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John ODHE, Yenagoa
The winner of the 5th edition of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) annual Undergraduate Essay Competition, Enomfon Akpan, a 200 level student of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, has been awarded a star prize of N1million with a brown new laptop.
The topic of the 2021 edition of the competition was “ten years of local content implementation in Nigeria: Successes, challenges and the imperative of expanding beyond oil and gas.”
In the same vein, Michael Williams, a 200 level student of the University of Lagos and indigene of Ogun state emerged second position with a cash award of N700,000 and a laptop.
Similarly, Godstime Nwaeze, a 200 level law student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa and a native of Ebonyi state clinched third position and went home with N500,000 and a laptop.
Other top ten finalists who won a laptop each include: Michael Agbaiza of Uni-Ben from Edo state, Ekiti state born Owolabi Oluwadare and student of University of Ibadan, Abosede Iyiola of UI and a native of Ogun state, Omotayo Ajibola, Oyo state and student of UI, Adama Enenche of Benue state and Uni-Port.
Others are: Gerald Abaagu, Benue state and University of Jos, Plateau state and Eze Somtochukwu of Enugu state and student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Speaking at the award giving ceremony held on Wednesday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote said the undergraduates annual essay competition was conceptualized as a strategic approach focused on the youths who are the real drivers of the Nigerian Content Development initiative of the board.
Simbi, who was represented by Head of Corporate Communications, Barr. Naboth Nyesoh, noted that the idea was to enhance the understanding of the youths on local content drive so as to effectively position them to explore the opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
The Executive Secretary hinted that the board has created over 50,000 job opportunities for Nigerian youths, adding that the target of the NCDMB was to increase local content participation in the oil and gas industry to seventy percent in year 2027.
The ES highlighted some of the achievements of the board for the past ten years of its establishment to include: construction and completion of its 17-storey corporate headquarters in Yenagoa, construction and completion of 10 megawatts gas fired power plant at Elebele, catalyzing of the construction of modular refineries, launching of 350 million US dollars Nigerian Content Intervention Fund as well as the launch of 50 million US dollars research and development fund among others.
In his address, Mr. Eyinimi Omorozi, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Mahogany 21st Century Concept Limited, who is the consultant for the essay competition, said 2,200 entries were made by undergraduates from different universities across the country out of which ten students made the top list.
He thanked the NCDMB for sustaining the sponsorship of the annual event for the past five years, pointing out that the programme was a strategic platform aimed at giving the youths the opportunity to excel and enhance their academic capabilities and deepen their understanding of local content in the oil and gas industry just as he commended the panel of judges for a job well done.
In their separate speeches, chairman of the occasion and Vice Chancellor, African University, Toru-Orua, Prof. Kingston Nyamapfene and Royal Father of the day, HRM, Ibenanaowei of Gbarain Kingdom, King Bubaraye Dakolo identified a nuzzle between the NCDMB and the universities in creating great minds to solving the many problems confronting the Nigerian state, urging the management of the board to sustain the annual event.
Responding, the overall winner of the competition, Enomfon Akpan who is a student of Mechanical Engineering from Abak local government area of Akwa Ibom state, thanked the NCDMB and organizers of the event for giving him and many other Nigerian youths the opportunity to have better understanding of local content in the oil and gas industry.
While attributing his success to hard work and God’s grace, the 23-year old enjoined all Nigerian students to take their academics seriously, adding that with education, “there’s no height one cannot attain.”
In a vote of thanks, the NCDMB Chief Supervisor, Corporate Communications, Mr. Obinna Ezeobi said “this is the biggest prize money for undergraduate essay writing competitions in Nigeria. NCDMB will never abdicate its responsibility to develop the capacity of Nigerians. This competition will endure.”