UBA Foundation Set Aside Millions Of Naira For Grab In Its 10th Year National Essay Competition For Secondary School Students

By Stephen Ubanna

When  the  United Bank   For Africa, UBA, Foundation, regarded in Financial circles, as the Pan African Bank, Corporate  Social Responsibility, CSR, arm initiated the National Essay  Competition  for Students in Nigeria and  nineteen other African countries where it had business, some ten years ago, not many people gave it opportunity to survive the test of time.

This is because of the country’s harsh economic situation and it adverse effect on the banking sector. Unknown to pundits, the Bank, under the  Chairmanship of  Tony Elumelu ,  has set up the necessary  structure to sustain the Founddation  like the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a Philanthropist Organisation  founded by the Chairman and which had spent $100 million promoting African Entrepreneurs in the last 10 years.

Between 2000 and 2019, the officials of the UBA,  Foundation, with the active support of the past and present Management of the Bank, under the close watch of  Kennedy Uzoka   were said to have been involved in organising the National Essay Competition for Students in Nigeria and nineteen  other African countries  where it has  flourishing business on ground without failing.  Tens of Students in Nigeria and the nineteen other  African  countries  were  said to have smiled home with the millions of naira theat were said to have been  won to support their education. The Educational grants awarded to the NEC, winners of the  Competition  in  the first eight years   of the Competition  was said to be  between N1.00 million and N1.5 million.  

UBA Corporate Headquarters, Marina, Lagos

It was said to have been increased to N2 million  for the first prize winner in the 2019  NEC, from the participating countries  including Nigerian secondary students. The second  and  third  place  winners were said to have received  N1.5 million and N1.00 million as their  Educational grant  respectively.

The  Bola Atta led Foundation  may have  realised that it would not  be unwise  to award the same Educational   grant given to winners of the 2019  Essay Competition organised by the Foundation because of the Wuhan Town in the Hebei Province of the Asian country of China  emerged coronavirus, popular,COVID 19,  which had spread to  African countries , forcing the African Heads of States and Governments to announce  lock down of their respective countries  to stop further  spread of the  pandemic  last March.

This may have informed  why the Atta led management of the Foundation made a recommendation to the Elumelu led Board of Directors of the Bank for over a 33%  increase  across board for the 2020 winners of the yet to be organised NEC. It was said to  have been approved.  With the approval, the first prize winner of the Competition will now go home  with N2.5 million Educational grant,  while the second and third prize winners  will now receive  grants of N2million and N1.5 million respectively for their University  Education and other Consolation prizes that would be given out to the Finalists.

The approved increase in the Foundation Educational grant to winners of its NEC, in Nigeria and the  nineteen other African countries , may have prepared the ground for the  Management  to call for entries, as it introduced the  digital submission Portal  for the Students both in Nigeria and the other 19 African countries.

 Atta, the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the UBA Foundation  had said that with the newly  introduced  digital submission portal, ‘’more students in secondary schools in Nigeria and the other African countries ‘’will have the opportunity  to scan and send in their entries and compete to win  any  of the prizes of the Educational grant for study  at any University  of their choice on the African Continent’’.

She noted‘’ that as a Foundation , which is the CSR arm  of the UBA plc, a fully digitalisd bank, driven by the mantra to  always  innovate  and adapt to  our constantly changing environment’’, they had to brainstorm on how  to ease the pains  that everyone is feeling in this year of COVID 19 outbreak across Africa, China and other Asian Countries, United States and other North and South American countries including Europe.  The impact of the COVID 19, is so devastating that the global economy had been drastically affected . The situation is so bad  as  so many Companies, particular, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises , SMEs, the world over, have been forced too close down, forcing many workers to be laid off. Companies that had managed to remain in business  had  cut  Staff salary by 50 percent, instead of shedding weight.

Hear her:  Students have not been able to go back to school and there has been a lot of anxiety in families trying  to ensure  that educational gaps do not emerge’’.  It is not surprising  why  she had repeatedly said that  it is imperative for those  of them  at the Management level of the Foundation to ensure that the impact of the programme ‘’do not wane’’.

‘’ We  need   to design  the Foundation  programme to be inclusive as possible so that students who do not have easy access to Computers can still participate in the Essay Competition’’, Mrs.Atta, the UBA, Foundation, CEO, had said.

She may have let the cat out of the bag , when she announced the topic for the Essay Competition,’’ Do you think  that the lock down  during the COVID 19, pandemic was an essential measure in spite of the hardship  it has brought economically. What   would you have done differently and why?  According to her ‘’the  choice  of the topic for the 2020  edition of the Competition,, ‘’is one  that is expected to  help ‘’ promote  creative  and analytical thinking in students while helping them become problem solvers’’.

Uzoka: GMD, UBA plc

Perhaps, to ensure that participants in the Essay Competition, do  not  make any misstake , Attah, was said to have advised all entrants ‘’to hand  write their essays  and upload scanned copies of their hand written entries as well as ID  on the digital portal at www.ubagroup.com/national-essay-competition before October 2, 2020’’.

 She was said to have also advised those who  do not have  the resources  to upload scanned copies of their essay and ID , on the NEC portal to  visit the Bank Head office at Marina, Lagos, or the nearest UBA , office  to drop  off  the hand written essay, for onward submission to the Foundation .  This is the first time since the Competition started that the Foundation is would be accepting  hand written Essays  in order to accommodate as many students  as possible to get the best that could  compete with essay  written by students  of that age in other parts of the world.

The Judges of the UBA NEC, were said  to be Professors selected  from reputable  Nigerian Universities, who, The Value News was informed  ‘’will receive all the essays  on a digital drive, evaluate them  and select the 12  finalists  who will take home some Consolation prizes including personal Computers. 

 The Finale  of the NEC, this year, the Magazine gathered  will be conducted  virtually as the initiative  rolls out  across the  19 more countries in Africa. Note that  the Foundation embodies the UBA Group’s CSR objectives  which seeks  to impact positively  on societies  through several laudable projects and initiatives .

Recall that over the years, the Foundation had donated hundreds of books to schools in Nigeria and the nine African countries where the Bank currently have established  business under the ‘the Read Africa’ initiative aimed at encouraging and promoting   the reading culture in African youths.   

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *