THE 2023 edition of Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition for all Secondary School Students in Nigeria has commenced across the country.
Corporate Services Director, Mrs Oluwayomi Uteh, who confirmed this to Nigerian Tribune, said the annual competition is one of Dr Mike Okonkwo’s Corporate Social Responsibility activities aimed at raising the standard in the educational sector.
She said the competition over the years had helped in sensitising students by making them analytically minded so as to excel in their world by developing their ability to think through issues.
Uteh added that this year’s series with the topic ‘Nigerianisation of Nigerians: a Look Inwards’ is part of activities to mark the birthday of Dr Mike Okonkwo, the Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM).
She disclosed that for this year, the star winner of the competition will go home with N500,000 cash prize, a trophy, and a plaque while the school gets a desktop computer.
According to her, the first runner-up will get a cash prize of N250,000 with a plaque while the school gets a desktop computer. The second runner-up will get an N100,000 cash prize with a plaque, and the school a desktop computer.
“Over the years, the competition has been very successful in reshaping the thought pattern of students to develop problem-solving skills.
“The Mike Okonkwo National Essay Competition spans over a decade of developing and rewarding the writing skills of Nigerian youths towards national development,” she said.
She added that the prizes for this year’s competition will be presented to the winners at the 22nd Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture, scheduled for September.
She described Bishop Okonkwo as a man driven by the passion to show the love of God to humanity in every way, saying he also pioneers a scholarship fund for talented students.
She added: “This passion gave birth to the Empowerment for the Less Privileged Foundation, a non-governmental organisation committed to alleviating the plight of the less privileged in society through donations to hospitals, the establishment of free vocational training centres, running free preparatory schools for students in secondary schools, and facilitating regular public enlightenment campaigns on health issues amongst others.
“His strong faith and confidence in women and the potential in women gave him a place on the board of Trustees of the Women of Global Impact (WGI) a non-governmental organisation putting smiles on the faces of women by providing Shelter to the homeless and also organising free medical fair for both men and women across the nation amongst other things.
“To contribute his quota to national development, he started the Mike Okonkwo Annual Lecture in 2000 and the lecture has grown to become a major contributor to government policies as it brings together seasoned men and women to discuss burning national issues.
“Also, to encourage the writing skills of children in secondary school and also to help them become solution providers to the nation, the Mike Okonkwo Essay Competition was born.
“Today, the topic for the essay is also the topic for the annual lecture,” she added.