Ten girls emerged winners in the final of the annual UBA Foundation National Essay Competition (NEC) held on Tuesday.
There were a total of 12 winners in the competition organised by the CSR arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA).
The virtual ceremony was attended by high school students from across Nigeria.
The UBA Foundation’s education initiative has been changing lives for a decade as the tertiary education scholarship programme continues to impact the lives of many students and their communities.
For the fourth consecutive year, females led the competition with14-year-old Eshiet Abasiekeme of Bright Stars Model Secondary School in Akwa-Ibom State taking home the winning prize.
Eshiet received an educational grant of N2,500,000 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.
Eshiet, who joined the virtual event from her base in Akwa Ibom, could not contain her excitement as she heard the announcement that she had won the first prize of the NEC 2020.
“I feel honoured to be the winner of this year’s NEC, and I want to appreciate UBA and UBA Foundation as this will help towards my dream of becoming a lawyer,” she said proudly, expressing that she would like to go to the University in Uyo in her home state.
The second prize was awarded to 14-year-old Mofuluwake Adesanya of Spring Forte-Lead College Lagos State, who won a N2,000,000 educational grant, whilst the third prize of N1,500,000 went to Abdulganiyy Habeeba, 16 years old.
Abdulganiyy attends the International School, University of Lagos.
Eshiet and the 11 other finalists, took home their brand-new laptop computers to enable them continue to work competitively in a world that is rapidly becoming fully digitalised.
Congratulating all the winners at the final event of the competition, managing director/CEO of UBA Foundation Bola Atta applauded all the participants for their exceptional brilliance.
Atta 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.”
Also speaking at the opening of the event, group managing director/chief executive officer of UBA Plc Kennedy Uzoka commended all 12 finalists, expressing that UBA was happy to be touching lives and making a solid impact through its National Essay Competition, which is now in its 10th edition.
Mr Uzoka was very pleased about the fact that more females again came out tops this year, adding that notwithstanding the constraints and challenges of 2020, UBA Foundation received the highest number of entries ever with over 12,000 digital submissions.
Uzoka, who is also the chairman of UBA Foundation said “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, that represents about 0.12% of the entries. You are no doubt, already a winner.”