Master Hawkins-Ogelle Emmanuel of Jomeg School Umuahia who won the 8th edition of the annual Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange Project, WSICE 2017, held at Abeokuta, Ogun State, has presented his award and trophy to the Abia State Government through the state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu.
The Annual Essay Competition which featured 83 students drawn from across the country was graced by the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, who later presented the award to the winner. The theme for the event was INTOLERANCE: THE BURDEN OF OUR MORAL AND NATIONAL CONSCIENCE.
Speaking while receiving the award winner and his mother in his office, Abia State Commissioner For Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, praised Abia school children and their teachers for consistently making the state proud.
According to him, “Our school children and their hard working teachers are the best in Nigeria and even beyond. For 3 years, back to back, our students have maintained 1st position in WASCE and have won many individual laurels even in far away USA”.
The Commissioner who used the occasion to announce that the government has reached agreement with striking teachers that would ensure that Abia public Schools resume classes latest by Monday, May 14, 2018, applauded Abia teachers for their exceptional commitment and devotion to duties while assuring that the state government would soon evolve a sustainable mechanism for ensuring that teachers and pensioners are paid as and when due.
“It is also gratifying to note that Hawkins is a science student, as is the majority of our high flying students, and yet won laurels in an area that is purely within the arts. That speaks to our well rounded educational system that is producing the best from our private and public schools.
“At the same time, I am worried about the prize money of N100,000.00 at a time young people stay in one room for about a month celebrating indolence and showcasing vice but still go home with mouthwatering prize of N45m. What is the message we are sending to our young minds when we reward academic excellence with N100,000.00 and sheer indolence with N45m? We need to re-examine our priorities as a people and ensure that we only reward the right virtues.”
Chief Okiyi however applauded Prof Wole Soyinka for organizing the event and called on educationally minded private sector operators to support the program with generous cash endowments for winners, to encourage academic excellence and hard work among young persons.
The Essay writing competition took place on July 13, 2017, and at the end, head of the jury Dr. Razinat Mohammed (an English Language lecturer with the University of Maiduguri announced Hawkins-Ogelle Emmanuel of Jomeg College, Umuahia, Abia State, as the winner; Nwanga Solomon of St. Charles Secondary School, Nigercem, Ebonyi, came 2nd while Aboloko Erica of Breakthrough Academy, Ogun State, came 3rd. The 1st place winner was given a scholarship worth N100,000.00 while the 2nd and 3rd place winners received N75,000.00 and N50,000.00 respectively.
Speaking during the visit to the Commissioner, proprietor of JOMEG Schools Umuahia, Pastor Joseph Okowu, stated that his school maintains high academic standard to ensure that students do not cheat during examinations. He added that the school has produced other award winners including the brother of Hawkins who won an award in a recent science competition.