Sam-Orlu of British Nigerian Academy, Abuja, emerged the overall winner of the 2017 edition of the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition, winning an educational grant of N1,000,000.00 to study in any African university of her choice, as well as a laptop.
Samuella clinched the first position at the grand finale, which was held in Lagos on Monday, ahead of 11 other finalists selected from over 1,000 entries received by the UBA Foundation from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.
A visibly elated Samuella, who was escorted by her guardian, Mrs. Jacqueline Uzoadibe said that winning the competition would propel her to do more in attaining her dreams of becoming a Medical Director.
The second prize was bagged by Deborah Chinwendu Innocent aged 15 of Enal International Schools Abuja, who won N750,000 educational grant and a laptop while the third prize went to Yahofon Ettah Essien of Nigerian Christian Institute Akwa Ibom State, coveting a N500,000 educational grant and a laptop. The other 9 finalists were given laptops. All 12 finalists also went home with certificates.
In his remark, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said that UBA as a bank was happy to touch lives through this competition and the grant it gives out to those who emerge winners.
â€œSeeing past winners tell their stories on the impact the grants have made on their education and particularly how the financial burden was lifted off their parents, gives us joy that our foundation is unique and stands out from others in touching lives,â€ Uzoka added.
He informed the gathering made up of parents, students and media that the essay competition had produced over 100 winners, since its inception in 2011 in Nigeria, with winners studying varied courses in universities in Nigeria and within the African continent.
â€œI must also state here that we want to make sure that the grants are given to those who really need it. That is why we restrict the grant to schools within Africa alone. If by chance the parents of any winner sends his or her ward to an elite school outside Africa, we would not go ahead with that support, because what we are really after are those who need the grant as we contribute to the development of Africa,â€ Uzoka said.