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UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition 2019 to Reward Schools with Highest Entries

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UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has commenced the 2019 edition of its annual National Essay Competition in Nigeria with a call for entries.

Now in its 9th year, the essay competition, targeted at senior secondary school students in Nigeria is organised annually, as part of UBA Foundation’s education initiative which is aimed at promoting the reading culture and encouraging healthy and intellectual competition amongst secondary school students in Nigeria and across Africa.

At the media launch which took place at UBA headquarters in Lagos, the call for entries was announced today. Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive Officer, UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta, said the essay competition, which is in its ninth edition, will provide an opportunity for students in secondary schools across the country to put in their entries and to win prizes in the form of educational grants to study in any university of their choice on the African continent.

Beginning from last year, the prize money increased significantly as the UBA Foundation emphasises that education remains one of the foundation’s key initiatives.

The first prize for the UBA National Essay Competition is a N2 million educational grant, while the second and third prizes are N1.5 million and N1m educational grants respectively.

Speaking to the students and participants at the event, Bola Atta said, “To us at the Foundation, this is our drive to improve the quality of education across the continent. It is also our way of giving back to the society.  The competition is a key aspect of our investment drive in human capital, as we seek to improve knowledge base, allow students to express themselves and write creatively. We will continue to sustain the initiative because education is very important to UBA and we are more than committed to providing the necessary support for students in Nigeria and across the African continent,” she noted.

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“We are driven by the mantra to do well and do good and we will not relent in our efforts to touch lives through our various projects, and initiatives,” Bola Atta told the excited students.

Explaining the modalities for the competition, she stated that entries received from students for the competition will be reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges made up of professors from reputable Nigerian Universities, who will then shortlist 12 best essays for further assessment.

Following this, a second round of the competition will involve the 12 finalists who will write a second supervised essay from which three best essays will be selected as the overall winners from the 12 finalists emerged from the first round of the competition.

Atta explained that the choice of essay for this year’s competition is one that helps promote creative and analytical thinking in students and helps them to be problem solvers. This year, the topic is “What do you think the government should do to control fraud in Nigeria?”

It is important to note that apart from Nigeria, the national essay competition has been taken to other African countries including Ghana and Senegal. More  countries including Mozambique and Kenya will kick off the initiative this year. A unique component of this year’s edition is that, schools that turn in the highest number of entries will be recognised and rewarded a special prize by the Foundation.

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Also speaking at the call to entries today, the Group Head, Direct Sales Agency, Ogechi Altraidewho spoke on the benefits of reading and writing essays, motivated the students to research into the topics and give it their best shot, adding that there is the need for them to focus on adapting themselves to happenings in their generation, and to have a growth mindset. This she explained, will ensure that they can apply themselves and conquer whatever challenges they are faced with.

According to her, reading and writing go hand in hand, and so it is important for students to keep abreast of how the economy can develop through reading and writing.

An English teacher from Holy Child College, Ikoyi, Mrs Ezechukwu Ngozi, gave the students tips on how to write good essays, and advised them to keep to the proper tenets of essay writing to come out tops in the competition.

 As the CSR platform for the UBA Group, UBA Foundation embodies the Group’s CSR objectives and seeks to impact positively on societies through a number of laudable projects and initiatives.

Each year, the bank donates thousands of books to students in Nigeria and across Africa, under the ‘Read Africa’ initiative to encourage and promote the reading culture in secondary schools.

 

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Girls Dominate 2019 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition as Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini is declared the winner .

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It was an all-female top three affair, as 14 year-old Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini of Louisville Girls High School, Ogun State, emerged the overall winner of the 2019 edition of the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition, winning the grand prize of an educational grant of N2,000,000.00 to study in any African university of her choice.

Oluwatoroti clinched the first position at the Grand Finale of the Competition which was held on Monday December 9th, 2019 at the UBA Head Office, Marina Lagos. Her essay was declared the best out of over 5000 entries received by the UBA Foundation from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.

This year’s NEC had12 finalists made up of eight girls and four boys with over 500 per cent increase in participation from pupils across every single state of the federation.

Oluwatoroti who was visibly elated expressed her profound excitement as the winner of the competition, adding that the experience has given her more confidence with which she can face great challenges in the years ahead. She noted that the grant will help in the pursuit of her dream towards becoming a pediatrician.

