NIGERIA: Blind Student Wins N2.1m in Essay Competition

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For Master Lucky Emmanuel, a visually impaired student of Ihuogbe Junior Secondary School Benin City, Edo State, the pithy saying that there is ability in disability, played itself out at the weekend as he beat others to emerge tops in the prestigious Kenneth Imansuangbon Essay Competition.

Emmanuel, who is among the 25 winners of the competition that covers two categories, initially won the first prize of N100, 000 with a network computer in the junior category. However, his feat, given his status as a visually impaired student, fetched him an additional N2 million, courtesy of Alhaji Bichi Yar’Adua, chairman, Parents/Teachers Association of Pace Setters College, Wuse, Abuja.

Besides, Miss Edobor Precious, a student of University Preparatory Secondary School, Benin City, won the first prize in the senior category for the third time running.

The annual essay completion was established five years ago by Imansuangbon, who is also the founder, Pace Setters’ Group of Schools, Abuja.

Speaking at the prize presentation, which took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja weekend, Imansuangbon said the aim of setting up the competition was to discover talents in the rural areas that can make the country greater through essay writing.

He added that six winners emerged from the four designated centres namely, Benin City, Uromi and Ibillo all in Edo State and Abuja.

According to him, the essence of the competition is to encourage the Nigerian child to put in more commitment to his or her study, pointing out that “The Kenneth Imansuangbon National Essay Competition is an engrossing annual event that is continually aimed at discovering the inborn potential of youths as regards creative and persuasive writing skills with a view to enhancing self-realisation and good leadership ability.”

“This year's exercise, which marks the fifth edition in the series, like in time past, does not only open up whole new vistas for young minds to exhibit their writing ingenuity, but also seeks to produce literary icons such as Chinua Achebe, Flora Nwapa, Williams Shakespeare, Zainab Alkali, Cyprian Ekwensi  and others for national and international recognition,” he added.

Imansuangbon explained that the 2013 essay competition was open to all students from JSS I to SSS III who are in schools all over the federation and has been categorised into two, the junior and senior categories. He noted that while students from JSSI to JSS III compete in the junior category, students in SSSI to SSS III compete in the senior category.

The title of this year’s competition, which was expanded from the initial two centres to four, is: ‘Politics, Peace and Unity.’ This
year, the competition attracted 227 students, both from private and public schools while at the Uromi centre alone, a total of 160 students participated in the competition.

Also speaking at the event, Dr. Aina Emmanuel Olusegun, a Director with the FCT Department of Policy Regulation, described education as a veritable instrument for human development, adding that no society can move forward without education.

Urging the students to always see education as a vital tool for self-development and societal growth, he commended the visionary leadership of the management of Pace Setters’ College for making positive impact on the growth of education in Nigeria.

He therefore challenged the students of Pace Setters and winners of the essay competition to realise that the future of Nigeria belongs to them, warning that they must not waste the huge investments made by their parents in them just as he added that not every child had the kind of opportunity they have.

Earlier in his keynote address, Executive Vice-Chairman, Retail Banking, North, First Bank Plc, Alhaji Abdullahi Ibrahim, urged parents and guardians to always counsel their children and wards so that they would not fall into wrong habits, which they would regret in future.

According to him, the world is so competitive and more sophisticated that only those who are disciplined can cope.

“Always maintain a high standard. Do not mess around with your studies so that whatever degree you obtain, you will be able to defend it because good education remains the key to success,” Ibrahim said.

One of the highpoints of the ceremony was the presentation of prizes to winners of the essay competition.

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