Winners emerge in NCDMB National Essay Competition, as Board harps on in-country value addition
By Ngozi Onyeakusi—Winners of the 7th Nigerian Content Annual National Undergraduate Essay Competition, 2023, were unveiled on Wednesday at the Lady Daima Memorial Event Center, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State at a well-attended ceremony. It was the Grand Finale of the competition, with the top 10 finalists awarded prizes.
Overall best was Miss Iruoma Favour Lazarus, a 200-level student of the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. She received a cheque for one million naira (N1,000,000.00) and an HP laptop. The second prize went to Miss Lucy Agbalu, a 100-level student of Microbiology at the University of Calabar, who had a cheque for seven hundred thousand naira and an HP laptop, while the third prize was won by Akinduyite O. Samuel, who received five hundred thousand naira and a similar laptop.
In an address to the “Award and Prize-giving Ceremony,” the Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, said the Board seeks to “inculcate local content consciousness among students of our higher institutions,” thereby creating champions of such an endeavour.
He described local content as “an existential necessity for every nation, particularly for developing nations like Nigeria.” That much was evident from the resilience of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/2021.
The NCDMB boss noted that the topic of the essay competition, which was “Nigerian Content and the Lessons from COVID-19,” was well-conceived “considering how the COVID-19 pandemic devastated our world.” He said at the height of the pandemic, “the movement of persons and goods was disrupted for several months, forcing every nation to rely on their local resources for survival.”
According to him, “The Nigerian oil and gas industry survived that period because of the huge local human and infrastructural capacities we had developed since the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act in 2010.” Efficient implementation of the Act, he pointed out, “ensured that Nigeria’s oil production continued without interruption, even when all the expatriates had left the country.”
Engr. Wabote, who was represented by the Manager, Corporate Corporations, Barr. Esueme Dan Kikile, called on policy-makers at different levels of government and in the private sector to take deliberate steps “to develop resilient and sufficient human and infrastructural capacities in key sectors of our national fabric, which can withstand any external shocks in future.”
While commending winners of the essay contest and the consultants, Mahogany Century Concepts Limited, he said the Board has sustained the competition for seven years because of the huge importance it attaches to it, and that the intention is to challenge students in tertiary institutions to sharpen their writing skills and engage youths in productive activities.
The annual essay competition is one of several initiatives of the NCDMB designed to benefit the youth segment of the Nigerian population. Others include the ‘Integrated Institutional Strengthening and Upgrade,” under which the Board has undertaken and completed massive renovation of technical workshops and installation of world-class facilities in institutions like Government Technical College, Amoli in Enugu State, Government Technical College, Abak in Akwa Ibom State, Government Technical College, Port Harcourt, and the University of Ibadan Vocational School.
The Chairman of the occasion, Professor Allen A. Agih, in his opening speech, commended the NCDMB for its remarkable contributions to capacity building in the country. He corroborated the point made by the Executive Secretary on how the resiliency of the oil and gas industry withstood the pandemic, stating, “Nigerians did not run to foreign countries when COVID-19 struck.” He was represented by Mr. Fibainonine G. Paulley.
Chief Executive Officer of Mahogany, Mr. Eyinimi Omorozi, thanked the Executive Secretary and Management of the NCDMB for the sponsorship of the essay competition and contribution to national development.