Home Education Abia state student, Emmanuel wins Wole Soyinka National Essay competition

Abia state student, Emmanuel wins Wole Soyinka National Essay competition

Master Hawkins-Ogelle Emmanuel of Jomeg School Umuahia who won the 8th edition of the annual Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange Project, WSICE 2017, held at Abeokuta, Ogun State, has presented his award and trophy to the Abia State Government through the state Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu.


The Annual Essay Competition which featured 83 students drawn from across the country was graced by the Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, who later presented the award to the winner. The theme for the event was INTOLERANCE: THE BURDEN OF OUR MORAL AND NATIONAL CONSCIENCE.

Speaking while receiving the award winner and his mother in his office, Abia State Commissioner For Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, praised Abia school children and their teachers for consistently making the state proud.

According to him, “Our school children and their hard working teachers are the best in Nigeria and even beyond. For 3 years, back to back, our students have maintained 1st position in WASCE and have won many individual laurels even in far away USA”.

The Commissioner who used the occasion to announce that the government has reached agreement with striking teachers that would ensure that Abia public Schools resume classes latest by Monday, May 14, 2018, applauded Abia teachers for their exceptional commitment and devotion to duties while assuring that the state government would soon evolve a sustainable mechanism for ensuring that teachers and pensioners are paid as and when due.

“It is also gratifying to note that Hawkins is a science student, as is the majority of our high flying students, and yet won laurels in an area that is purely within the arts. That speaks to our well rounded educational system that is producing the best from our private and public schools.

“At the same time, I am worried about the prize money of N100,000.00 at a time young people stay in one room for about a month celebrating indolence and showcasing vice but still go home with mouthwatering prize of N45m.

What is the message we are sending to our young minds when we reward academic excellence with N100,000.00 and sheer indolence with N45m? We need to re-examine our priorities as a people and ensure that we only reward the right virtues.”

Chief Okiyi however applauded Prof Wole Soyinka for organizing the event and called on educationally minded private sector operators to support the program with generous cash endowments for winners, to encourage academic excellence and hard work among young persons.

The Essay writing competition took place on July 13, 2017, and at the end, head of the jury Dr. Razinat Mohammed (an English Language lecturer with the University of Maiduguri announced Hawkins-Ogelle Emmanuel of Jomeg College, Umuahia,   Abia State, as the winner; Nwanga Solomon of St. Charles Secondary School, Nigercem, Ebonyi, came 2nd while Aboloko Erica of Breakthrough Academy, Ogun State, came 3rd.

The 1st place winner was given a scholarship worth N100,000.00 while the 2nd and 3rd place winners received N75,000.00 and N50,000.00 respectively.

Speaking during the visit to the Commissioner, proprietor of JOMEG Schools Umuahia, Pastor Joseph Okowu, stated that his school maintains high academic standard to ensure that students do not cheat during examinations.

He added that the school has produced other award winners including the brother of Hawkins who won an award in a recent science competition.

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  1. Government College Umuahia, won the grand prize in the 6th
    edition of Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange program.

    The 2015 edition of the yearly Wole Soyinka International
    Cultural Exchange (WSICE) project held from July 12 through 14. The annual
    programme was initiated in 2010 and debuted on the 76th birthday anniversary of
    the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka who is described as the “quintessential
    artist and symbol of our humanity”, by the Executive Producers of the project,
    Nigeria-based Zmirage Multimedia Limited led by Alhaji Teju Kareem and
    U.S.-based GlobalNewHaven led by Professor Segun Ojewuyi.

    According to the Producer of WSICE
    2015, Haneefat Ikharo, this year’s was the sixth edition of the project for the
    Nobel laureate at 81, and it took place solely in Abeokuta Ogun State, his
    birthplace, made possible with the timely intervention of the Ogun State
    Government who hosted the project and all its participants. The producers were
    on the verge of cancelling the programme due to funding challenges.

    The theme for that year was ‘Justice
    and Freedom: Essential Conditions for Humanity,’ and was chosen because justice
    and freedom are the two fundamental concerns of Soyinka in his career of
    promoting better humanity not only in his literary writings but also in his
    interventions in local and global socio-cultural and political discourses.

    Unlike last year’s celebration which
    was a milestone for both the project at its 5th when Soyinka turned 80, this
    year’s edition was directed more towards the exploration and exploitation of
    the power of storytelling as an art form that can be deployed to propagate
    moral values in a society that is riddled with poor child upbringing in the
    midst of a chaotic educational system.

    Two headline storytellers were
    present to conduct storytelling Workshops for the project participants and
    secondary school students in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.