2019 National Essay Competition 1: l-r: Tutor, Louisville Girls High School, Ijebu-Ode, Ogun State, Mrs Josephine Oladipo; 1st Runner-up and student of Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oyo, Precious Ifeoma Okey; Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka; Winner of 2019 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria, and student of Louisville Girls High School, Ogun State, Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini; Jolaosho’s Mother, Mrs Jaiyeola Jolaosho; 2nd runner-up and student, Beautiful Beginning Academy, FCT Abuja, Miss Aimeé Okoko; and CEO, UBA Foundation, Mrs Bola Atta, at the grand finale of the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition for Senior Secondary Schools in Nigeria, held at UBA House in Lagos on Monday

“This is something I worked very hard to achieve. I read and studied very hard for this competition, and I am very happy that my hard work paid off in the end. I am indeed very grateful to UBA and the UBA Foundation for this huge opportunity and for making me believe in myself, and I would like to encourage other students not to stop trying,” Otokini said.

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Her mother, Mrs Jaiyeola Jolaosho, said, “This grant will go a long way to support my bid for quality education for Oluwatoroti. Now our dream to give her an education at the African Leadership Academy will be fulfilled with this grant. I am so happy about this, because I noticed that she has a penchant for writing, and we are so elated that she won. I will encourage all her siblings to apply for  for this competition going forward.”

The second prize was bagged by Precious Ifeoma Okey, aged 15, of Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oyo State, who won a N1,500,000 educational grant, whilst the third prize of N1,000,000 went to Aimeé Okoko, 18 years old. Aimeé attends Beautiful Beginning Academy, FCT Abuja. All 12 finalists received brand new laptops from the UBA Foundation.

This year, the Foundation introduced a prize for the school with the highest number of essay entries and the Livingstone College, Lagos came tops. They will  be receiving gifts worth over N1m from the UBA Foundation  for their participation in the competition.

Congratulating the winners at the event, the MD/CEO of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, commended them for their exceptional brilliance.  “Every student who sent in an entry is a winner. To be confident about your writing skills and ambitious 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 2020” she said.

According to Atta, UBA Foundation, being the CSR arm of UBA Plc, makes it a point of duty to give back to communities where UBA operates. Education in any capacity, Atta noted, remains  the Foundation’s focus area as it is the bedrock of any nation.

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In his remarks the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said UBA was very happy to be touching lives and making a solid impact through its Foundation’s National Essay Competition and the grant it gives out annually to those who emerge winners. He specifically commended the fact that more females emerged winners this year, adding that it is in line with the bank’s commitment to women empowerment.

Uzoka who is also the Chairman, UBA Foundation said, “What we are doing today in unique in Africa, we are doing this to continue to encourage our young ones to study hard because we noticed that overtime, the level of education has been going Southward.  For 9 years now, we have been supporting students with grants to further their educational pursuits’.

Uzoka informed the gathering made up of parents, students and the media, that the essay competition has produced well over 100 winners, since its inception in 2011 in Nigeria – many have already graduated, and a few are studying varied courses at Universities in Nigeria and across the African continent.

He encouraged the winners to be of good character, and ensure that apart from striving for academic excellence, to avoid any negative action that might dent the foundation’s image and that of their families as they are now UBA ambassadors.

The judges, led by Professor of English (Gender Studies) and Director of Pre-degree Studies, University of Uyo, Mrs. Ini Uko, stated that they were impressed with the participants who showed great promise, noting that most of the students wrote intelligently and their ideas were well articulated, new and refreshing. She added that the judges were also encouraged by the fact that entries came in from students from all parts of the country.

The UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition initiative has been operational in other countries in Africa including Ghana and Senegal whilst Mozambique and Kenya are expected to kick off in 2020. The initiative .is mapped out to spread to more African countries in the very near future.

UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. It also has presence in the global financial centres, London, New York and Paris.  UBA provides banking services to more than 15 million customers globally, through diverse channels.

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Improve the Business Environment to Drive Industrialisation, Wealth Creation in African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries, Elumelu Tells ACP Presidents in Kenya

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Wealth Creation

Tony O. Elumelu, CON, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman, Heirs Holdings and United Bank for Africa Group, urged African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Heads of State to improve the business environment in their countries to drive industrialisation and wealth creation in ACP member states.

