Baru splashes cash on NNPC quiz winners, charges them to reach for greater heights

The 2017 edition of the NNPC National Quiz Competition ending in Abuja on Tuesday with the corporation’s Group Managing Director, Dr. Maikanti Baru, charging the contestants to use the opportunity presented by the participation in the competition to develop themselves as the next generation of Nigeria’s leaders.

The grand finale, which held at the amphitheatre of the NNPC at the corporation’s headquarters, had in attendance Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Ibe Kachikwu, Governors Aminu Tambuwal and Godwin Obaseki of Sokoto and Edo States in attendance. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, who was special guest at the event, was represented by Hon. Joseph Akinlaja, Chairman of the House Committee on Petroleum Downstream sector.

Delivering his opening address, Baru noted that the competition, which commenced in 2000, is a critical element in the NNPC’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy.

“The NNPC prizes education dearly. In this respect, our arc tilts towards Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (i.e STEM subjects) branches of knowledge, given the great roles they play in national building. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators. Innovation is one of the critical pillars of any progressive economy.

“ It is in realization of this that the Nigerian national Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) decided to make the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education a key element of its corporate social responsibility strategy. Interestingly, it is a reason why we established the NNPC National Quiz Competition with its focus on these branches of knowledge,” Baru said.

Shedding light on the competition, Baru said this year’s edition is the sixteenth in the series, the first edition in 2000 having been limited only to the Niger Delta.
The NNPC GMD said the reach of the event was expanded further this year with the grassroots edition of the competition taking place in all 774 local government areas of the country.

“We are proud to say that even areas of the Northeast affected by the insurgency are not left out of the competition. We can therefore say that these students before us present the “best of the best” that Nigerian secondary schools have to offer, “Baru stated.

He disclosed that in order to ensure that the best standards are maintained in terms of quality and integrity of the quiz, NNPC has gone into partnership with the West African Examinations Council (WAEC), the Junior Engineering Technical Society (JETS), as well as the Science Teachers Association of Nigeria (STAN).

To encourage the students and spur them to greater achievements in the future, Baru announced cash prizes for all the participants. He said all 18 contestants in the final would be given a one-off educational grant of N100, 000. He said this would help defray their cost of tertiary education.

He added that the overall winner of the quiz would be given a scholarship award of N300,000 per session while the second and third placed winners would receive the sum of N250,000 and N200,000 per session for the duration of their tertiary education. He said the rewards are redeemable upon presentation of evidence of tertiary institutions.

Also speaking at the event, Dogara thanked the NNPC for the programme, which he said would go a long way in ensuring a sustainable legacy of quality in science and technology in the country. He urged the students to go back and be good ambassadors of their schools and their country.

“It is said that education makes people easy to govern and difficult to enslave. Do not be afraid to ask questions because through asking you will you and be better for it. Ask questions and share knowledge with each other, that will be the basis for the development of this country,” Dogara told the students.

For his part, Kachikwu admonished the students to see in the appearance at the final an opportunity to strive harder. He urged the students to make friends amongst themselves as it will help foster bonds of unity particularly at a time like this when Nigeria is going through difficult times.

Eighteen students drawn from eighteen states of the country and representing the six geo-political zones in the country participated in the final with Isioma Nelson Ifeanyichukwu of federal Government College, Warri, Delta State, emerging winner with 75 points. In second place was Benjamin Chisom Chibueze of Dority International Secondary School, Aba, Bia State with 70 points. Akingbulugbe Oluwatobiloba of Hallmark Secondary School, Ondo, Ondo State finished in third place with 65 points.