(L-R) Miss. Onitilo Deborah (1st), Miss. Ashley Davidson (2nd) and Master Esigbone Omagbemi (3rd)

Miss Onitilo Deborah of New Chrisfield College, Ikorodu Lagos has emerged as the winner of the 2018 Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary School students in Nigeria.

Deborah scored 63% in the first round of the competition and 52% in the second round of the competition to come first.

The second position goes to Miss Ashley Davidson of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Ikeja. She scored 62% in the first round and 49% in the second round to come second, while Master Esigbone Omagbemi Ferdinand of Roshallom International Secondary School, Lagos came third. He scored 60% in the first round and 47% in the second round. The other winner is Miss Fagbemi Semilore Ireoluwa of Roshallom International School, Lagos.

According to the Chief Examiner, Professor Akachi Ezeigbo, “After a painstaking scrutiny, we adjudged only four as suitable for invitation to the second stage of the competition, which is basically a confirmatory procedure to verify the integrity of the original submission. The content and structure of the four entries, we must say, are just sufficient to enable the candidates to score grades within the ‘B’ range. The implication of this is that the verve, creativity and imagination that we have seen in past performances are beginning to whittle down, even though enthusiasm to take part continues to rise”.

According to Professor Ezeigbo, “…the entries for 2018 are characterized by the usual infractions such as confirmed incidences of plagiarism or direct lifting of materials from Internet repositories, copying from textbooks and other printed sources, proven cases of collaboration among candidates and evidence that candidates might have received help from either of their teachers or parents. The infractions are easily detected because the candidates use language above their educational stations. In many cases, we verified originality of entries by conducting a simple Internet check and found many containing significant portions of existing works.

Based on the above, Prof. Ezeigbo stated that “as the Internet and android phones have become basic infrastructures of knowledge production and transmission, our children must now be made to understand that there are regulations concerning the extent to which they can claim materials domiciled in those spaces of learning. They need to be taught early enough how much they can extract from existing materials without infringing on copyright rules. We recommend that rudimentary lessons on the rules of proper writing, how to acknowledge the materials consulted and the consequences of plagiarism should form part of the curriculum of senior secondary school. Learning these rules early enough will ensure they do not develop and carry with them the habit of lifting materials from the Internet to higher institutions.”

For coming top in this year’s competition, Miss Onitilo Deborah of New Chrisfield College, Ikorodu Lagoswill get a cheque of N100,000, a personal laptop, a trophy, a plaque, while the school gets three sets of computer and a printer.

Miss Ashley Davidson of Vivian Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Ikeja, Lagos who came second will go home with a cheque of N75,000, a plaque and the school will get two sets of computer and a printer.

(L-R) Miss. Onitilo Deborah, Miss. Ashley Davidson, Prof. Akachi Ezeigbo, the chief examiner, Master Esigbone Omagbemi and Miss. Fagbemi Semilore Ireoluwa

WINNER: Miss Onitilo Deborah

For emerging the third position in this year’s competition, Master Esigbone Omagbemi Ferdinand of Roshallom International Secondary School, Lagos will go home with a cheque of N50,000, a plaque and the school gets a Computer set. The other winner will get a consolation price of N20,000.

The prices for the winners of the 15th Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for Secondary Schools in the country will be presented at this year’s Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, at the Shell Hall Muson Center, Onikan, Lagos, on Wednesday September 5, 2018.

The theme for this year’s lecture is “Nigeria’s Unity: Matters Arising”. The Lecture will be chaired by Chief John Nnia Nwodo, President General, Ohanaeze Ndi-Igbo World-wide while the lecture will be delivered by Barrister Femi Falana (SAN).

Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition was initiated in the year 2004, as part of activities to celebrate the birthday of the presiding Bishop of TREM, Dr. Mike Okonkwo (MFR) and more importantly to contribute to the development of the educational sector.

Dr. Mike Okonkwo, has continued in this gesture for 15 years, using his God given talent, strength and resources to be a blessing to the younger generation in the pursuit of academic excellence by encouraging them to cultivate the habit of reading and writing effectively. This man of God, who believes in absolute development of mankind in all facet of life, has used the institutionalization of Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition to achieve this dream and desire.

The essay competition program has helped some students that participated in the program to develop more interest in research work, reading extensively and writing constructively. Apart from serving as a tool to encourage reading and writing, the competition has also given the students the opportunity to bare their minds on topical issues that are of significant importance to the social-economic development of our nation. The essay competition has also contributed towards ICT development in the secondary schools especially in government owned schools. Winners have emerged from both governments owned schools and private schools and they have always been encouraged with gifts both in kind and cash.

The Chief Sponsor and visionary of the program, Dr. Mike Okonkwo, is confident of the fact that Nigerian youths can compete favourably with their counterparts in developed nations.