Miss Iruoma Favour Lazarus 200-level Law student from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, has emerged as the winner of the 7th Nigerian Content Annual National Undergraduate Essay Competition, 2023, organised by the National Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB).
According to the Board, the top 10 finalists were awarded prizes at the Grand Finale of the competition held on Wednesday at the Lady Daima Memorial Event Center, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
It further revealed that the competition, which was open to all Nigerian undergraduates, required participants to write on the topic “Nigerian Content and the Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
EnergyDay gathered that Miss Iruoma Favour Lazarus, a 200-level student of the Faculty of Law, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, the overall best, received a cheque for one million naira (N1,000,000.00) and an HP laptop.
Miss Lucy Agbalu, a 100-level student of Microbiology at the University of Calabar, emerged as second, and received a cheque of seven hundred thousand Naira(N700,000) and an HP laptop, while the third prize was won by Akinduyite Samuel, who received five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) and a similar laptop.
Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), in a remark during the Award and Prize-giving Ceremony, said the Board seeks to “inculcate local content consciousness among students of our higher institutions,” thereby creating champions of such an endeavour.
He described local content as “an existential necessity for every nation, particularly for developing nations like Nigeria.” That much was evident from the resilience of Nigeria’s oil and gas industry in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020/2021.
The NCDMB boss noted that the topic of the essay competition, which was “Nigerian Content and the Lessons from COVID-19,” was well-conceived “considering how the COVID-19 pandemic devastated our world.
He said at the height of the pandemic, “the movement of persons and goods was disrupted for several months, forcing every nation to rely on their local resources for survival.”
He said, “The Nigerian oil and gas industry survived that period because of the huge local human and infrastructural capacities we had developed since the enactment of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act in 2010.”
“Efficient implementation of the Act, ensured that Nigeria’s oil production continued without interruption, even when all the expatriates had left the country.”
Engr. Wabote, who was represented by Barr. Esueme Dan Kikile, Manager, Corporate Corporations, called on policymakers at different levels of government and in the private sector to take deliberate steps “to develop resilient and sufficient human and infrastructural capacities in key sectors of our national fabric, which can withstand any external shocks in future.”
While commending winners of the essay contest and the consultants, Mahogany Century Concepts Limited, the ES further stated that the Board has sustained the competition for seven years because of the huge importance it attaches to it.
He added that the intention is to challenge students in tertiary institutions to sharpen their writing skills and engage youths in productive activities.
Professor Allen Agih, in his opening speech, commended the NCDMB for its remarkable contributions to capacity building in the country.
The Chairman who was also represented by Mr. Fibainonine Paulleye stated “Nigerians did not run to foreign countries when COVID-19 struck.”
Mr. Eyinimi Omorozi, Chief Executive Officer of Mahogany, commended NCDMB for the sponsorship of the essay competition and contribution to national development.
EnergyDay further gathered that the annual essay competition is one of several initiatives of the NCDMB designed to benefit the youth segment of the Nigerian population.
Other activities of the Board include the ‘Integrated Institutional Strengthening and Upgrade,” under which technical workshops and installation of world-class facilities in institutions like Government Technical College, Amoli in Enugu State, was renovated.
Others are Government Technical College, Abak in Akwa Ibom State, Government Technical College, Port Harcourt, and the University of Ibadan Vocational School.