Essay Contest: 15-Year Old Gets N5m UBA Foundation Scholarship

Funmi Ogundare

Excitement rented the air yesterday as Miss Otong Usungobong Paul, a 15-year old Federal Government Girls College, Ikot Obio-Itong, Akwa-Ibom State, student was announced winner of UBA Foundation national essay competition 2022.

She got a scholarship worth N5,000,000 to study in any African university of her choice.

This year’s topic was centred around the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ strike.

The competition now in its 12th year has the objective of ensuring that students in secondary schools are able to convey their ideas and express themselves through writing.

Paul also got a brand new laptop computer, trophy, plaque and school bag. The competition which was judged by a panel based on expression of ideas, mechanical accuracy, originality and organisation, saw her beating 11 other participants out of over 5,000 entries received by the foundation from students of senior secondary schools across the country.

Miss Princess Sholabomi, 15-years old, of Value Spring College, Lagos, won a N3,000,000 educational grant and a laptop; while the third prize of N2,500,000 and a brand-new laptop computer, went to Sharon Nwajiaku, 15, of Ota Total Academy, Ogun State.

The other 9 finalists, which included only a boy, also received laptop computers, as well as consolation prizes.

The Chairman of UBA Foundation, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka who spoke virtually, at the grand finale held in Lagos, noted that the competition was established 12 years ago with the objectives of ensuring that students in secondary school are able to convey their ideas and express themselves through writing.

This year’s topic, he noted was apt and necessitated by the prolonged strike action embarked on by ASUU, and the need for the students to proffer solutions to the problem.

He stated that so far, the foundation had given scholarship to 60 students who are doing well in different fields of human endeavor.

He commended the finalists for their feat, saying ” you are expected to be good ambassadors of UBA and anywhere you go.”

A Prof of Literature -in-English, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Asabe Kabir, who headed the panel of judges in an interview with journalists, expressed concern over the negative influence of social media, saying it had led to plagiarism among the students.

She said the panel was excited about this year’s topic and that they expected the students to proffer solutions to the ASUU strike.

According to her, ” How do they want to go into the university without interruption? We got very good responses, but there were still some who diverted and did not hit the nail on the head.”

The Chief Executive Officer, UBA, Mr. Oliver Alawuba reiterated the bank’s commitment to leverage the competition so that the youths could improve on their skills for the benefit of the world.

“As a bank, we are interested in empowering our youths and preparing them for the future. We believe that 65 per cent of our population are youths and they will change the African narrative and ensure that the resources translate to economic development of the people,” he added.

Miss Paul who expressed excitement about her feat, said the experience bolstered her confidence.

“I am so grateful to UBA Foundation for this great opportunity. It has helped me to believe in myself and bolstered my confidence. This scholarship will go a long way towards assisting in my dream to become an ophthalmologist. This opportunity has changed my life and I really appreciate the foundation for this,” she said.

Related Articles