Otong Usongobong Paul Wins 2022 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition (NEC)

Otong Usongobong Paul has emerged winner of the 2022 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition (NEC) at UBA House, Lagos, on November 14, 2022.

15-year-old Otong Usongobong Paul, a student of the Federal Government Girls College in Ikot-Obio Itong, Akwa-Ibom, beat 11 other finalists to clinch the best prize at the competition, which had over 5,000 entries from students of Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

As winner of the competition, which is in its 12th year, she receives a scholarship worth five million Naira to study at any African university of her choice.

She also received a brand new, state-of-the-art laptop amongst others.

According to Otong Usongobong Paul:

“I am so grateful to the UBA Foundation for this great opportunity. It has helped me believe in myself and bolster my confidence. This scholarship will go a long way towards helping me achieve my dream of becoming an ophthalmologist. The opportunity has changed my life, and I really appreciate UBA and the UBA Foundation.”

The UBA Foundation promised to support her throughout her educational career and provide effective mentorship to ensure that she blossoms into a useful asset to the country.

Princess Sholabomi, also a 15-year-old student at Value Spring College, Lagos, won the second prize. Sholabomi won a 3 million educational grant and a laptop, while the third prize of 2.5 million and a brand new laptop was won by 15-year-old Sharon Nwajiaku of Ota Total Academy, Ogun State.

The other nine finalists, which included only one boy, also received brand new laptops as well as consolation prizes and learning materials.

Oliver Alawuba, the UBA Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, who presented the prize to Paul, stated:

“As a bank, we are interested in empowering our youth, and to do this, we must educate them and provide them with enabling avenues such as the UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition. We have launched these initiatives in all 20 countries where UBA has a presence. I was in Sierra Leone a few weeks ago, where the NEC was held, and I was really encouraged by the enthusiasm and participation I witnessed there.

Since we at UBA know that our future lies with our kids, UBA will continue to provide the necessary enablement that will help them take Africa to the world where it needs to be.”

Kennedy Uzoka, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UBA Foundation, congratulated the 12 finalists, adding that UBA has been touching lives and making a solid impact through the UBA Foundation and has produced hundreds of winners, some of whom have long graduated from higher schools and who have continued to impact their communities.

In the words of Kennedy Uzoka:

“I commend everyone for being a part of this event. We set up the NEC over 12 years ago because we saw the need to allow students to express themselves and convey their ideas, and over the years, we have seen that we are doing something very unique and truly African.

We have given scholarships to over a hundred students across Africa, and we have been able to produce doctors, engineers, and lawyers through this platform.”

The MD/CEO of the UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, also stated:

“Every student who sent in an entry is a winner. To be confident in your writing skills and ambitious enough to enter a competition to further enhance your educational path is laudable.

For those that did not come first this year, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter for the competition again next year.”

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