NNPC/Chevron Rewards Students’ Art Prowess

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Uchechukwu Nnaike

With his painting titled ‘Smart Agriculture’, a senior secondary two (SS2) student of Redeemed Peoples Academy, Jos, Plateau State, Francis Nanribet, has emerged the winner of this year’s National Art Competition for Nigerian Secondary Schools for the senior category.

In the junior category, a JS2 student of UNIBEN Demonstration Secondary School, Edo State, Gift Ogbomo emerged winner. Both winners were awarded an educational grant of N100,000 each, to be renewed annually till the end of their secondary education.

The first and second runners-up in each category were awarded N75,000 and N65,000 respectively, also to be renewed annually till they complete their secondary education.

The competition with the theme ‘Advancing Nigeria through Technology’ is being organised annually by the joint venture between the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and Chevron Nigeria Limited (NNPC/CNL JV), in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education since 2005.

Among other objectives, it seeks to promote creativity in the Nigerian child; use art to achieve patriotism about Nigeria from early stages of youth development; create early awareness on social matters and values in Nigeria; and demonstrate Chevron’s commitment to youth development.

Speaking at the prize-giving ceremony in Lagos recently, the Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Jeff Ewing, commended the Federal Ministry of Education, the NNPC and other stakeholders for their steady commitment to the project over the past 14 years, adding that the competition is an investment that is aimed at improving the lives of the youths as it enables students to think outside the box, move beyond boundaries and seek different ways to proffer solutions.

While highlighting the importance of art, he said, “the more we motivate these young ones to recreate their beautiful and thought-provoking imaginations in a visible form, the more they grow to become problem solvers for our society because problem-solving requires creative thinking.

“A knowledge economy is a winning economy; every nation needs creative minds to continually move forward and break boundaries. It is in this regard that this year’s edition of the National Art Competition was themed ‘Advancing Nigeria through Technology’ to stimulate the creative and problem-solving goldmine in our Nigerian kid-artists.

For our nation to move forward we need the minds of our kids to be stretched to the point where they begin to undertake challenges as champs. This will lead to a better Nigeria.

While acknowledging the strides being made by past winners in their respective endeavours, adding that the competition has helped some of the past winners believe more in their artistic capability, Ewing applauded the increasing acceptance level of the competition and the quality of works submitted, saying, “the quality of work we receive every year shows we have great talents in Nigeria.”

He also thanked the adjudication panel that carefully considered the numerous entries and selected the final winners; the participants for the courage they displayed; the parents who provided a balanced environment for the winners to develop their art craft and are providing continuous support and encouragement; as well as the teachers who have guided them on the right path and helped shape their minds to express the full extents of their artistic prowess.

In his remarks, the Group General Manager, NAPIMS, Mr. Musa Lawan thanked the NNPC/Chevron joint venture which in partnership with the government and other stakeholders, has made the yearly event possible, adding that the education support strategy has been significant to enhancing access to education for all Nigerians. “This project has contributed to an increase in participation in fine art among our children and a rising interest of the public to art appreciation. I urge us to continue to nurture and sustain this partnership.”

While congratulating the winners, he said they have shown that the country can be advanced through technology through their various work. “I have faith in you that you will continually excel in the field of art.”

Also speaking, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu thanked the NNPC/Chevron for sponsoring the competition, saying that the project from inception has enjoyed an undivided attention and support from the ministry because “we believe strongly in the achievement and future of every child knowing completely well that art education is a necessary piece of human and societal development at large.

“To consistently make progress in art as a nation, we must coach our children to think creatively and become champions, not simply preparing them to end up good employees. Consequently, we require a rich and enormous curriculum for art that exposes our children to all essential-fundamental knowledge they need that will enable them to make noteworthy impression in the field of art. This competition is one of those things that would empower the enthusiasm of art in the minds of our champions and broaden their minds, empowering them to be more creative.”