Odjegba Omesiri, a 14-year-old pupil, has emerged the overall winner of the UBA Foundation national essay competition.
Omesiri, a student of the International High School, Delta state, clinched the first position at the grand finale, which held at UBA House, Marina Lagos, on Monday.
She beat 11 other finalists selected from over 6,000 entries from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.
The winner carted away a brand new laptop as well as an educational grant worth N2 million to study in any African university of her choice.
The organiser said this year’s edition saw over 500 percent increase in participation and that pupils across every state of the federation took part in the exercise.
Omesiri, who was escorted by her mother, said she was excited to have come top in the competition.
She said the experience had given her the confidence that she can face great challenges and conquer.
Winning the competition, she said, would help her pursue her childhood dreams of becoming a gynecologist.
“This is something I prayed about and worked hard to achieve. I was in shock to hear my name announced as the winner and my mother and I cried for joy,” she said.
“I am indeed very grateful to UBA and the Foundation for this huge opportunity and making me believe in myself. This grant will go a long way to support my bid for quality education.”
The second prize was bagged by Ozemoka Emesomi, 15, a student of University Preparatory Secondary School, Edo state, who won a N1.5 million educational grant and a laptop, while the third prize of N1 million and a brand new lap top went to Adiankpo Christopher of the Nigerian Christian Institute, Akwa Ibom state.
The other nine finalists all received brand new laptops.
Bola Atta, managing director of UBA Foundation, while congratulating the winners 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,” she said.
“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 2019.”
According to Atta, UBA Foundation, being the CSR arm of UBA Plc, makes it a point of duty to give back to communities where the bank operates. Education in any capacity, Atta noted, remains of the Foundation’s focus area as it is the bedrock of any nation.
In his remarks, Kennedy Uzoka, managing director/chief executive officer of UBA Plc, said the bank is happy to be touching lives and making a “solid impact”.
“We have indeed noted the increase in the cost of living and have therefore increased the prize money by 100 per cent in all the categories,” he said.
Seeing past winners tell their stories on the impact the grants have made on their education and particularly how the financial burden was lifted off their parents, gives us joy that our foundation is unique and deeply touching lives.”
The competition has been taken to other African countries, including Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique and Kenya.
UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. It also has presence in the global financial centres; London, New York and Paris.
UBA provides banking services to more than 15 million customers globally, through diverse channels.