By Olubusuyi Adenipekun
TWENTY secondary school students, whose artistic works were adjudged as outstanding out of the 216 students who submitted entries for this year’s NNPC/Chevron Art competition, were honoured with plaques and mouth-watering monetary reward during the exhibition/prize-giving ceremony which held recently at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja.
While Chibuzor Achukwu, an SS3 student of Igwebuike Grammar School, Awka, who emerged the overall winner of this year’s edition of the competition, smiled home with a plaque and N100,000 cash. Susan Avarobe and Precious Kalu who are students of the Ifako International Secondary School, Lagos emerged 1st and 2nd runners-up respectively.
They won N75,000 and N50,000 each with plaques. Achukwu’s winning painting was titled: ‘Unbreakable Spirit of Nigeria’.
The prizes received by these winners are in form of scholarships for the rest of their secondary education while the runners-up got one-off consolatory cash prizes. The theme for the competition is titled: “Nigeria, Our Land, our Pride,’ which was chosen to commemorate the golden jubilee of Nigeria and to ignite the spirit of nationalism among the Nigerian youths.
The Chairman/Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr. Andrew Fawthrop, who was represented at the awards ceremony by Chevron’s General Manager, (Policy, Government and Public Affairs), Engr. Femi Odumabo said the company’s investment in children and the youth is an expression of its commitment to corporate social responsibility, adding that the company’s interface with children is implemented across different levels of their growth, from infancy to adulthood, to ensure that they are well rounded as individuals and as a group.
Mr. Fawthrop explains that the art competition aligns with the company’s goals of stimulating high performance by promoting the spirit of healthy competition among the youths.
He added that Chevron has provided classrooms, hostels, libraries, infrastructures and has also donated books, computers, science equipment, reiterating that the joint venture sponsors community scholarship and national university scholarship schemes as well as the special scholarship for the blind, with no fewer than 10,00 students currently benefiting.
According to him, the joint venture also sponsors competitions to promote the learning of science and arts, including the Awokoya Memorial Competition in Chemistry and Chris Ikomi essay competition in Delta State.
The art competition is sponsored by Chevron in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education. Mr. Fawthrop’s wife, Gillian, who was present at the occasion as well as the representative of the Registrar of JAMB, Mrs Aisha Dahiru commended the various artistic works submitted by the students from across the country, with the Minister of Education, Prof. Ruqayyatu Rufai explaining that her ministry’s consistent support for the project in the last five years is as a result of its focus on the youths.
Represented by the Director of Basic and Secondary Education, Alhaji Garba Bello, Rufai said: “The arts are the driving forces behind other learning and recent researches have shown that the arts promote the development of valuable human neurobiological systems. A holistic education therefore goes beyond teaching our students hard facts and computer science.
She commended Chevron’s commitment to the growth of education in general and art education in particular in Nigeria, saying, “we appreciate the scholarship scheme and other educational and vocational support projects that the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture has been running over the years. We cannot forget the Science Teachers’ Scheme in the Niger Delta.
Through this scheme, the joint venture has provided funding as incentives to get youth corp members to work in remote places in the Niger Delta.”
The General Manager, NAPIMS, Mr. M. Fiddi also commended the project, saying, ‘by nurturing these children from an early age, they would grow into such legends as Ben Enwonwu, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Ndidi Dike, Mike Omoighe, Yusuf Grillo and Yemisi Shyllon among other great Nigerian artists.