By Godwin Okondo
THE 9mobile telecommunication company has flagged off an environment-sensitive essay competition for senior secondary school students in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. A winner is expected to emerge on September 30, 2022 and will receive tech gadgets that will aid learning. The media briefing on Thursday, September 8, 2022 coincided with World Literacy Day (WLD) that had a telling theme, ‘Transforming Literacy Spaces.’
PR Specialist, 9mobile, Joshua Oluranti said the WLD theme was in line with the vision of the essay contest when he said: “So, the competition on environment we are looking to execute is somewhat in line with the theme for this year’s World Literacy Day. No space can be bigger than the schools, in terms of where literacy is learned and being taught. That’s why we are merging these two, our efforts at this essay competition, and tying it into the world literacy day.
The theme for the essay contest is ‘How Overpopulation Is Becoming a Global Pandemic to the Environment,’ which prompted Corporate Communications Lead, Chineze Amanfo to explain teh essay contest idea thus: “Why an essay competition? Like we are doing with the radio programmes, we feel that there’s need to educate more people at the grassroots about the environment. If we are able to get the attention of these secondary school students, it will go a long way in transferring that knowledge, because if these children make the environment friendly, I think they can transfer that knowledge to their homes, the city, and the country as well. So we’ve come up with this essay competition. With the entries they turn in, we can then get a sense of what they feel, and this might grow into something bigger, even in shaping some of the policies that might come up, because you can never tell who is watching and who is listening.”
Criteria for the essay contest include no entry fee required, the competition is strictly for senior secondary school students in the FCT, Abuja, each school represents one entrant (so schools will submit only one essay), all entries must be original works in English, all entries are final, and no revisions shall be accepted. Also, plagiarism and off-topic material will result in disqualification, entries should not have been previously published in professional media, entries must be from 400 to 800 words in length, and all entries must be double spaced in Times New Roman 12pt, with numbered pages in one of the following formats – MS Word and Word Perfect. All other formats will be disqualified.
The five-man jury for the essay competition comprises essentially of writers that include Johnson Abbaly, Samuel Osaze (poet), Dr. Farida Mohammed (writer and academic), Temitope Adebiyi and Anote Ajeluorou (journalist and writer).
Amanfo spoke further on the idea driving the essay contest among other corporate social responsibilities of 9mobile. According to her, “Our CSR initiative rests upon the tripod of education, health and the environment. In education, we have a lot of programmes running, and we have the career counselling programme for students in junior secondary schools. What we do is catch them while they’re finishing junior secondary school and when they start choosing the subjects that would mould their future, and we show them different career options and tell them what is required, and they take it up from there.
“We are here to unveil the 9mobile Essay Competition for Senior Secondary School Students in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and I must appreciate our partners, Abuja Municipal Education Authority, for receiving us so warmly, and helping us shape up the technique we are going to use for this competition. They’ve been very helpful and supportive.
“We are faced with environmental problems such as air and water pollution, lead exposure, waste management, deforestation. In Lagos, where I live, we have had a lot of flooding. Where I come from in the East, we have faced problems of erosion, and the environmental factors such as lead poisoning. They are more associated with most health-related causes in Nigeria, and globally overpopulation is associated with negative environmental changes ranging from famine, deforestation and a whole lot of things.”
Oluranti also explained the reason for choosing Abuja for the essay contest when he said, “So, this essay competition launches today, in partnership with the FCT Education District. Why are we having it in Abuja? We have a lot of initiatives around education, health and environment around different regions of the country, and we feel it’s time we hit Abuja. For our brothers and sisters in the South-East, a lot of things are cooking that we are taking to the South-East, so we can truly demonstrate that Nigerianness of the 9mobile brand.
“So, we are in Abuja as part of the effort to continue to deepen our relationship with the people of Nigeria and make our presence felt. We are going to have about 70 schools, which will participate and send in one entry each, and we have a panel, very distinguished personalities, who will judge the entries that come in. Entries will come in two weeks from now, and the judges will take their time to develop their long list, maybe of 10 or more, and then have another shortlist immediately where a winner will emerge. That winner will be presented to the press and the public in our regional office in Abuja. That’s where the finale will happen and that would be on September 30.
“Our essay competition on the environment is designed to create awareness and foster calls for action, so that we all become more responsible when it comes to environmental sustainability. The theme for this year is ‘Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces.’”
”We appreciate the partnership 9mobile has brought to us for the important essay competition for students,” said the Director of Administration and Finance, FCT Education Secretariat, Abuja, Leramoh Abdulrazaq. “This is an opportunity you have given our students to also improve on their essay writing. In education, whatever you do, whatever you have up there, you have to be able to pass it to others in writing. You have to be able to express yourself properly in English language. This is the opportunity that we have offered our students to sharpen their communication skills.
“Writing is so important in education and outside the education environment, and that is why I appreciate this opportunity 9mobile has brought to our students. I can assure you that our students will use this opportunity to improve their writing skills, and also to learn and widen their horizon. We appreciate the opportunity that 9mobile has brought us, and we also encourage other public-spirited organizations and individuals to initiate programmes for our students that will improve and bring value to their lives, as against some other programmes that are truly meaningless to them.”