By John Ikani
A 200 level student of the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom state, Enomfon Akpan has won One Million Naira (N1,000,000) at the 5th edition of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) Annual National Undergraduate Essay competition.
The prize giving ceremony was held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State on Wednesday and the essay by the 23-year-old was adjudged the best among 2,200 entries submitted by undergraduates who must be within their first and second year in the university.
The topic for this year’s essay contest was “Ten Years of Local Content Implementation in Nigeria: Successes, Challenges and the Imperative of Expanding Beyond Oil and Gas.”
Michael Williams, a 200 level student of the University of Lagos and indigene of Ogun state, emerged the first runner up with a cash prize of Seven Hundred Thousand Naira (N700,000.00) and a laptop.
In the same vein, Godstime Nwaeze, a 200 level law student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa and a native of Ebonyi state, clinched third position with a cash prize of Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N500,000.00) and a laptop.
The top ten finalists who won a laptop each include: Michael Agbaiza of Uniben from Edo state, Ekiti state born Owolabi Oluwadare and student of University of Ibadan, Abosede Iyiola of UI and a native of Ogun state, Omotayo Ajibola, Oyo state and student of UI, Adama Enenche of Benue state and Uniport.
Others are: Gerald Abaagu, Benue state and University of Jos, Plateau state and Eze Somtochukwu of Enugu state and student of University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Speaking at the award giving ceremony held on Wednesday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, the Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Wabote said the undergraduate annual essay competition was conceptualized as a strategic approach focused on the youths who are the real drivers of the Nigerian Content Development initiative of the board.
Simbi, who was represented by Head of Corporate Communications, Barr. Naboth Nyesoh, noted that the idea was to enhance the understanding of the youths on local content drives so as to effectively position them to explore the opportunities in the oil and gas industry.
The Executive Secretary hinted that the board has created over 50,000 job opportunities for Nigerian youths, adding that the target of the NCDMB was to increase local content participation in the oil and gas industry to seventy percent in 2027.
He highlighted some of the achievements of the board for the past ten years of its establishment to include: construction and completion of its 17-storey corporate headquarters in Yenagoa, construction and completion of 10 megawatts gas fired power plant at Elebele, catalyzing of the construction of modular refineries, launching of 350 million US dollars Nigerian Content Intervention Fund as well as the launch of 50 million US dollars research and development fund among others.
Delivering his appreciation speech, the overall winner of the competition, Enomfon Akpan who is a student of Mechanical Engineering from Abak local government area of Akwa Ibom state, thanked the NCDMB and organizers of the event for giving him and many other Nigerian youths the opportunity to have better understanding of local content in the oil and gas industry.
While attributing his success to hard work and God’s grace, the 23-year old enjoined all Nigerian students to take their academics seriously, adding that with education, “there’s no height one cannot attain.”
In a vote of thanks, the NCDMB Chief Supervisor, Corporate Communications, Mr. Obinna Ezeobi said “this is the biggest prize money for undergraduate essay writing competitions in Nigeria. NCDMB will never abdicate its responsibility to develop the capacity of Nigerians. This competition will endure.”