    Mrs. Theodora Ulerie (aka Auntie
    Thea, also popularly called “The Mystic Storyteller”), who hails from Trinidad
    & Tobago, and another accomplished storyteller, Mrs. Noma Sodipo (aka
    Auntie Noma) who is one of Nigeria’s most prolific storytellers and creator of
    the popular TV show ‘Story Time with Auntie Noma.’

    The message of the storytelling
    workshops is simple, “Self-awareness is the prerequisite of peace among people.
    Reasoning, tolerance and understanding are cornerstones of peaceful lifestyles.

    The individual through
    self-education must strive to eradicate ignorance in order for understanding
    and comprehension to reign in one’s life”.

    This was the message organisers
    sought to inculcate in all youths through the WSICE, especially the
    participants in the Senior Secondary School Essay Competition.

    This year, there were 81 finalists,
    all of them secondary school students selected from over 20 states of the
    federation after a selection process that went through over 250 entries.

    The essay competition participants
    wrote the final essay on the topic “Justice and Freedom: Essential Conditions
    for Humanity” on July 13, the birthday of Soyinka. Judges included a lecturer
    in the Department of English, University of Maiduguri, Dr. Razinat Muhammed,
    who announced the results on July 14 at the Office of the Governor of Ogun

    Winners of this year’s WSICE are
    Master Onwuha Nnaemeka Daniel of Government College, Umuahia, Abia State, who
    took the first position, Master Anigbo Stephen Chinedu of Christ the King
    College, Onitsha, Anambra State, second and Master Onmonya Prince Dan of Mount
    St. Gabriel Secondary School, Makurdi, Benue State, third place.

    The winners were awarded
    scholarships worth N150,000, N100,000, N75,000 respectively and they also went
    away with a mini laptop computer each. All the 81 finalists went home with a
    copy of Wole Soyinka’s Ake: The Years of Childhood.

    The students and officials of the
    WSICE2015 were hosted at the Governor’s office by The Deputy Governor Chief
    Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga and the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Taiwo
    Adeoluwa. Also in attendance was Ogun State Head of Service Mrs. Modupe
    Adekunle. Onanuga accorded the guests a warm welcome. She also presented the
    scholarship, gifts and trophy to the winners.

    After the photo session with the 81
    participants and Ogun State officials, all the participants proceeded to
    Ijegba, the country home of Soyinka where a Theatre Arts lecturer at University
    of Ibadan Dr. Tunde Awosanmi was waiting to give the finalists and officials a
    tour in the absence of the celebrant Soyinka.

    Knowing that he would be away,
    Soyinka left a written message for the children which he insisted should be
    read by Dr. Razinat Muhammed, the head adjudicator for the essay writing. In
    the message he urged the young ones not to despair with the current state of
    insecurity in the country, but admonished them to remain patriotic, discipline
    and focussed on their future even while holding leaders accountable to behave

    Soyinka also gave each of the guests
    a copy of A Poet’s Guide to Mandeland, a collection of poems by various authors
    but compiled and read into a recorded CD by him.

    IN the evening, the 81 participants,
    alongside over 500 Ogun State students, were all dressed in traditional adire
    attires to participate in the ‘Do Your Own Thing’ contest which included
    cultural display, debate, competition, Spelling Bee, Reading Competition, etc.

    The highlight of the evening was the
    stage presentation of Kongi’s Harvest, directed by Segun Adefila for Crown
    Troupe of Africa. Poetry performances was by Efe Paul Azino and Samson Apata,
    and the dance drama by the Ogun State Cultural Troupe. The venue was held at
    the Forest Amphitheatre, Ijegba.

    The dance and drama event was well
    attended by many government dignitaries, top actors, actresses, musicians,
    theatre educators and practitioners alike.

    Prominent among those in attendance were Lagbaja, the masked
    musician, Tunde Kelani, the fimmaker, the soccer legend, Segun Odegbami, the
    theatre director Niji Akanni among others. Soyinka’s son, Ilemakin gave the
    vote of thanks before the birthday cake was cut.

    By July 15, it was clear the 81
    student participants had bonded and were reluctant to bid each goodbye. They
    scrambled to collect each other’s contact information.

    No doubt, the primary aim and
    objective of the WSICE — fostering unity and understanding amongst different
    cultures was achieved! Organisers singled out Ogun State Government led by
    Senator Ibikunle Amosun without whom the 6th edition of WSICE would not have
    been a reality, Smridus Hotel for support and Air Peace for appreciation.


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