By John Okeke
A 17-year old Nigerian student, Nnemdi Ozoemena, has emerged the runner-up in the senior category of the 2019 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.
Mr Blackson Bayewumi, Country Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Nigeria and Chairman Nigeria Conversation, said this in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday.
Bayewumi said the Federal Ministry of Education had on March 11, launched the competition in Abuja on behalf of the Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Nigeria during commemoration of the Commonwealth Day.
According to him, the Royal Commonwealth Society in Nigeria launched the Essay Competition in Lagos on 20th February, 2019, “adding, the competition was held all over the 53 member countries of Commonwealth.
“Ozoemena emerged runner-up courtesy of her literary piece chosen from more than 11,000 entries from across the five regions of the Commonwealth.
“She wrote about “Hello” a tale of two young people struggling with issues in their society and who do not feel truly appreciated for whom they are told through direct messages on Twitter.
“From different countries, backgrounds they find common ground and become friends; the One Final Panel Judge described the piece as ‘shop window of how youth are speaking to each other today’.
“Ozoemena will be invited to attend an Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace where the Duchess of Cornwall will present them with their certificates on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.”
Bayewumi said that Ozoemena came closely behind a 15 year old Canadian Beached Wang, in the senior category.
He said that Veronica Shen, 13, from Singapore emerged winner in the junior category and Elise Jensen, 12, a Ghanaian, emerged runner-up.
He, however, said that the senior category was for people within between ages 14 and 18, while the junior category was for those who are 13 years and below.
Bayewumi said that notable authors would read extracts of the winning pieces at the ceremony that would be part of a week of cultural and educational activities in London, UK.
He explained that this year’s competition titled “Connected Commonwealth” required applications on how the contestants could use cultural, technological and environmental connections for positive change across the Commonwealth.
Also, the topics on the competition provided room for young people to write on ways that Commonwealth potentials could be used to strengthen the vast and varied links between citizens.
“It is important to conclude that Nigerian young people have the competence, capacities, capabilities and intelligence to compete globally and excel if given the opportunity and right environment.
“While few Nigerian youths indulge themselves in crime, there are millions others making the nation proud in academics, sports, science and technology, entertainments and other dignifying human endeavours,” he said.
He said that a pan-Commonwealth body which consist over 100 volunteer judges across 40 different countries assessed the entries for the competition.
Bayewumi also said that the Judges commented on the skill and talent shown by any of the young writers, with entries described as ‘massively memorable’ and ‘very powerful’.
The competition is the oldest international schools’ writing competition organised by RCS founded in 1868, as network of individuals and organisations to improve prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world.
RCS seeks to promote Commonwealth societal values through youth empowerment, education and advocacy.