Winners yesterday emerged in the National Essay Competition (NEC) of UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA).
The virtual ceremony that was attended by high school students from across the nation revealed that for the fourth consecutive year, females led the competition with14 year-old Eshiet Abasiekeme of Bright Stars Model Secondary School from Akwa-Ibom state taking home this year’s winning prize.
Eshiet received an educational grant of N2.5 million, to study in any African university of her choice. She will also be supported throughout her educational career and beyond with constant mentoring by the UBA Foundation.
The second prize was awarded to 14 year old Mofuluwake Adesanya of Spring Forte-Lead College, Lagos State, who won a N2 million educational grant, whilst the third prize of N1.5 million went to Abdulganiyy Habeeba, 16 years old. Abdulganiyy attends the International School, University of Lagos.
Eshiet and the 11 other finalists also won brand new lap tops.
In his opening remarks, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, commended all 12 finalists, saying UBA was happy to be touching lives and making a solid impact through its NEC, which is now in its 10th edition.
He was very pleased about the fact that more females again came out tops this year, adding that notwithstanding the constraints and challenges of 2020, the Foundation received the highest number of entries ever, at over 12,000 digital submissions.
Uzoka who is also the Chairman, UBA Foundation added, “The NEC has been changing lives positively for 10 years, and we have awarded scholarships to students not just in Nigeria but in other parts of Africa like Ghana, Sierra Leone and Senegal. Some of these students are already graduates and contributing meaningfully to their communities.
“To all 12 of you that have emerged finalists, I would like to congratulate you. If out of 12,000 entries you were able to make it to the top 12, which represents about 0.12 per cent of the entries. You are no doubt, already a winner.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director/CEO of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, applauded all the participants for their exceptional brilliance.
She explained that the Foundation had taken into consideration the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on lives and incomes across board and had increased the prize money by 33 per cent this year to help cushion any negative or inflationary effects.
Emphasising the driving force behind the annual competition, she said, “We are passionate about the annual NEC because it changes lives and helps to improve the quality of lives of students and their families.
“The NEC helps to improve the quality of writing and competitiveness amongst students. We have launched in more African countries this year and would have launched the initiative in 20 countries by the end of 2021. It is not just about writing essays, the ripple effect is really quite enormous, and we are glad that it is cascading to other countries where we operate.”
UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition is an initiative under the Education pillar of the Foundation. Now in its tenth year, the aim of the NEC is to ensure that more African youths have access to education.