Miss Ike Destiny of VIK International School, Akere Alagbado, Ogun State, winner of the 2023 Bishop Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary School Students in Nigeria was celebrated at the Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, organized by the Mike Okonkwo Educational and Youth Initiative to mark Bishop Mike Okonkwo’s birthday annually and in contribution to national development.
The Annual lecture which is in its 22nd edition with the theme: Nigerianization of Nigerians, A Look Inward held recently at the Muson Centre, Lagos.
For her feat, Miss Ike Destiny was presented with a cheque of N500, 000, a trophy, and a plaque, while the school gets a set of computer at the ceremony.
Also for emerging second position, Master Chibuzor Alexander of Archbishop Heerey Technical College, Ogidi in Anambra received a cheque of N250, 000, a plaque and the school got a set of computer.
Speaking during the presentation, the Examiner, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo of Department of English, University of Lagos (UNILAG) said Destiny and Alexander addressed the topic within the mental orbit of their age and demonstrated commendable passion and independent thinking in their writing.
“We congratulate and present them as exemplars of young people determined to forge their own path through critical thinking.”
The chief examiner represented by Prof. Patrick Oloko of Department of English, UNILAG, however disclosed that they were constrained to present an overall winner and just one runner-up this year, against the normal practice of presenting one winner and two runners-up because a considerable chunk of the entries received was, as usual, unsuitable for consideration.
“They were either lifted directly from online sources and presented as original materials or were revised and presented as such.
“We are used to this practice among young people, and so spent considerable time tracking the essays on the internet in line with our quality control procedures,” he explained.
In his remarks, the Convener, Bishop Mike Okonkwo congratulated the winners and commended the examiner for a job well done saying it is not about getting the price but the process of getting it right.
“I commend the examiner for taking out time to get the copied essay out of the numbers because for me I have zero tolerance for cheating,” he said.
Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition was initiated in the year 2004, as part of activities to celebrate the birthday of the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Dr. Mike Okonkwo (MFR), and more importantly to contribute to the development of the educational sector.
Dr. Okonkwo has continued in using his God-given talent, strength, and resources to be a blessing to the younger generation in the pursuit of academic excellence by encouraging them to cultivate the habit of reading and writing effectively.
“This man of God, who believes in the absolute development of mankind in all facets of life, has used the institutionalization of the Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition to achieve this dream and desire,” the statement added.
The essay competition has helped some students that participated in the competition to develop more interest in research work, reading extensively, and writing constructively.
Apart from serving as a tool to encourage reading and writing, the competition has also given the students the opportunity to bare their minds on topical issues that are significant to the social-economic development of the nation.
The essay competition has also contributed to ICT development in secondary schools, especially in government-owned schools.
Winners have emerged from both government-owned schools and private schools, and they have always been encouraged with gifts both in-kind and cash.
The Sponsor of the competition Dr. Okonkwo, is confident of the fact that Nigerian youths can compete favorably with their counterparts in developed nations.
The winners emerged out of the 795 entries for the 18th edition of the competition.