A fifteen year old, Onaro Adaeze Chukwuzolem, a student of Fountain Heights Secondary School, Surulere Lagos, has emerged the overall winner of the 2023 United Bank for Africa (UBA) Foundation National Essay Competition beating the 11 other finalists.
The 15 year old went home with a N5 million scholarship to pursue her studies in any African university of her choice, along with a modern laptop and other prizes. Adaeze’s victory marked a historic moment as the first of three girls to claim the top prizes in a competition that attracted nearly 12,000 entries from Senior Secondary School students across Nigeria, out of which 12 finalists were initially selected.
Speaking at the award, UBA’s group managing director and chief executive, Oliver Alawuba, emphasised the bank’s unwavering commitment to youth empowerment. He stated, “UBA is proud to be associated with this event. Annually, we put aside a percentage of our profits to change lives, and we are committed to doing this annually.
“The National Essay Competition has become a pivotal platform for promoting education, literacy, and critical thinking among Nigerian youth, making a positive impact on their lives and society at large.”
The managing director and chief executive of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, who commended the winners for their exceptional brilliance and encouraged those who did not secure top positions to view it as a challenge for improvement.
She highlighted the Foundation’s dedication to extending this impactful competition to other African countries, reinforcing its commitment to socio-economic betterment through initiatives in Education, Environment, Economic Empowerment, and Special Projects.
“It is important to note at this point that this same competition is being replicated in some other African countries where UBA operates such as Ghana, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Senegal, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire. Other countries like Zambia, Gabon, Chad and Benin Republic have plans to conduct the NEC in the first quarter of 2024,” Atta said.
The UBA Foundation’s commitment to fostering education and transforming lives was further underscored through constant mentoring that Adaeze will receive throughout her educational journey.
Abdulhameed Khadijah Husna of Sweet Haven High School, Kano State, clinched the second prize -a N3 million educational grant, a laptop, and additional prizes.
Meanwhile, Chukwuma-Okoh Naomi from Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, secured the third prize, which included a N2.5 million grant and a br loland-new laptop. The remaining nine finalists, which included two boys, were not left empty-handed, receiving brand new laptops and consolation prizes.
By Bukola Aro-Lambo
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