Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
A Senior Secondary Two (SS2) female student of Kpakiama Secondary School in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, Miss Didikemien, has emerged as the overall winner in the Senior Category of the 2018 Chris Ikomi Memorial Annual Essay Competition initiated seventeen years ago by the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture.
The young girl distinguished herself as the most ousting in the competition by beating thousands of other students who participated in the 17th edition of the competition and was among the six award winners, three each in the junior and senior categories, at an impressive ceremony held at the conference hall of the Olorodun Ibru Secretariat Complex, Asaba.
Miss Didikemien also wowed the audience in the hall with her public reading of the original essay she entered for the competition based on the theme of the theme of the 2017 Ikomi essay competition, â€œThe Nigerian Spiritâ€, which she described as perfectly elastic, indomitable and remarkably creative in practically all circumstances.
Similarly, female students dominated the list of winners at the 15th edition of the competition in 2016 with only one male student among the six winners out of over 4,500 participants.
Whereas 1,100 participated in the 2017 edition of the competition, a total of 2,352 students participated in this yearâ€™s Ikomi Memorial Annual Essay Competition.
While commending the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture for sustaining the competition instituted in 2001 to immortalise a staff of the company who was killed in active service, the Delta State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Chiedu Ebie, expressed delight at the increased number of participants in the Chris Ikomi Essay Competition.
From a total of 2,352 entries for the 2017 edition, â€œ150 progressed to the final stage while six students distinguished themselvesâ€, qualifying for the award and prizes, Ebie revealed, adding, â€œThe final result shows that the winners of both the Junior categories are from five local government areas spread across the three senatorial districts of the state including Bomadi, Ndokwa East, Ika South, Oshimili South and Udu.â€
â€œThe success of any programme is its sustainability which has been demonstrated by the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture since the inception of the competition in 2001â€, Ebie noted, â€œI thank the sponsors for their thoughtfulness, doggedness and commitment towards the sustainability of the competition.â€
On the theme of the 2017 Ikomi essay competition, â€œThe Nigerian Spiritâ€, the education commissioner said, â€œThe Nigerian Spirit is the spirit that refuses to give up even in the face of adversity. The rampage, kidnappings, child abuse and other social vices occurring daily across the country do not reflect the true Nigerian Spirit of peace and love for our nation and one another. The Nigerian Spirit transcends ethnic divide, it breaks barriers through resilience, dynamism and entrepreneurship. This is the path we must follow to advance ourselves and together build the nation.â€
Earlier, the General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA) of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Esimaje Brikinn, reiterated the objective of the competition in honouring Ikomi and expressed delight at the growing number of participants in the annual competition, while harping on the commitment of the oil giant to the advancement of education and learning in the country.
Brikinn, who was represented by one of Chevronâ€™s PGPA Superintendents, Mr. Tony Emegere, said, â€œWe have demonstrated this commitment to qualitative education over the years through investments in education infrastructure, sponsorship of manpower development programmes and provision of scholarships.
â€œWe are aware of the great interest secondary school students are showing in the study of English Language in Delta State. Although, only a few students can be accommodated for this ceremony, hundreds of students turn in entries every year and are stimulated to take deeper interest in the subject. Also, we have been receiving feedback on the excellent performance from former winners of the competition at national essay competitions.
â€œThis essay competition is aimed at promoting the study of English Language usage among students in public and private secondary schools in Delta State, to boost fluency by means of articulated words and opinions excellently, in English language. It also aims to promote reflective thinking and creative writing among the youths,â€ he added.