Eziaku Esther, Emerges Winner of UBA Foundation Essay Competition

Photo caption: Professor Sam Oniugbo, judge of the National Essay Competition, (NEC); Member Board of Trustee, UBA Foundation, Mary Udu-Ejembi; third Prize Winner, UBA National Essay Competition, (NEC) Hajarat Abdulwahab; Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, United Bank for Africa, (UBA) Plc, Kennedy Uzoka; Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Bola Atta; judge, NEC Professor Ini Uko;  second Prize Winner, Nduka Chukwubuikem; and judge, Professor Emmanuel Omobowale; at the grand finale of the UBA Foundation, National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools ceremony that was well attended by students, staff and parents on Tuesday, December 7, 2021, organized by the UBA Foundation, the CSR arm of the UBA Plc, and held at the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre, the UBA House, Marina Lagos.

A visibly excited Eziaku Esther, student of His Grace High School, Enugu State, emerged the overall winner with the best essay in the UBA Foundation organised National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools that has been won by the girls for the fifth consecutive year, after beating 11 other finalists selected from over 7,000 entries received digitally from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.

For achieving this feat, the 15-year-old clinched an educational grant of N3 million to study at any African university of her choice, in addition to a brand-new state-of-the-art laptop and many other educational tools from the Foundation. She will be supported throughout her educational career and beyond with constant mentoring by the UBA Foundation, according to a statement by the organisers.

Meanwhile, UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition has been rolled out to other African countries including Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Guinea, with plans for more footprints in 2022.

This year’s elated winner who was escorted to the event by her obviously proud mother, Mrs. Joy Chika Eziaku, assured that the experience has bolstered her confidence, even as she expressed gratitude “to UBA Foundation for this grand opportunity. it was not very easy as I had to study hard and conduct a lot of research, but I am happy that it paid off for me. This opportunity has changed my life, made me want to learn more, read more, and aspire to be a better person and I really appreciate the UBA and the UBA Foundation for this.”

The second prize went to 17-year old Master Nduka Chukwuemeka of Oxfords international School, Abia State, who went home with a N2.5m educational grant and a laptop; while the third prize of N2m and a brand new laptop went to 15-year old Hajarat Abdulwahab of Addy Basic School, Kano. The other 9 finalists also received brand new laptops, as well as consolation prizes, including books and other learning materials.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc, Kennedy Uzoka, expressed the bank’s happiness at continuously touching lives and making a solid impact through the Foundation. The annual competition, now in its 11th year, he noted, has produced hundreds of winners, some of who have long graduated from higher schools and have been impacting their communities.

“Like we did last year, we again increased the prizes to match the rising cost of living. Over the years, we have been assured that we are doing something very unique and truly African, and this is why the initiative is for those who wish to study in Africa, because we are proud of our continent,” he noted.

The MD/CEO, UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, whilst congratulating the winners, commended their exceptional brilliance, assuring that “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 next year” she said.

Being the CSR arm of UBA Plc, Attah added, the UBA Foundation, makes it a point of duty to give back to communities where UBA operates, stressing that education remains one of the Foundation’s focus areas as it is the bedrock of any nation.

UBA Foundation, the CSR arm of the UBA Group, is committed to the socio-economic betterment of the communities in which the bank operates, focusing on development in the areas of Education, Environment, Economic Empowerment, and Special Projects.