15-year-old Samuella Sam-Orlu wins 2017 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition

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*L-R: Group Head, Human Resources, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Patricia Aderibigbe; GMD/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka; Overall Winner of the 2017 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition and Student of British Nigerian Academy, Miss Samuella Sam-Orlu; MD/CEO, UBA Foundation, Bola Atta; and Group Head, Secretariat and Corporate Services, UBA Plc, Bili Odum during the grand finale and prize giving ceremony of the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition, held at UBA House in Lagos

The 2017 edition of UBA Foundation National Essay Competition was unique as female students topped the first three positions.
A 15-year-old Samuella Sam-Orlu of British Nigerian Academy Abuja emerged the overall winner, carting a laptop and N1, 000, 000.00 educational grants to study in any African university of her choice.
Samuella was announced winner at the grand finale of the competition held on November 20, 2017 at the UBA head office in Lagos ahead of 11 other finalists selected from over 1,000 entries received by the Foundation from senior secondary school students in Nigeria.
In her remarks, Samuella who was escorted to the event by her guardian, Mrs. Jacqueline Uzoadibe said winning the competition would propel her to do more in realising her dream of becoming a medical doctor.
“I am very thrilled and thankful to God. I want to say that I was very grateful to hear my name announced as the winner. I am indeed very grateful to UBA for this huge opportunity and making me believe in myself. This grant will go a long way to support my bid for quality education,” she said.
The first runner-up, Deborah Chinwendu Innocent, 15-year-old student of Enal International Schools Abuja, won N750, 000 educational grants and a laptop while the second runner-up, Yahofon Ettah Essien of the Nigerian Christian Institute, Uyo Akwa Ibom State, ran away with N500, 000 educational grants and a laptop.
Nine other finalists were given laptops. However, all the 12 finalists were given certificates.
Speaking at the event, the group managing director and chief executive officer of UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said the bank “is happy that it is touching lives and making solid impacts through this competition and the grant it gives out to those who emerge winners.”
“Seeing past winners tell their stories on the impact the grants have made on their education and particularly how the financial burden was lifted off their parents, gives us joy that our foundation is unique and stands out from others in touching lives,” he said.
He disclosed that the essay competition had produced over 100 winners since its inception in 2011 in Nigeria, with winners studying varied courses in Nigerian universities as well as other universities on the African continent.
“I must also state here that we want to make sure that the grants are given to those who really need it. That is why we restrict the grant to schools within Africa alone. If by chance the parents of any winner send his or her ward to an elite school outside Africa, we would not go ahead with that support because what we are really after are those who need the grant as we contribute to the development of Africa, Uzoka added.
He encouraged the winners to be of good character and ensure that apart from academic excellence, they avoid any negative action that might dent the foundation’s image and that of their families.
In her remarks, Foundation’s managing director and chief executive officer, Ms. Bola Atta, congratulated the winners and praised them for their exceptional brilliance.
“Every student who sent in an entry is on a winning streak already. To be confident about your writing skills and thirsty enough to enter a competition to further enhance your educational path is laudable. For those that did not win, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter for the competition again in 2018’ she said.
She said the competition is the bank’s corporate social responsibility.
“UBA Foundation, being the CSR arm of UBA Plc, makes it a point of duty to give back to communities where UBA operates. Education is one of the Foundation’s focus areas as it is the bedrock of any nation,” she stressed.
Thereafter, Atta enjoined the finalists to be good ambassadors of the competition which, according to her, is in its sixth in Nigeria and affirmed that it will be held every year.
In her remarks, one of the past winners of the 2011 edition, Miss Enitan Amodu, who is now a graduate of physiotherapy at Babcock University, said the grant had taken a huge burden off her parents financially and also helped to build her confidence.
“Being a winner of this grant gave me a platform to shine and has helped to reinforce my determination that I can achieve anything I set out to do. That is why every day, with heartfelt gratitude to UBA, I have decided to be a worthy ambassador of the foundation by keeping the fire burning most importantly because I don’t want to be another unemployed graduate statistic,” she said.
Later, the lead judge in the competition and a professor of English (Gender Studies) and director of pre-degree studies at the University of Uyo, Mrs. Ini Uko said she was impressed with the participants who showed lots of promise as to what to expect of the future of Nigeria.
She said the students wrote intelligently and their ideas were well articulated, new and refreshing.
She also said the judges encouraged by the fact that entries came in from students from all parts of the country.

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