OMEI Bongos-Ikwue, daughter of music legend, Bongos Ikwue, has made Nigeria proud by rising above speech impairment to win an international speech competition in Accra, Ghana.
Bongos – Ikwue, member of the Abuja District of Toastmaster, an affiliate of the Toastmasters International, a worldwide non-profit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders, defied her congenital stuttering challenges to achieve the feat.
Her winning speech, entitled: “Release it,” focused on the themes of bravery, passion and generosity, which she used a moving story to illustrate that “we only receive extraordinary things when we let go of the average or ordinary ones.” The speeches were judged on content, organization, gestures and style.
Speaking on what inspired her victory as a public speaker, in spite of her speech impairment challenge, she said: “When it comes to connecting with an audience, Toastmasters, as an organization has taught me how to be confident and focused. In fact, since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers/communicators. It has shown me that every speaking opportunity is an opportunity to inspire people in an unforgettable way that a host of other Toastmasters have always inspired me.”
With this victory, Bongos-Ikwue will take part in the World Championship of Public Speaking at the Toastmasters International Convention on August 25, in Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.
She will compete with 105 other winners from districts around the world.
The very elated Nigerian lady, said that representing her District at the International Speech Contest “feels like the decisive stamp of victory over my speech impediment,”, adding that she is “looking forward to competing on a much larger stage in Chicago.”
Bongos-Ikwue is Public Health editor for E-Proofers, based in Abuja.
The Toastmasters International Speech Contest began in 1938 and is the world’s largest speech contest, involving 30,000 participants from 141 countries. It culminates with the popular World Championship of Public Speaking held annually at the organization’s International Convention.