By Dayo Adesulu
“RESEARCHERS have shown that skills learned through participation in the visual arts help to equip youth for the challenges they will face in shaping the future.” This position of Elliot Eisner, an Art education researcher informed why Chevron in partnership with NNPC deviated from their usual sponsorship of science students and organized national art competition for Nigerian secondary schools for ten years.
This year, from about 600 students from both public and private schools who put in for the national competition, only ten scaled through to the final stage. In the 2015 award and exhibition ceremony at the Muson Centre, Lagos, first second and third place winners of the junior and senior categories got NNPC/Chevron sponsorship throughout their secondary school education.
They will enjoy financial support of N100,000, N75,000 and N65,000 respectively every year throughout their secondary school education.
Thus, in the junior category, Master Abel Joshua, from Oto Awori Junior Grammar School, Lagos Badagry Expressway, Master Udonsi Joshua, from Hallel College Boarding, Rukpokwu, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and Master Hodonu Mawuton Godwin, from Beulah Comprehensive College, Badagry, Lagos emerged first, second and third, respectively.
While, in the senior category, Master Ukaegbu Christopher, from Hallel College Boarding, Port Harcourt, River State, Master Egbebub Onyedikachi, Ketu, Lagos and Imini Wilson, Federal Government College, Keffi Nassarawa emerged first, second and third, respectively.
Speaking at the Art exhibition and prize giving ceremony, the Chairman/Managing Director, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr Clay Neff said: “The sponsorship of the competition is in line with Chevron’s vision of helping Nigeria lay a foundation of creative and productive youths, who, by virtue of their education can stand tall among their peers in any part of the world.”
Neff, represented by the Director, Gas, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr Steve Freeman described Art as the vehicle through which Chevron is challenging youths to develop problem solving and team building skills while not losing their competitive dispositions.
Going down memory lane, Neff said, in 2015 when Chevron set out to organize the maiden edition of the competition, it had no doubt that it will succeed, adding, “we knew that Nigeria is blessed with talented young men and women. “Our sponsorship is also aimed at giving participants the opportunity to express their multiple perspectives of our environment as there are many ways to see and interpret the world and hone their skills.”
He disclosed that its passion to see Nigerian youths develop in every area of education further informs the support of Chevron to the Musical Society of Nigeria’s (MUSON) annual festival. He said: “The theme of this year’s competition – Protecting People and the Environment aligns with our core values and is part of our efforts to further create awareness on the importance of sustainable environment.”
Meanwhile,Hon. Obafela Bankole who represented Mrs H.U Abdullahi the Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, affirmed that research has shown that Art enhances the process of learning and nourishes the integrated sensory organs such as, the cognitive, emotional and psycho motor capacities.
According to her, a holistic education involves not only classroom activities of reading and writing, but also the ability to express ideas and issues through Art.
Lauding the continued strong commitment of Chevron to the growth of education in Nigeria through Art contest, she said: ‘’It is for this reason that the Federal Ministry of Education is focused on actualising this initiative through a robust Fine Arts Curricula.
“Art is a vital part of any nation’s development and history which provides opportunities for our children to project their creativity.