A student of Jesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Master Oyindamola Aje, 16, has emerged winner of the second Interswitch SPAK National Science Competition.
The competition which held in stages in Lagos, saw him defeating eight other finalists in an intense quiz session to win the grand prize of N7.5 million worth of tertiary education scholarship which will spread over five years. He also smiled home with a laptop and a monthly stipend for the duration of the scholarship.
The first runner-up, Master Oluwatobi Ojo, 15, of Apt Scholars Universal College, Ogun State won N4 million worth of scholarship spread over three years; while the second runner-up, Onyekachi Madumere, 15, from Scholars Universal Secondary School, Ogun State, received N1 million worth of scholarship for one year.
In his remarks, after the announcement, Oyindamola said he wasn’t looking forward to the competition as he did not know what to expect knowing that he was competing against brilliant minds.
“I am very happy that I won the Interswitch SPAK 2.0 first prize. It has been a very long and exciting journey for me and I am grateful to God that I am the overall winner. I did not see this coming at all, but I’m very excited.”
He said he feels proud to be part of a project that is giving Nigerian students opportunities to use their talents and skills to impact the nation positively.
“I would like to use this opportunity to thank Interswitch for creating the Interswitch SPAK project and giving me this opportunity of a lifetime. I also want to thank my parents, teachers, friends and the other participants. My success today is as a result of their support, encouragement and challenge. I thank them all.”
The programme featured the presentation of the founder’s award to Team Earth; winners of the innovation challenge. The team, made up of nine SS2 students, collaborated to identify a problem in the agricultural value chain in Nigeria, proffered a solution, leveraging technology.
Each student alongside their mentors received a medal and a laptop. The nine students will also get a chance to participate in a two-week internship programme at Interswitch group head office in Lagos during the long school holidays.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director/Founder Interswitch Group, Miitchell Elegbe stressed the importance of science and technology to the Nigeria economy. “Consistently as a nation and even a continent, we will keep having challenges, I am therefore challenging all of you seated here today to develop an entrepreneurial mindset to face these challenges and overcome them.”
He appealed to the students to broaden and challenge their perspectives to think about the impact they can make in Nigeria using science and technology.
He also advised young graduates to develop and explore skills that can help them become entrepreneurs rather than job seekers.
“These are interesting times to be young and indeed to be an entrepreneur. With the huge advantage the internet portends, the increasing consciousness for mentorship and the plethora of success stories at your disposal, the Nigerian and African youths, cannot but rise up to the occasion. As a matter of fact, I believe you all can do it, at least the Interswitch SPAK has proven that, twice.”