A second-year student of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mr. Abasiekeme Edet, has won N1 million in the 4th edition of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Annual National Undergraduate Essay competition.
According to a statement from the NCDMB, the prize giving ceremony was held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Wednesday and the essay by the 18-year-old was adjudged the best amongst over 6,000 entries submitted by undergraduates who must be within their first and 2nd year in the university.
The topic for this year’s essay contest was “Research & Development as a key lever for Local Content Implementation in Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Industry.”
Miss. Oluwadamilola Elizabeth Oluwafela, a 200-level Medical student, Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State emerged the first runner up and won a cash prize of N500,000, while Mr. Somtochukwu Samson Eze, a 100-level Medicine and Surgery student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State placed third and won a cash prize of N300,000.
Other finalists received HP laptops as consolation prizes.
In his keynote address, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote disclosed that the competition was geared towards developing human and material capacities, which is one of the key mandates of the Board.
He explained that the Board sponsored the contest to create local content awareness among our vibrant youths and make them advocates of Nigerian Content, which is critical to sustainable development of our local economy, job creation and national security.
The Executive Secretary who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Patrick Daziba Obah commended the choice of the topic for this year’s competition, hinting that Research and Development is pivotal to national development and the bedrock of sustainable Local Content.
Obah indicated that the Board’s developed a 10-year R&D roadmap to help promote the culture of research and innovation in Nigeria and support local content development in the oil and gas industry. He identified some key initiatives under the R&D roadmap to include the establishment of a US$50 million Nigerian Content R&D Fund, sponsorship of research prototypes, commercialization of research findings and setting up of R&D Centres of Excellence (CoE) in five Nigerian Universities.
While congratulating the finalists for their hard work and dedication, he expressed excitement with the increase in the level of participation in the Essay Contest from undergraduates in various tertiary institutions across the country.
In his remarks, the General Manager, Corporate Communication and Zonal Coordination, NCDMB, Dr. Ginah O. Ginah mentioned that the competition is one of the Board’s interventions to improve the standard of education in Nigeria. He added that it aims to promote proficiency in writing, increase the participants’ awareness of local content and engender citizen engagement from undergraduate level.
Ginah who was represented by the Manager, Corporate Communication, Barr. Naboth Onyesoh Onyesoh stated that the contest is also intended to promote analytical and critical thinking among Nigerian youth which is vital for enrich problem-solving and for effective citizen engagement.
“Enlightened citizenry is required for local content advocacy and to nudge public institutions to be more accountable, transparent and alive to quality service delivery, hence this competition is oriented to encourage reading and writing, promote analytical and critical thinking among Nigerian youth,” he added.
The chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor, Federal Medical University, Prof Ebitimitula Etebu, represented by the Registrar, Dr Akpos Adesi, pointed out that national competitions such as this helps to foster national unification and boost academic excellence. He applauded the Board for sponsoring the competition and sought for its sustainability.
Mr. Abasiekeme Edet, the winner of the competition thanked the Board for organizing the competition, which provided a challenge for students to research extensively and proffer solutions around the issues of local content.