The Chairman Judging Process of Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) Essay and Art Competition, Mr Adewale Okeowo, says 208 of the 679 entries received were declared void due to negligence.

Okeowo told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday that the panel experienced many invalid entries by students who did not follow the guidelines of the competition.

“Maximum entries from participatory schools are five but we discovered that some schools submitted up to 50 entries.

“Some candidates did not write both their school and candidate’s names on their entries while some indicated only their names,” Okeowo said.

He said that 13 states participated in the senior category between the ages of 15 and 18, while 12 states participated in the junior category between the ages of 12 and 14 Essay and Art Competition.

He said that three finalists were shortlisted from all the participating states after four days of marking exercise.

Okeowo said the finalists’ scripts were read in the presence of all the 13 judges before the final endorsement.

Okeowo recommended that for subsequent editions, rules must be clearly stated while the NGOs should help in disseminating detailed information concerning the essay to as many states as possible to avoid cancellation.

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Speaking earlier with NAN, the Lead Environment Education Officer of NCF, Mrs Abidemi Balogun, said the Art and Essay Competition of the foundation was revived after the last edition in 2007.

Balogun said the competition stopped due to lack of funds and was revived by the late Amb. Aduke Alakija who donated towards the competition in 2019.

She said the essay was introduced to promote education literacy and improve research finding abilities of students.

“For the essay competition, the students were to write not less than 500 words while in the art competition, the students were to write or draw issues or things happening in their environment.

“Apart from prizes that are involved in the competition, it will enable the participants to build confidence, capacity, literacy and address qualities as well as environmental sustainability.

“We went through the various educational districts in all the 36 states to disseminate the information for the interested schools’ candidates to participate but only 12 states participated,” Balogun said.

She, however, said that the result of the shortlisted candidates would be announced before May 2020. (NAN).

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