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….as winners of Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition emerge

By Sam Eyoboka

A 16-year-old Master Esigbone Omagbemi Ferdinard of Roshallom International Secondary School, Egbeda, Lagos who came third in the Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary School students in Nigeria last year, has emerged the overall winner in the 2019 edition of the competition having scored a total average of 68 per cent.

A statement signed by the Group Manager, Operations of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, TREM., Rev. (Mrs.) Oluwayomi Uteh said the second position went to Oluwaseun Esther Aremu of Shepherd International College, Ado-Ekiti with an average score of 61 per cent, while Adeola Ademuwa Ifeola from Chrisfield College, Itamaga, Ikorodu came third with 60 per cent.

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The fourth position was a tie, with West Tamunonye also of Christfield College, Itamaga, Ikorodu, and Anazia Rita from Roshallom International School with a total average score of 56 per cent.

Announcing the 2019 results, the Chief Examiner, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo disclosed that a total of 612 entries were received, representing a drop of about 28 per cent compared to 848 that were received and assessed last year.

According to the chief examiner, “the drop arises in part from new management strategies introduced by the organisers to ensure that only credible entries are sent in for assessment. Based on the positive feedback and to further the institutionalization of the Bishop Mike Okonkwo Lecture Series, we urge the organisers to put the winning entries in a book form, as had been done to the adult version of lectures, in order to make the materials more portable and accessible to teachers and students.

“Such a compilation will build capacity and prepare students for a more viable participation in future competitions. More importantly, it will be a unique addition to curriculum materials. We assure you that our winning essays are original materials from gifted students that can function adequately as teaching materials,” she maintained, postulating that the teaching of responsible internet usage in secondary school curriculum has become very paramount and of necessity.

“The fact that almost any material is available and accessible via a click makes a compelling case for us to introduce the teaching of responsible Internet usage in the secondary school curriculum. We recommend a review and expansion of the syllabus of a subject like civic education to include teaching students to understand that plagiarism violates Intellectual Property (IP) rights, and that referencing the literatures they consult as they make their points is a key aspect of their academic development.”

Topic of this year’s essay was: “Justice as an Instrument of Enduring Peace in Nation building”, while the second round topic was ”Entrenching Tolerance as Solution to Nigeria’s Ethnic and Religious Crises.“

For coming top in this year’s competition, Master Esigbone Omagbemi Ferdinard will get a cheque of N100,000, a personal Laptop, a trophy, a plaque, while his school gets three sets of Computer and a printer. Miss Oluwaseun Esther Aremu who came second will go home with N75,000, a plaque and the school will get two sets of computers and a printer. For emerging the third position, Master Adeola Ademuwa Ifeola will go home with N50,000, a plaque and the school gets a Computer set. The other winners will get a consolation price of N20,000.

The prizes will be presented at this year’s Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, at the Shell Hall Muson Center, Lagos, on September 5, 2019. The theme for this year’s lecture is “Justice as an Instrument of Enduring Peace in Nation Building”. The occasion will be chaired by Chief Folake Solanke (SAN) while the lecture will be delivered by Barrister Femi Falana (SAN).

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Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition was initiated in the year 2004, as part of activities to celebrate the birthday of the Presiding Bishop of TREM, Dr. Mike Okonkwo (MFR) and more importantly to contribute to the development of the Educational Sector.

Dr. Okonkwo has continued in this gesture for 16 years, using his God-given talent, strength and resources to be a blessing to the younger generation in the pursuit of academic excellence by encouraging them to cultivate the habit of reading and writing effectively. This man of God, who believes in absolute development of mankind in all facet of life, has used the institutionalization of Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition to achieve this dream and desire. He is confident that Nigerian youths can compete favourably with their counterparts in developed nations.


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