A FORMER student of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, Adedapo Adeniruju, has won the UNICAF essay competition. He received the grand prize of a scholarship for an online Masters at UNICAF.
Adedapo, 27, who also got a new laptop, is a writer and documentary film maker. Based in Ibadan, Oyo State, the mechanical engineer graduated in 2016.
Over 1,000 entries were submitted for the contest, of which five winners emerged.
The other winners were given cash awards and tablet phones. Victor Nwachukwu, a civil engineering graduate, came second, winning $500, and Asiboje Esereosonobrugwe, a chartered accountant, came third with $300.
Taiwo Ishola came fourth with $200 and Onwuli Nwannebuife emerged fifth with $100.
The prizes were presented to the winners at the UNICAF Nigeria office in Opic Estate, Lagos.
The topic for this year’s essay competition was How important is the role of higher education in shaping the contribution of young Nigerians in the national effort for development and progress.
UNICAF is an online platform in sub-Sahara Africa that offers higher education of international standard, accessible to Africans and school leavers.
Adedapo said hard work contributed to his success, adding that his creative experience also gave him an edge.
He said: “I was searching through the internet about two months ago when I found out about the scholarship. What tickled my interest was the topic. Then I decided to put together my creative energy to contest.
“I write regularly because I’ve been doing that for years. The judges know why my essay stands out, but I think it also has to do with the efforts, hard work and the creative experience I’ve got.
“The success is thrilling because this is my first experience as an overall winner of an essay competition. Over the years, I’ve always been a runner-up. I feel grateful and excited through the journey of writing and emerging the first position.’’
UNICAF Nigeria Marketing Manager, Emmanuel Ebanehita said the essay competition was aimed at impacting youths positively.
He noted that the contest was also to assist the youth in contributing to national development.
“Nigerian citizens up to 30 sent in their thoughts on the contribution of young people in the national effort for development and progress, stressing the importance of quality higher education in empowering young people, making them more knowledgeable, more efficient and more employable, thereby increasing their contribution to the development of the country.
“The majority of the entries submitted to the competition considered the many different aspects shaping the contribution of the young to national development and highlighted various problems faced by a large number of Nigerian youths today, such as poverty, limited access to quality higher education, widespread unemployment and lack of empowerment or of a sense of purpose,” he added.