It was a
day of bliss on the 24th of April, 2013 at Ika weekly  newspaper office located at No 108 Old Lagos,
Asaba road, Agbor as Steve Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien Foundation rewarded students
that participated in the 3rd annual essay competition with cash prizes and
writing materials.

                At exactly 12noon the
celebration began. The participants were 12 students (7 Girls and 5 Boys) from
various schools spread across Ika land. The moderator of the occasion, Mrs.
Patience Uduh welcomed important dignitaries and participants, to the occasion.
She was full of praises and  appreciation
for Mr. Steve Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien for his determination and doggedness in
the last six years of Ika Weekly’s existence. In the face of all odds and
hurdles, she said the publisher  has
tracended many obstacles by the will of God. She noted that the driving force
behind Mr. Ashien’s commitment is primarily, his love for Ika people, for
students and largely for humanity. Continuing, she said the publisher is very
passionate about human development of Ika students. “ Our people are our asset.
Without investing in the human capital from the young age, we will get no
where” she remarked about Mr. Ashien.

                She enjoined all to partner with
the publisher to make Ika students the pride of the nation and the world.

                The topic of this years essay is
“the expectations of your community from their political representatives.” The
moderator did a holistic analysis of the competition, noting that when it comes
to the content of the essay, the students did very well. She remarked that the
students touched on areas like, provision of portable water, good and easily
accessible roads, electricity, security etc.

                On the organization of the
writing of the essay, the students needed to improve. The bulk of the blame was
placed on the teachers, who were encouraged to work harder to help the students
to assemble their materials when writing. She’s of the view that the students
are brilliant but only needed a little assistance in this regard.  

                On expression, she said only 30%
of the students impressed us under this category. She encouraged the students
to work on this area. On mechanical accuracy, the students scored 90%.

                The schools that were
represented at the essay competition 
were: Royal Academy Group of Schools, Boji-Boji Owa, Agwa-Ewuru
Secondary School, Ewuru, Agbor, Ute-Okpu Grammar School, Ute-Okpu, Baptist,
Girls Model High School Agbor,  Concern
International Group of Schools, Boji-Boji Owa, and Ogbemudein Mixed Secondary
Schools, Agbor.

                Nkem Udoh Merit of Ogbemudein
Mixed Secondary School, Agbor  Who took
6th position went home with a cash prize of N5,000. Alexander Dominic of
Ute-Okpu, Grammar School who took 5th position was given a cash prize of
N10,000. Orji Kalu Rhoda of Ogbemudein Mixed Secondary School, Agbor who took
the  4th position went home with a cash
reward of N15,000. The 2nd runner up Enuji Blessed of Baptist Girls Model High
School, Agbor Won a cash prize of N20,000. Okoh Omiken the 1st runner up from
Royal Academy Group of Schools, Boji-Boji Owa Went home with a cash prize of

                The winner of Steve
Ekiri-Mekiriuwa Ashien foundation secondary schools essay competition, Miss
Uzoma Chioma, an SS2 student of Baptist Girls Model High School, Agbor, went
home with the sum of N30,000. Other prizes for each of the participants include
education note books and writing pens.

                Presentation of prizes were made
by important personalities, which includes Admiral (Chief) P.V. Eluma, Chief
Anumale S.W., Chief (Mrs.) Nwaebo, Elder John Ehikwe, Mrs. Patient Uduh
expressed her reservations on the general attitude of students toward learning.
She encouraged a change of attitude by the teachers and the students toward
education since education is central to human capital development.

                Responses from the high table
came from Chief Anumale S.W. who pointed to the programme of Mrs. Goodluck Jonathan
(wife of the  President of Nigeria) on
girl child development which was manifested at the essay competition. Seven
girls won prizes as against 5 boys. He thanked and appreciated the girls  and asked them to keep striving. “The sky is
your limit” he said. He also congratulated the male students.

                Another important personality at
the award winning ceremony, Chief (Mrs.) Nwaebo prayed that God will sustain
this competition. More people should emulate Mr. Ashien.  Every thing you do, do it well, she said,
saying that  Oprah Winfrey once said,
“that the only thing that triumph over discrimination is excellence.” Don’t be
limited. She said Her respect for teachers is great saying her husband was a
teacher. Another dignitary at the occasion, Elder John Ehikwe, commended the
students for striving hard. He  said he
is an accountant who excelled by competing. He urged the students to be open to
competition. Students should stop wasting time watching T.V. He admonished the
male students not to leave school only to go and ride okada. Don’t just go for
academics, learn skills. Technical education is the key, he remarked. They will
be better with skills than a graduate without job. Admiral (Chief) P.V. Eluma,
another dignitary at the event, said that life is what you make of it. He
turned to teachers and urged them to help the students. Give them home works.
Keep them busy, he said. Mr. Ogboi Paul a teacher from Ogbemudein Mixed
Secondary School Agbor said that all Ika sons and daughters should do whatever
they can to develop education. We should harness the resources we have. Having
200-250 students in a class is inappropriate. He thanked everybody present, the
organizer and founder of the essay competition.

                 Mr. Steve Ekiri-Mekeriuwa Ashien expressed his
joy on the successful 3rd edition of the event. A man of very few words, he
congratulated the participants. He encouraged reading. Readers are leaders he
said. He said for over 45 years of his life, he has been reading. His library
he said is open to the public at no cost. The reading culture of our people is
dying. Read your books he stressed. He thanked Mrs. Patience Uduh. He also
thanked her husband for allowing her to be part of the memorable events since
its inception.

                He said, he is not happy that
schools and parents do not show appreciation for competition. He urged Ika  people to 
pray for him and his organization, because  some people who are antagonistic to  truth are very much after him,  and Ika Weekly newspaper. “Conscience is an
open wound only truth can heal it.” We are reporting the truth which a lot of
people do not like, he remarked.

                Mr.Ogboi Paul the teacher
representing Ogbemudein Mixed Secondary School Agbor concluded the blissful
event with prayer.   

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