12-Year-Old mPulse Spelling Bee Winner Resumes as MTN’s One-Day CEO

Funmi Ogundare 

A student of Intimacy with Christ Secondary School, Nasarawa State, Master Daniel Victor Nkanu, 12, was recently announced as the honorary One-Day CEO of MTN Nigeria following his success at the 2023 MTN mPulse Spelling Bee competition, a self-development proposition designed to promote digital literacy and academic excellence among students.

Nkanu, who out-spelled over 30,000 participants, attends the same school as last year’s winner, showcasing the school’s consistent commitment to nurturing such talent.

In addition to his honorary CEO title, he was awarded a N2.5 million scholarship, a laptop, a smartphone, and an MTN goody bag. His English teacher and school also received a N500,000 grant and modern ICT devices, respectively, acknowledging their integral role in his success.

With a confident stride, Nkanu stepped into the shoes of Karl Toriola at the helm of Africa’s largest telecommunications network.

As CEO, he engaged with members of MTN Nigeria’s executive team. He also met with journalists, where he confidently discussed key initiatives, including unveiling additional mPulse education data bundles.

Speaking with journalists, he expressed excitement about his feat, saying, “I am honoured to be here today. Leading Nigeria’s largest telecommunications company, even just for today, is a very special experience for me, and I want to thank my family, my teachers and everyone who cheered me on while I prepared for this competition. I look forward to learning a lot.”

The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Mr Karl Toriola, who welcomed Nkanu during the symbolic handover, described him as one who has become a symbol of “what we strive to achieve: a future where young Nigerians lead the way in technology, innovation, and social progress.”

He stated that Nkanu’s presence at the office for a day was a reminder of the responsibility the organisation carries and the opportunities it can create.

“His journey is a message from MTN to every young Nigerian: we see your potential, we hear your voices, and we believe that you have the power to shape a better, more inclusive tomorrow. Initiatives like the Spelling Bee and the ‘One-Day CEO’ are our way of saying, we believe in you and are committed to providing platforms for you to shine, learn, and become the leaders of tomorrow.” 

The Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Nigeria, Adia Sowho, reflected on the significance of the initiative while expressing delight in recognising Nkanu’s hard-earned victory. 

“His success is a collective triumph for his family, school, teachers, and all of us who believe in the power of education,” she stated.

The Chief Human Resources Officer at MTN Nigeria, Esther Akinnukawe, said, “Today has been not only significant but also deeply inspiring. It’s heartening to see the impact of our initiatives on students like Daniel and the wider community. 

“At MTN, we see investing in young people as a strategic investment in our nation’s future. By nurturing young minds, we are building a generation of leaders who will drive human capital development and socio-economic growth.”

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