Winners of this year’s edition of the 15th Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition, instituted by the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Dr. Mike Okonkwo, have emerged. To lead the pack, Miss Onitilo Deborah of New Chrisfield College, Ikorodu, Lagos, scored 63 per cent in the first stage and 52 per cent in the second and final stage to emerge as the overall winner of the competition.
Ashley Davidson, a student of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Ikeja, who came second in the competition scored 62 per cent in the first and 49 per cent in the second stage, while Esigbone Omagbemi Ferdinand, a male student from Roshallom International Secondary School, Lagos came third with 60 per cent and 47 per cent in the first and second stage, and Miss Fagbemi Semilore Ireoluwa also of Roshallom International School, placed fourth respectively.
The winners, according to the organisers of the yearly competition, would be rewarded on September 5, during this year’s Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, holding at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos. The theme for the lecture, which will be delivered by a Lagos Lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), is: “Nigeria’s Unity: Matters Arising,” while the President General of Ohanaeze Ndi- Igbo World-Wide, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, will chair the lecture.For emerging the overall winner, Onitilo will receive N100,000; a personal laptop; a trophy and a plaque, while her school will get three sets of computer and a printer, even as Davidson, for coming second will go home with N75,000; a plaque and the school will get two sets of computer and a printer. Omagbemi will smile home with N50,000 cash, a plaque and the school will receive a computer set, while the fourth position winner will get a consolation price of N20,000.
The essay competition was instituted in 2004, as part of activities to celebrate the birthday of the Bishop Okonkwo and more importantly to contribute to the development of the education sector. Through the competition the Bishop has in the 15 years strengthened the younger generation in the pursuit of academic excellence by encouraging them to cultivate the habit of reading and effective writing.
“This man of God, who believes in absolute development of mankind in all facet of life, has used the institutionalization of the Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition to achieve this dream and desire,” the Group Manager, Operations for TREM, Reverend Oluwayomi Uteh said. According to the Chief Examiner for the competition, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo, a Professor of English at the University of Lagos, “After a painstaking scrutiny, we adjudged only four as suitable for invitation to the second stage of the competition, which is basically a confirmatory procedure to verify the integrity of the original submission.”
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