By Dennis Agbo
A 16-year-old student of Roseville Secondary School, New Haven, Enugu, Miss Chidiogo Nneji, has emerged the winner of the N500,000 Coal City University, Enugu maiden Essay Writing competition for students of Senior Secondary School in Nigeria.
Chidiogo beat Miss Ailemen Divine Omofe of School for the Gifted, Gwagwalada, Abuja who went home with N250,000 as runner up and Miss Asonye Mirabel of Children Choice School, Port Harcourt, that emerged second runner with cash prize of N150, 000.
The winners emerged out of the over 1000 scripts submitted from different secondary schools across the country with 25 others getting N20,000 each as consolation prizes.
The students, who wrote on the theme, ‘Climate Change’, were invited to defend their essays before an audience that included the chancellor of the private university, Mr. Chinedu Ani; Vice Chancellor, Prof. Afam Ituma; chairman of Enugu State Universal Basic Education(ENSUBEB), Chief Ikeje Asogwa, among other dignitaries.
Speaking at the event, the proprietor of Coal City University, Chinedu Ani said the university organized the competition in order to give back to the society, adding that the exercise was another way the participating students discovered themselves.
“When you look at what they wrote on paper, you will assume that professionals wrote them. But coming up here to discuss what they wrote in just less than five minutes is just amazing. So many of these students are very intelligent but they don’t know,” Ani said.
While noting that the winners and the greater majority of the participants in the competition came from private schools, Ani hailed proprietors of private schools for being the last hope of the nation’s education sector by raising children the nation could be proud of despite the economic situation in the country.
The ENSUBEB chairman, Asogwa observed that dwindling participation of male students in academic activities and tasked teachers them to avoid distractions and get education first.
While commending Coal City University for making serious progress in education industry as a private university, Asogwa urged other institutions to emulate the university in the area of giving back to the society.
In a paper he presented at the event, an American-based academic, Prof. Chidi Onyia, commended the chancellor for the initiative, saying “He has done something to address something that’s pertinent(climate change). He’s supporting a new generation, putting his money where his mouth is”.
He tasked students to continue with the zeal with which they wrote about and discussed the issue of climate change, saying, “Climate change is already happening today”.