James-Ibe Akunna has emerged the national winner of the 2020 African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) essay competition [Nigeria].
A statement from the office of the Director General, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Mallam Farouk Salim named the winners as James-Ibe Akunna who came tops with 66.31 percent, Eze Harrison Ebuka, 65.50 percent and Eze Samson Somtochukwu 65.47 percent. The top three students are of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).
Two other essays from Evan-Ibe S. Sobechi and Offor O. Christopher completed the five entries presented by Nigeria to ARSO for the continental competition.
The theme for this year’s edition of the competition according to the statement is “The Role of Standardisation in Resolving and Addressing the Socio-Economic Issues for the Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons and Creating Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa”.
Mallam Farouk Salim congratulated the National winners of the essay competition and expressed the hope that some of the five entries from Nigeria would be among the final winners at the continental version of the competition.
He enjoined all undergraduates in tertiary institutions in Nigeria to participate in future editions of the competition to further spread the message of standardisation and deepen the understanding of its potential for value addition to lives, the economy and the environment.
The SON Chief Executive expressed appreciation to the inter-ministerial screening committee responsible for the collation, assessment and scoring of the essays.
A total of forty-three essays were received from eleven government approved tertiary institutions out of which forty-one met the requirement for assessment, the statement said.
Members of the inter-ministerial screening committee, according to the SON statement include representatives of the Federal Ministries of Education, Health, Women Affairs and Social Development as well as the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
James-Ibe Akunna, Winner of the 2020 African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO) essay competition [Nigeria], shared her experiences, thoughts and insights with PositiveNaija on October 30, 2020.
Motivation for participating in the competition and helpful factors
Winning the national round of the 2020 SON/ARSO essay contest, to me, is like one of those “impossible” biblical moments where, for instance, a boy slays a seasoned gigantic warrior with something as pathetic as a pebble. Sincerely, only God can give a credible account of how and why my entry emerged victorious.
All the same, I cannot deny that the University of Nigeria Essayists’ Group (UNEG), to which I and other finalists belong, was instrumental to the achievement of this feat: previous winners of the contest provided tips and encouragement to every member. Still, just belonging to a nest of writing champions is potent enough to fan embers into flame.
Writing this essay was fraught with challenges, from getting my registration form signed by the Department to overcoming the fearsome aura surrounding the given topic and dealing with procrastination. But I eventually submitted, a few minutes to the deadline (not good).
Relevance of the essay to the Nigerian society
The topic was “The Role of Standardisation in Resolving and Addressing the Socio-Economic Issues for the Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons and Creating Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa.” In a country like Nigeria where Boko Haram is the devil and Fulani herdsmen the deep blue sea, the issue of forced displacement, no doubt, demands attention.
Nigeria, as it is, is sitting on a three legged stool, and anyone can be displaced at anytime. What happens then? What instruments/standards are in place to ensure that our basic human rights are intact even then? Are they being implemented? So you see, one cannot overemphasize the importance of developing and implementing standards to regulate the manner refugees and IDPs, are treated. Imagine yourself in the current situation of IDPs in the country.
All in all, if you are a writer, just keep writing, improving, and trusting – in God and in yourself. Success is sometimes dressed in ashes.