15-year-old Eziaku Esther wins UBA Foundation’s 2021 essay competition

Eziaku Esther, a student of His Grace High School, Enugu State, on Tuesday emerged the overall winner with the best essay at the 11th edition of the annual National Essay Competition (NEC) organised by UBA Foundation.

The grand finale was held at the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre, UBA House, Marina Lagos, in a ceremony that was well-attended by students, staff and parents.

It was the fifth consecutive year the girls would be clinching the best prize. Eziaku beat 11 other finalists selected from over 7,000 entries received digitally by the UBA Foundation from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.

The 15-year-old won an educational grant of N3 million to study at any African university of her choice. She also received a brand-new state-of the-art laptop and many other educational tools from the UBA Foundation. She will be supported throughout her educational career and beyond with constant mentoring by the UBA Foundation.

Eziaku, who was escorted to the event by her mother, Joy Eziaku, said she was excited to have come top in the competition, adding that the experience has bolstered her confidence.

“I am so grateful to UBA Foundation for this grand opportunity. it was not very easy as I had to study hard and conduct a lot of research, but I am happy that it paid off for me. This opportunity has changed my life, made me want to learn more, read more and to aspire to be a better person and I really appreciate the UBA and the UBA Foundation for this,” she said.

Nduka Chukwuemeka, 17, of Oxfords International School, Abia State came second. He won a N2,500,000 educational grant and a laptop; while the third prize of N2,000,000 and a brand new laptop went to 15-year old Hajarat Abdulwahab of Addy Basic School, Kano. The other nine finalists also received brand new laptops as well as consolation prizes, including books and other learning materials.

In his remarks, the managing director/chief executive officer of UBA Plc Kennedy Uzoka said UBA as a bank is happy that it has been touching lives and making a solid impact through the UBA Foundation, adding that the annual competition which is in its 11th year, has produced hundreds of winners, some of who have long graduated from higher schools and have been impacting their communities.

He said, “Like we did last year, we again increased the prizes to match the rising cost of living. Over the years, we have been assured that we are doing something very unique and truly African, and this is why the initiative is for those who wish to study in Africa, because we are proud of our continent.”

MD/CEO, UBA Foundation Bola Atta, whilst congratulating the winners, commended them for their exceptional brilliance. “Every student who sent in an entry is a winner. To be confident about your writing skills and ambitious enough to enter a competition to further enhance your educational path is laudable. For those that did not win, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter for the competition again next year,” she said.

According to Atta, UBA Foundation, being the CSR arm of UBA Plc, makes it a point of duty to give back to communities where UBA operates.

The essay competition has been rolled out to other African countries including Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea, with plans for more footprints in 2022.