The virtual ceremony, which was attended by high school students from across the nation revealed that for the fourth consecutive year, females led the competition with14 year-old Eshiet Abasiekeme of Bright Stars Model Secondary School from Akwa-Ibom state taking home this year’s winning prize.
Abasiekeme received an educational grant of N2.5 million to study in any African university of her choice.
She will also be supported throughout her educational career and beyond with constant mentoring by the UBA Foundation.
The second prize was awarded to 14-year old Mofuluwake Adesanya of Spring Forte-Lead College, Lagos State, who won an N2 million educational grant, while the third prize of N1.5 million went to 16-year old Abdulganiyy Habeeba, a student of International School, University of Lagos.
Eshiet and 11 other finalists also won brand new laptops.
In his opening remarks, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc, Kennedy Uzoka, commended the finalists, saying UBA is happy to be touching lives and making a solid impact through its essay competition, which is now in its 10th edition.
He was pleased that more females again came out tops this year, adding that despite the constraints and challenges of 2020, the Foundation received the highest number of entries ever, at over 12,000 digital submissions.
Uzoka who is also the Chairman of, UBA Foundation said the competition has been changing lives positively for 10 years, and the group has awarded scholarships to students not just in Nigeria, but in other parts of Africa like Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Senegal.
“Some of these students are already graduates and contributing meaningfully to their communities.
“To all 12 of you that have emerged finalists, I would like to congratulate you. If out of 12,000 entries you were able to make it to the top 12, which represents about 0.12 per cent of the entries, you are no doubt, already a winner,” Uzoka said.
Managing Director, UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, applauded all the participants for their exceptional brilliance.
She explained that the Foundation had taken into consideration the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on lives and incomes and increased the prize money by 33 per cent this year to help cushion any negative or inflationary effects.
Atta noted that the driving force behind the annual competition is to improve the lives of the students and their families. “The NEC helps to improve the quality of writing and competitiveness amongst students. We have launched in more African countries this year and would have launched the initiative in 20 countries by the end of 2021. It is not just about writing essays, the ripple effect is really quite enormous, and we are glad that it is cascading to other countries where we operate.” The National Essay Competition is an initiative under the education pillar of the Foundation. Now in its 10th year, the aim of the NEC is to ensure that more African youths have access to education. The programme also highlights the good quality of education that exists on the continent as it stresses that the grant must be used in any university of the winners’ choice on the African continent.