15-year-old Usongobong Paul, from Akwa-Ibom State, has emerged as the overall winner of the 2022 edition of the UBA Foundation Annual National Essay Competition (NEC).
Usongobong, a student of Federal Government Girls College Ikot- Obio Itong, Akwa-Ibom, beat 11 other finalists to clinch the best prize at the competition, which had over 5,000 entries from students of senior secondary schools across the country.
UBA Foundation is the CSR arm of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. The foundation as a scholarship programme is currently in its 12th year.
Benefits: She was announced as the winner of a scholarship worth N5m to study in any African university of her choice, as well as a brand-new state-of-the-art laptop among other goodies at the NEC 2022 Grand Finale, which was held at the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre in UBA House on Monday.
Usongobong who was escorted to the event by her ICT Teacher, Akanyere Divinelove Chigozie, said she was excited to have come tops in the competition, adding that the experience has bolstered her confidence.
News continues after this ad
“I am so grateful to UBA Foundation for this opportunity. It has helped me to believe in myself and bolster my confidence. This scholarship will go a long way toward assisting in my dream to become an ophthalmologist. This opportunity has changed my life and I appreciate the UBA and the UBA Foundation for this,” she said.
She will also be supported throughout her educational career and beyond with constant mentoring by the UBA Foundation.
The second prize was bagged by Princess Sholabomi, aged 15 of Value Spring College, Lagos. She won a N3,000,000 educational grant and a laptop; while the third prize of N2,500,000 and a brand-new laptop went to 15-year-old Sharon Nwajiaku of Ota Total Academy, Ogun State. The other 9 finalists, which included only one boy, also received brand-new laptops as well as consolation prizes, including books and other learning materials.
News continues after this ad
Empowering youths: UBA Group’s managing director/chief executive officer, Oliver Alawuba, said the bank remains vested in the youth, who are the future of the continent.
“As a bank, we are interested in empowering our youth, and to do this, we must educate them, through efforts such as these. The truth is that we are launching these programs in all 20 countries where UBA has a presence. Already, some of these countries have started. I was in Sierra Leone a few weeks ago where the NEC was held, and I was encouraged by the enthusiasm and participation. Since we at UBA know that our future lies with our kids, they will take Africa to the world where it needs to be;” the GMD stated.
The Chairman of the UBA Foundation, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who congratulated the 12 finalists, said UBA has been touching lives and making a solid impact through the UBA Foundation and has produced hundreds of winners, some of who have long graduated from higher schools and have been impacting their communities.
He said, “I commend everyone for being a part of this event. We set up this competition over 12 years ago, because we saw the need to allow students to express themselves and convey their ideas, and over the years, we have seen that we are doing something very unique and truly African. We have given scholarships to over 60 students, and we have been able to produce doctors, engineers, and lawyers through this platform,” Uzoka said.
The MD/CEO of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, also congratulated the winners and 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. For those that did not come first this year, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter the competition again next year” she said.
Improving reading culture: She explained that the UBA Foundation makes it a point of duty to give back to communities where UBA operates. Education in any capacity, she noted, remains the foundation’s focus area as it is the bedrock of any nation, adding, “We have been trying to improve the reading culture among the students, whilst fostering growth and learning. So today, we want to congratulate all 12 finalists, because you are all winners, having been selected from over 7,000 entries.
“UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition has been taken to other African countries, including Ghana, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, with more African countries coming on board in 2022.
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,” she said.
UBA Foundation is the CSR arm of Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. The UBA Foundation’s Education initiative has been changing lives for over a decade as the scholarship programme, which is currently in its 12th year, continues to impact the lives of many students and their communities at large.