Miss Alexandra Nwigwe of Vivian Fowler Memorial College, Lagos, has been announced as the overall winner of the Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary School Students for 2017. She scored 90% in the first round of the competition and 80% in the second, to come first.
The second position went to Miss Jesudunta Mercy Ipinmoye of Corona Secondary School, Agbara, Lagos. She scored 80% in the first round and 72% in the second, to win. Master Akingbade Gbenga of Emerald High School, Lagos, came third. He scored 80% in the first round and 70% in the second, to clinch the position.
Other candidates who performed well include Chinedu Chimezie of Cedar College, Ipaja, Lagos, Adedeji Aderemi of Grange School, G.R.A Ikeja, Atoyebi Israel of Kings College, Lagos, Olalere Victor of Deeper Life High School, Akure, Ondo State, Okadigbo Juliet of State Senior Grammar School, Surulere and Kolawole Oladunni of Reagan Memorial Babtist Girls Secondary School, Yaba, Lagos.
Unlike in previous years where the first, second and, sometimes, third place winners were drawn from outside Lagos, with the exception of Olalere Victor, of Deeper Life High School, Akure, Ondo State, this year’s were all drawn from Lagos.
According to the Chief Examiner, Prof. Hope Eghagha, Head, Department of English University of Lagos, Akoka, the Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition for secondary school students received a total of seven hundred and ninety six (796) entries. “This is after the organizers used their internal control mechanism to ensure that only qualified persons applied or submitted entries,” he stated. “After applying the standard criteria in the assessment, we concluded that 27 entries were not original; in other words, they were plagiarized. This was after crosschecking each entry carefully with Internet sources to determine their originality. This is one of the problems confronting us in the education sector currently. Some students simply download material from the Internet and submit same as their original works.”
According to Prof. Hope Eghagha, after the first round of assessment in which the panel judged mechanical accuracy, the use of language, originality of thought, and thematic focus, ten (10) participants were selected and eventually invited for the second stage of the competition. He disclosed that, the second stage is mainly a confirmatory procedure, meant to ensure that the first stage winners are indeed the authentic writers of the shortlisted essays.
He added that the candidates who came from different parts of the country as Lagos, Enugu, Akure, Ilorin, Kano and Owerri did a one hour test on the topic: “Religion and National Development” or “Does Religion Aid National Development?” Candidates who emerged winners did so because the final result of the test validated their scoring and ranking in the first stage, he said.
Press statement issued and signed by Rev. (Mrs.) Oluwayomi Uteh Group Manager, Operations, TREM International, informed that the prizes, namely N100, 000, N75,000 and N50, 000 for the first, second and third place winners, respectively, will be presented at this year’s Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, coming up at the Shell Hall Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, on Tuesday September 5, 2017. The theme for this year’s lecture is “Made in Nigeria Products: The Vehicle for Sustainable Development.”