Eighteen-year-old Lawrence Akah has emerged the winner of the southeast ozone preservation essay contest organized by the Glow Initiative For Economic Empowerment with support from Access Bank. 

The Enugu State Commissioner for Rural Development, Kingsley Udeh – who provided partnership for the contest – hosted the award ceremony in his office on Friday Oct.13.

More than 30 entries were received statewide for the contest, according to Udeh.

Advising the finalists, the former university lecturer who also taught English in Britain, praised the youngsters for a job well done.

He harped on the importance of making strong presentations, noting that a well-delivered presentation could score higher than a better developed but poorly delivered one. 

Enugu State Commissioner for Rural Development, Kingsley Udeh

Udeh appealed to them to always be punctual and meticulous with their appearance when making a presentation so as to make a good first impression.

Bringing his teaching skills to bear, he offered the contestants a few presentation tips, including titling and content development.

Noting that ozone layer depletion is listed as the 18th global challenge by the United Nations, the commissioner said the assessment of the essay contest was holistic and that the exercise was here to stay as a teaching experience for young people.

He expressed the desire to host the second edition of the competition next year, focusing on a different global challenge. 

The award ceremony was concluded with the presentation of prizes. 

Winners Raphael Eneh, left, Lawrence Akah and Charles Ugwu

Nineteen-year-old Charles Ugwu placed third with a cash prize of N15,000.00, whilst Raphael Eneh, 17, came second and went home with a N25,000.00 cash prize. The winner, Lawrence Akah, who attended the ceremony with his father, took home the grand prize of N30,000.00.

The excited teenager, who has just gained admission to study medicine and surgery at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, thanked the organisers, saying he enjoyed himself and that he would like to become a writer in the future. 

Echoing his son’s sentiments, Nnabugwu Akah commended the organisers of the contest, stating that it was a step in the right direction to improve the reading and writing culture of young people. 

Ifeoma Oraegbunam, an English teacher and writer who reviewed the essays, said the entries were competitive and she put in extra work hours to weight them vigorously on the basis of content, grammar, style and innovation to arrive at the three finalists.

In a remark, the representative of Glow Initiative For Economic Empowerment, Wilfred Okeke, chorused the commissioner, adding that his organisation hopes to groom a generation of young environmental advocates who will drive the advocacy for green economy and sustainable development in Nigeria. 

He thanked the commissioner for his forward-thinking and mentorship approach and called on other public officeholders to go out of their way to mentor the younger generation. 

Noting that funding was a big challenge, Okeke appealed to the state government, organisations and private individuals to support the essay contest by providing sponsorship for subsequent editions.


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