 

He said this while presenting the keynote speech on the theme “Industrialization and Private Sector Engagement for Economic Transformation of ACP States” at the Presidential Dialogue of the 9th ACP Business Summit in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

Elumelu stated that industrialisation will not be achieved without support for small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) and improved access to electricity. “We cannot hope to industrialise if we do not fix the issue of power, if our entrepreneurs spend so much of their resources to power their businesses, how then are they expected to make the investments necessary to upgrade and industrialise? If we do not tackle these pertinent issues, we will be unable to achieve industrialisation, wealth creation and poverty reduction,” he said.

 

He highlighted infrastructure development as another critical area needed to achieve sustainable development, highlighting the key role the United Bank for Africa Group plays in achieving this. “UBA is a force for development in Africa through infrastructure investment and leading the way in cross border payments and services, with the objective of encouraging trade across the continent,” he said.

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While citing the impact of the flagship Entrepreneurship Programme of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Elumelu highlighted the critical role partnership between the private and public sectors, as well developmental organisations, play in achieving industrialisation. The Tony Elumelu Foundation, a private-sector-led philanthropy,  is on a mission to catalyse the economic transformation of the continent by empowering young African entrepreneurs – over 7,500 beneficiaries across 54 African countries thus far – through its Entrepreneurship Programme. Elumelu shared stories of beneficiaries in Kenya including Dr. Peter Gichuhi Mwethera, who has developed a contraceptive gel, Uniprin, which aims to prevent HIV infection, and Maureen Amakabane whose company, ‘Usafi Sanitation’, is bridging the sanitation gap in schools by providing waterless toilets.

 

 

He said: “To date, we have 497 beneficiaries in Kenya, 596 in Uganda, 187 in Tanzania and 194 in Rwanda. This brings the total number of TEF Entrepreneurs in East Africa so far to 1,474, so far. Organisations such as the UNDP, African Development Bank, the ICRC, and GIZ have helped increase the number of young entrepreneurs we can support “.

 

 

The President of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta shared the same approach to development, while highlighting his country’s private-sector-focused plan which has propelled the country’s ease of doing business rank from 129th position out of 190 economies in 2013 to the 56th position in 2019.

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President Kenyatta said: “Our young people are tech-savvy and indeed with a huge entrepreneurial spirit. They are ready to embrace the digital revolution. We are experiencing a flourishing digital innovation ecosystem which can stimulate the rate of growth of ICT and technology innovations, and nurture vibrant tech startups and incubator hubs as Tony [Elumelu] has mentioned, of those young men and women he has supported through his family and Foundation”.

 

 

In closing, Elumelu stressed the importance of including women in the development agenda of the ACP region, commending the European Investment Bank (EIB), for its initiative “She Invest”, which is focused on mobilising 1 billion Euros for women across Africa. “We at the Tony Elumelu Foundation strive to reach the same goals of uplifting women out of poverty and empowering them with knowledge and resources. This is an invitation to join forces as we have done with the UNDP to lift 100,000 young African boys and girls out of poverty, thereby stemming migration challenges,” he said.

 

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Breaking: Buhari Announces Fowler’s Replacement, He Is Muhammad M. Nami

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Sacks

President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to renew the appointment of Babatunde Fowler, Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Fowler’s tenure expired today 9 December. A statement by the Presidency is quoted to have said that Fowler is expected to hand over to the most senior director on the board who will take charge.

He will be replaced by Muhammad M. Nami, following the confirmation of a new board by the Senate. Muhammad M. Nami’s nomination was conveyed in a letter Buhari sent to the Senate, on the composition of a new board for the revenue agency.

The board is composed of a member representing each of the six geographical zones and statutory representatives from a select number of ministries and government agencies.

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Nami is described as a well-trained Tax, Accounting, and Management professional with highly rated qualifications and professional practice and licenses from relevant professional bodies”.

He has almost three decades of practical working experience in Auditing, Tax Management and Advisory and Management services to clients in the banking, manufacturing, services and public sectors as well as non- profit organisations.

A graduate of Bayero University Kano and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology (1991) and a Masters of Business degree (2004) respectively. He is also a fellow of Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, Institute of Debt Recovery Practitioners of Nigeria and Associate Member of Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) and Association of National Accountants of Nigeria.

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He started his career with PFK in 1993 and rose to the position of a Senior Consultant in charge of Tax management and advisory services. He is currently the managing consultant of Manam Professional Services (Chartered Tax Practitioners and Business Advisers) based in Kaduna, Abuja, Niger State.

He has served and is still serving, on many companies’ Board and Statutory Board Audit Committees. He was appointed as a member, Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Stolen Assets in November 2017 by President Buhari.

 

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