Miss Ike Destiny of VIK International School, Akere Alagbado, Ogun State and Alexander Chibuzor of Archbishop Heerey Technical College, Ogidi in Anambra state have emerged first and second prize winners respectively of the 2023 Bishop Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary School Students in Nigeria.
A statement signed by the Corporate Services Director, Rev. (Mrs) Oluwayomi Uteh to announce the winners said they emerged out of the 795 entries for the 18th edition of the competition.
According to the Chief examiner, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo, 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 however disclosed that they are 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,” she explained.
For their efforts, Miss Ike Destiny will be presented with a cheque of N500, 000, a trophy, and a plaque, while the school gets a set of computer.
For Master Chibuzor Alexander who came second, he will receive a cheque of N250, 000, a plaque and the school will get a set of computer.
The prizes for the winners of the 18th Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools in the country will be presented at this year’s Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, at the Zenith Shell Hall Muson Center, Onikan, Lagos, on Thursday, September 7, 2023.
The theme for this year’s lecture is “Nigerianization of Nigerians: A Look Inward.”
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. Mike Okonkwo has continued in this gesture for 18 years, 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 Chief Sponsor and visionary of the competition Dr. Mike Okonkwo, is confident of the fact that Nigerian youths can compete favorably with their counterparts in developed nations,” the statement said.