By Elizabeth Osayande
THE UBA Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibolty arm of the United Bank for Africa, on Tuesday held its tenth annual National Essay Competition(NEC) in a virtual ceremony in which Miss Eshiet Abasiekeme, 14, won the first prize of N2.5 million educational grant to study at any African University of her choice.
Abasiekeme, a student of Bright Stars Model Secondary School, Akwa Ibom State, dusted over 12,000 other students who took part in the competition from across the country.
He emergence aa this year’s winner was the fourth consecutive time a female student would win the essay competition.
She will also be supported throughout her educational career and beyond with constant mentoring by the UBA Foundation.
Abasiekeme who had joined the virtual event from her base in Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria, could not contain her excitement as she heard the announcement that she had won the first prize of the NEC 2020.
“I feel honoured to be the winner of this year’s NEC, and I want to appreciate UBA and UBA Foundation as this will help towards my dream of becoming a lawyer,” she said proudly, expressing that she would like to go to university in Uyo in her home state.
The second prize was won by another 14-year-old, Mofuluwake Adesanya of Spring Forte-Lead College Lagos State, who won a N2,000,000 educational grant, whilst the third prize of N1,500,000 went to Abdulganiyy Habeeba, 16 years old. Abdulganiyy attends the International School, University of Lagos.
Abasiekeme and the 11 other finalists, took home their brand new lap top computers to enable them continue to work competitively in a world that is rapidly becoming fully digitalised. Congratulating all the winners at the final event of the competition, the Managing Director/CEO of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, applauded all the participants for their exceptional brilliance.
She explained that the Foundation had taken into consideration the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on lives and incomes across board and had increased the prize money by 33 per cent this year to help cushion any negative or inflationary effects.
Emphasising the driving force behind the annual competition, she said, “We are passionate about the annual NEC because it changes lives and helps to improve the quality of lives of students and their families. The NEC helps to improve the quality of writing and competitiveness amongst students. We have launched in more African countries this year and would have launched the initiative in 20 countries by the end of 2021. It is not just about writing essays, the ripple effect is really quite enormous, and we are glad that it is cascading to other countries where we operate.’ she said.