A fifteen year old student of Ambol Comprehensive High School, Akesan-Igando, Lagos, Ezenwa Joseph Okonkwo, has emerged winner of the third edition of the UBA National Essay Competition for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

Okonkwo’s essay was picked out of about 2,000 entries by a panel of four Nigeria professors for its outstanding style, earning him the coveted N1m educational grant star prize.

Also, a student at Sharon Rose Schools College, Saki, Toluwase Adeagbo and  another student from Air Force Secondary School, Port Harcourt, Korie Ijeoma Jennifer, emerged first and second runner ups, winning the sum of N750,000 and N500,000 as educational grants respectively.

Among the 12 finalists were: Victoria Aluko (Caleb International College, Magodo); Gloria Ayoola (St. John Comprehensive Academy, Ilesa); Korie Ijeoma Jennifer (Air Force Secondary School, Port Harcourt); Sarah Benson (Living Stone College); Esenwa Joseph Okonkwo (Sambol Comprehensive High School, Akesan-Igando) and Ayewunmi Bukola Ifesowapo Senior High School, Aboru).

Others included Ogbo Ozioma (Kingsdale Schools, Akute); Toluwase S. Adeagbo (Sharon Rose Schools College, Gedu Estate, Saki); Adetona Miriam Omolayo (Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oke-Bola, Ibadan); Ani Chisom Tochukwu (Krisbethel College, Ipaja); Mmesoma S. Enibe (University of Nigeria Secondary School, Nsukka) and Sunday K. Ikemsinchi (Dority International Secondary School, Aba).

Each of the 12 finalists received a laptop as a consolation prize for getting to the final of the competition.

Speaking at the prize presentation ceremony held at the Bank’s headquarters in Lagos, President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, Alkali Mohammed, commended the UBA Foundation for the initiative, saying it was worthy of emulation.

Mohammed noted that the path towards sustainable development is through investment in the education of its youths, particularly in Nigeria.

“Any competition such as this will certainly help to bring out the best in the youths, by kindling their competitive spirit and academic excellence,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, the bank’s deputy managing director, Kennedy Uzoka, explained that the initiative was not only to test the aptitude and knowledge of the students but has become a pipeline to groom future UBA Ambassadors.

He said the winners who would go to any university of their choice in Africa would remain part of the UBA family provided they are of good behaviour and remain focused.

“In UBA we appreciate and nurture talents. All the finalists here today have opportunity to excel in life and UBA is delighted to play a part in the process” he added.

The UBA Foundation National Essay Competition was conceived three years ago as a follow up to its  Read Africa initiative.

Winners each year receive educational grants to study in any university of their choice in Africa.