It was an all-female top three affair, as 14-year-old Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini of Louisville Girls High School, Ogun State, emerged the overall winner of the 2019 edition of the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition.
She won the grand prize of an educational grant of N2 million to study in any African university of her choice.
Oluwatoroti clinched the first position at the grand finale of the competition which held in Lagos yesterday.
Her essay was declared the best out of over 5000 entries received by the UBA Foundation from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.
This year’s NEC had12 finalists made up of eight girls and four boys with over 500 percent increase in participation from pupils across every single state of the federation.
Oluwatoroti who was visibly elated expressed her excitement as the winner of the competition, adding that the experience has given her more confidence with which she can face great challenges in the years ahead. She noted that the grant would help in the pursuit of her dream of becoming a pediatrician.
“This is something I worked very hard to achieve. I read and studied very hard for this competition, and I am very happy that my hard work paid off in the end. I am indeed very grateful to UBA and the UBA Foundation for this huge opportunity and for making me believe in myself, and I would like to encourage other students not to stop trying,” Otokini said.
The second prize was bagged by Precious Ifeoma Okey, aged 15, of Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oyo State, who won an N1.5 million educational grant, whilst the third prize of N1 million went to Aimeé Okoko, 18 years old. Aimeé attends Beautiful Beginning Academy, FCT Abuja. All 12 finalists received brand new laptops from the UBA Foundation.
This year, the Foundation introduced a prize for the school with the highest number of essay entries and Livingstone College, Lagos came tops. They would be receiving gifts worth over N1 million from the UBA Foundation for their participation in the competition.
Congratulating the winners at the event, the MD/CEO of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, commended them for their exceptional brilliance.
“Every student who sent in an entry is a winner. To be confident about your writing skills and ambitious enough to enter a competition to further enhance your educational path is laudable. For those that did not win, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter for the competition again in 2020,” she added.
In his remarks, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said UBA was very happy to be touching lives and making a solid impact through its Foundation’s National Essay Competition and the grant it gives out annually to those who emerge winners. He specifically commended the fact that more females emerged winners this year, adding that it is in line with the bank’s commitment to women empowerment.
Uzoka who is also the Chairman, UBA Foundation said, “What we are doing today is unique in Africa, we are doing this to continue to encourage our young ones to study hard because we noticed that over time, the level of education has been going Southward. For 9 years now, we have been supporting students with grants to further their educational pursuits.”