Adaeze Onaro, a 15-year-old student from Fountain Heights Secondary School in Surulere, Lagos, has been recognized by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Foundation for winning the bank’s 2023 National Essay Competition (NEC).
While the overall winner received a scholarship of N5 million, the first and second runners-up won grants worth N3 million and N2.5 million, respectively, among other prizes.
At the official introduction of the winners in Lagos, 11 other kids from throughout the country got various prizes and plaudits.
UBA’s group managing director/Chief Executive Officer, Oliver Alawuba, congratulated the winners and stated that the bank is committed to grooming future leaders for Africa through the competition and other initiatives.
He emphasized the bank’s commitment to reclaiming Africa’s lost glory and the continent’s rise through quality education.
“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.
“The quality of entries that we received this year was amazing,” said Bola Atta, CEO of UBA Foundation, the bank’s corporate social responsibility arm in charge of the competition. And the caliber of the winners is even more impressive. They are simply outstanding, fast-paced, and gifted.”
He stated that the initiative has improved year after year since its inception 13 years ago.
According to Atta, participants were tasked with researching the field of artificial intelligence and its potential augmentation of their learning capacities.
AbdulHameed Khadija of Kano’s Sweet Haven High School was the first runner-up, receiving a N3 million scholarship. Chukwuma-Okoh Naomi of Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, was named second runner-up and received a N2.5 million scholarship.
According to Asabe Kabir, a professor of African Literature at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS), who was among the panel of judges, the 2023 edition had the biggest number of entries (almost 12,000) since its inception 13 years ago.