Six students drawn from secondary and tertiary schools across Demsa, Lamurde and Numan local government areas of Nigeria’s Adamawa State were on Friday, December 30, 2016 awarded cash prizes and certificates for emerging winners of the Mgbanghe Annual Essay Competition.
The Mgbanghe Essay Awards Ceremony, which took place at the Mope Hotel Extension, Numan, witnessed a remarkable turnout of senior government officials and other distinguished personalities who wanted to show their support for Mgbanghe’s effort to encourage debate and scholarship among the youth.
While welcoming guests to the event, the President of Mgbange, Mr Emmanuel Maluba restated the organisation’s commitment to giving young people the opportunity to make their voices heard, to engage with topical issues that are important to them and to freely express their aspirations for the future.
“Mgbanghe endeavours to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people by celebrating excellence and imagination,” Mr Maluba said. “We want encourage dialogue and the spirit of debate and critical thinking because we believe that free expression is critical to developing enduring democracy. That is why we organise this annual essay completion.”
Chief Pwavidon Jaule, who was guest speaker at the event, explored the theme of education and its role in the development of societies and individuals. He traced the evolution in Nigeria, starting from the 1950s, through the 1960s and to contemporary times and wondered why standards had depreciated in recent with high school dropout rates despite advances in technology and teaching methods. He suggested that the decline may have been as a result of poor implementation of educational policies as well as retirement of a certain generation of teachers who were committed to the vocation.
According to Chief Jaule, Nigeria was not matching its investment in education with its fast growing population, adding that out of every 1.5 million students that seek admissions into the Nigerian universities, only about half a million would eventually secure places due to limited resources, a situation that accounts for the high number of children that are out of school.
“In Adamawa state alone,” he pointed out, “we have about 732 public secondary schools, adding the private ones, we have a total of 800 schools with an average of 200-300 in each senior class reaching roughly 240,000.00 out of which only 3,000 maybe qualify for university admission.”
He argued that the solution was for government to invest more in education, adding that “failing to educate the youth is a sure recipe for perpetual underdevelopment.”
Chief Jaule commended Mgbanghe for initiating the essay competition and advised the young essayists to occupy their minds with positive thoughts, new innovations and creativity, and to always aspire to their Everest by putting their eyes on the prize.
Also, in their goodwill messages, other guests showered encomiums on Mgbanghe for organizing an annual essay competition which they said will go a long way in building the intellectual capabilities of the younger ones.
Media legend and public affairs analyst, Chief Timawus Matthias, commended Mgbanghe and encouraged the awardees to always work towards mentoring as Mgbanghe did, and advised them to reciprocate the good gesture and strive to mentor others too.
In her remarks, university lecturer and Adamawa State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta also commended Mgbanghe for the initiative, especially for helping young people to appreciate the value of education and to imbibe the spirit of healthy and critical debate. She encouraged more young women to participate in subsequent editions of the competition, stressing the importance of ensuring that everyone had a voice their gender notwithstanding.
Also, the Executive Chairman, Lamurde Local Government Hon. Vrati S. Nzonzo thanked Mgbanghe for its immense contribution not only in the area of education, but also in peace-building and preservation of Bwatiye cultural heritage.
Mr. Mennas Ngangurah, who represented, Myaniyomso Club at the event, expressed delight with the pioneering spirit of Mgbanghe despite its relatively younger age.
Presenting the vote of thanks, the Mgbanghe Educational Services Coordinator Mr. Senan Murray thanked the guests for their support, adding that their presence was a challenge to Mgbanghe to do even better and expand the scope of the competition and enrich the quality of conversation on burning issues that affect the people of Adamawa State.
“We are very delighted with the quality of essays we received this year,” said Senan Murray, Mgbanghe’s Educational Services Coordinator. “It shows the growing popularity of our essay competition. And we are even more pleased that we are able to provide these students the opportunity to develop the culture of constructive critical engagements with topical issues.”
Those that graced the ceremony among others were the Adamawa State Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaletapwa Farauta; university lecturer, Dr. John Ngamsa; media legend Chief Timawus Matthias; Executive Chairman, Lamurde Local Government Council, Hon. Vrati S. Nzonzo; retired senior civil servant and business development leader, Chief Pwavidon Jaule; DPM Guyuk Local Government Council, Mr. Joseph Taiya; representative of Member representing Numan Constituency in the Adamawa State House of Assembly, Hon. Sodom D. Tayedi; senior civil servant and representative of Myaniyomso Club, Mr Mennas Ngangurah; Secretary, Gyawana State Development Area, Mr Feria James Ngangurah and representative of Myapromohumwa Association, Mr. Bulus G. Puto.
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