New Telegraph

Mike Okonkwo Foundation rewards essay competition winners

… receives over N365,000 cash prize, computers, others


Winners of the 17th Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition for Secondary School Students stood tall last week before a distinguished audience, comprising top government officials, elder statesmen, captains of industry and members of the academia, as well as members of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM) as they were crowned champions as this 2022 edition of the contest.


It was at the 21st Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, and award of prizes to the winners of the national essay competition, which took place at the Shell Zenith Bank Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos.


The theme of this year’s lecture was “Nigeria, A Country at War Against Itself: The Problems, Solutions and the Way Forward,” which was delivered by Prof. Anya O. Anya, while the event was chaired by Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (rtd).


The Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture and Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools, which are held on September 8, every year, was instituted the Mike Okonkwo Foundation to celebrate the birthday of the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Dr. Mike Okonkwo Ayeni Oluwanifemi Bright, a 15-year-old student of State Senior High School, GRA Ikeja, Lagos, led the pack as the overall winner.


To emerge as the champion, Ayeni scored 58 points in the first stage of the competition, 71 points in the second stage and 65 per cent overall. For her excellent performance, she received N100,000 cash prize, a personal laptop, a trophy and a plaque, while her school got three sets of computers.


Yekini Roqeed Abolaji, also a 15-year-old student of Ijegun Senior Comprehensive High School, Isolo Lagos, scored 59 and 68 in the first and second stage, respectively with 64 per cent overall to emerge in the second position; while 13-year-old Eneche Leila, a student of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Oregun,  Ikeja, Lagos, came third having scored 60 and 65 points in the first and second stage and 63 per cent overall.


For coming second, Yekini went home with a cheque of N75,000, a plaque and the school received two sets of computers, and Enecha smiled home with a cheque of N50,000, a plaque and the school got a computer set. The other seven winners of the competition, will each receive N20,000 consolation prize.


The topics of this year’s essay completion, which was in two stages, are: “Nigeria, A Country At War Against Itself: The Problems, The Solutions And The Way Forward,” and that of the second is: “2023 Election: A New Nigeria or a Descent Into Chaos.”


According to the Chief Examiner, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo, over a thousand entries were received from secondary schools across the federation. Ezeigbo, who was represented at the annual lecture and award presentation ceremony by Dr. Adaobi Muo, said the friendly topic clearly mapped out the structural expectations for the informed students, who responded by articulating their understanding of the Nigerian situation in ways that revealed their deep immersion in socio-political issues.

To select the finalists, she noted that the writers of the 10 best essays were invited to the second round of the competition.


Given the outcomes of this year’s results, she noted that the back-to-back scores of the winners showed the keen nature of the competition and the originality of the efforts put into it, while on the other hand, no contestant in the first three positions during the first round was able to hold their place.

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