The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Foundation has rewarded Adaeze Onaro, a 15-year-old student of Fountain Heights Secondary School, Surulere, Lagos, for winning the 2023 National Essay Competition (NEC) sponsored by the bank.
While the overall winner received a prize of N5 million in scholarship, the first and second runners-up received N3 million and N2.5 million grants, respectively, among other gifts.
At the official unveiling of the winners in Lagos 11 other students from various parts of the country also won various prizes and received accolades.
Oliver Alawuba, group managing director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA, commended the winners, saying the bank is committed to grooming future leaders for Africa through the competition and other initiatives.
He noted the bank’s commitment to reclaim Africa’s lost glory and that through quality education the continent will rise.
“The focus of the national essay competition is the African youth. The objective is to improve the critical thinking ability and reading skills of African youth and position them for leadership on the continent,” Alawuba said.
Bola Atta, CEO of UBA Foundation, the bank’s corporate social responsibility arm in charge of the competition, said, “the quality of entries that we received this year was amazing. And the quality of the winners is even more amazing. They are just excellent, fast-paced with ability and talent.”
He noted that the initiative has been recording improvement every year since its launch 13 years ago.
According to Atta, participants were tasked with exploring the realm of artificial intelligence and its potential augmentation of their learning abilities through research-driven approaches.
AbdulHameed Khadija of Sweet Haven High School, Kano, emerged as the first runner-up, claiming a scholarship valued at N3 million. Chukwuma-Okoh Naomi of Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, was recognised as the second runner-up, earning a scholarship worth N2.5 million.
Asabe Kabir, a professor of African Literature at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS), who was among the panel of judges, said since its launch 13 years ago, the 2023 edition received the highest number of entries of almost 12,000.