By Yinka Kolawole
The Osun State Governor, Adegboyega Oyetola has described education as a harmonious training of physical, mental and social capabilities of individuals and pledged to see that every individual in the state is given a holistic education that will make him productive in the immediate environment.
Also, the Commissioner for Regional Integration and Special Duties, Olalekan Badmus urged youths to embrace academic excellence for the development of the state and the nation.
The governor said this in Osogbo at the presentation of prizes to winners of the 60th Independence Day Essay Competition, organised by the Ministry of Regional Integration and Special Duties titled ‘Moving Ahead Post Corona Virus Pandemic- Impacts and Prospects of COVID-19 on Economy’.
He charged governments at all levels to invest in education as pivot to sustainable growth and development in the society.
Oyetola, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Benedict Alabi, said the state is ready to initiate programmes and policies that will showcase its potential while adding value to the citizenry.
In his remarks, Badmus lauded the commitment of the participants to the programme targeted at rewarding academic excellence.
He said 20 finalists were shortlisted from the 756 entries, from 40 participating institutions, adding that the competition is geared towards fulfilling Oyetola’s mandate of making the education sector the toast of others in the country.
“The ministry was created for innovation. We are glad that these set of participants have distinguished themselves in academics. We want the world to know that those who excel in their academics deserve to be honoured too. We want to make this a platform where students will excel and win big to encourage others to face their studies
He said the Ministry of Regional Integration and Special Duties received 756 entries from 40 participating institutions, both private and public schools.
The essay contest according to the commissioner, was open for two weeks, which kicked-off on September 11 and ended September 25, 2020, with 265 females and 414 males, including 74 other entries without traceable information.
He said the topic was carefully chosen in a way to rejuvenate the fallen art and skill in reading and writing culture, which is dwindling in various higher institutions, thus stimulating healthy and intellectual discussion.
Badmus commended the governor for allowing the ministry to execute the laudable programme.
Also, the Editor of Saturday Tribune, Dr. Lasisi Olagunju charged youths in the country to always be focussed in their various engagements to be able to influence their immediate environments.
The editor, who was one of the panelists at the prize presentation, added that being focussed would equip them and get them prepared for the reality of life.
Olagunju who pointed out that the ability to speak or write alone could not determine the progress of one in life, charged youths to be determined and optimistic to be able to define their scopes in life and face their challenges squarely.
He commended those who participated in the exercise and charged them to maintain the tempo, saying that they should also try their best to add value to their fellow human beings.
While appealing to local government chairmen present at the occasion to emulate the state government on the essay competition by organising such in their respective areas, Olagunju said by so doing, the youths would be motivated towards pacesetting achievements in life.
Speakers at the event including the Head of Service, Dr. Olowogboyega Oyebade; Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Mr. Yemi Lawal; Dr. Lasisi Olagunju, among others stressed the need for students to always strive to be pacesetters in academics and other fields of endeavour.
Abosede Oyinlola, a 23-year-old 500 level Chemical Engineering Student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, came first in the competition winning a laptop, N300,000, a plot of land and a router.
In second place was Stella Ademuyin from Adeleke University, Ede, who got a laptop, N150,000, Samsung J6 Phone, Airtel mi-fi, while Sheriff Adelu from OAU came third receiving a tablet, N100,000, Samsung J6 Phone, an Imose BamII Phone, among other prizes.
Other 17 participants went home with N25,000 each.