Uche Usim, Abuja
Former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd) has advised the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to sustain the annual national science quiz competition since it is aimed at building future manpower stock for the country.
This is as Okeke Tony Kabilan of Spring Life International School, Enugu State, emerged the overall winner and smiled home with a new laptop computer, a desktop computer for his school and annual scholarship of N300,000 till he is done with his tertiary education.
Speaking on Tuesday at the 2018 annual NNPC national science quiz competition in Abuja, Gowon said the quiz competition remains a good Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative that will benefit the country in no small measure, saying the NNPC should be extolled for initiating it.
The former Head of State said: “This quiz competition has succeeded in bringing together the next set of innovators for the country and it will surely engender economic growth.
“Collaboration with other stakeholders in this project remain key. Tomorrow, all students and teachers will be taken on tour of Abuja.
“I urge participants to look beyond what happens here and plan on forging ahead in future endeavours. Whoever emerges the overall winner also needs to work with others. I am happy to note increase in transparency and partnership with JET club, STAN, WAEC etc. It shows credibility and that we’re not cutting corners”, he said.
Also speaking at the event, the Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu said he would persuade the NNPC to ensure that the competition extended to the arts and not centred on science alone.
“I will urge NNPC to extend it to the arts subjects too. I’m also glad the NNPC is tracking past winners to ascertain how they’re faring. It’s good we track them to see how they’re faring to encourage others.
I’m doing a scholarship of 250 poor people whose parents cannot afford the bills for their tertiary education. 100 of them have 1st class or 2:1.
I urge students to do their best.
“We don’t need to turn art of winning into a warfare. Winning must not be by force. We need to sustain the tempo. We need to see ourselves as one. This programme will expose young ones to leadership roles”, Kachikwu said.
In his remarks, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Dr Maikanti Baru science quiz said the 2018 quiz competition was in its 16th edition and anchored on promotion of science education.
“It’s focussed on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
It’s to build the competitive spirit in the students and break the long held stereotypes and fears for science subjects.
“Overall, this competition encourages national integration. A report on the 82 past winners in the six geo-political zones, the UK and USA has been very encouraging. It has surpassed expectations. We have recorded 98 per cent success in the students continuing with STEM related courses at tertiary education level.
Baru revealed that the Second runner up went home with N200,000 per annum worth of scholarship, a laptop computer and a desktop computer for his school.
“The second position student will go home with N250,000 annual scholarship, a laptop and a desktop computer for his school”, Baru stated.