By Prisca Sam-Duru
Citizens Intervention and Accountability Nigeria, CIAN, has unveiled its maiden essay competition for secondary school students within the country and those in the Diaspora.
Tagged, ‘Presidential Advocacy Essay’ the competition which has cumulative cash award of N2.2 million, has as topic, ‘Education Agenda for Nigeria’s Next President’.
It is expected that 5 million students across Nigeria from Junior Secondary School, JSS 1 to Senior Secondary School, SSS 3 along with their diaspora counterparts, will participate in the ‘Presidential Advocacy Essay’. All essay entries must be original, well-written in English Language and must be between 500-800 words in length. Students are to submit only one essay each to avoid disqualification.
After thorough screening of the entries received, six best submissions will be shortlisted to participate in a round of debate to ensure originality, as well as put faces of the students behind the advocacy. This will also provide the opportunity to witness how the students will own and defend their essays. The debate is also aimed at engendering national interest needed to stir state actors into action.
Three finalists will emerge thereafter as Presidential Advocates and shall be allowed to present their selected papers at the CIAN National Civic Project tagged, ‘Nigeria’s Next President’, in Abuja, with prizes awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.
Briefing the press in Lagos, CIAN’s Director of Information and Strategy, Dr Candyfidel Onwuraokoye, first lamented that “Nigeria’s educational system is in different crises of infrastructural decay, neglect, waste of resources, problem of teacher-student ratio, overcrowded classes, poor remuneration and ridiculous conditions of service.
“While all these are not bad enough, there are over 13.2 million out-of-school children who roam the streets to make livings from alms-giving to begging, and from hawking on the streets to selling in the traffic….”
Dr Onwuraokoye noted it was in a bid to enthrone the Nigeria of our dream with bubbling education sector that the ‘Presidential Advocacy Essay’ was initiated, adding that the essay is aimed at “giving young pupils the opportunity to advocate for a leadership that will represent and champion their interests, as well as one that will lead the much-awaited charge on Nigeria’s Education Development Agenda.”
CIAN therefore invites essays from willing secondary students via an entry submission portal which is already open on CIAN’s website. The competition will remain open from November 1 to November 30, 2021.
The CIAN’s Committee Director of Project, Mr Samson Ayefu, further hinted that through the ‘Presidential Advocacy Essay’, young students are given the opportunity to have a say in the leadership that will represent and champion their interest as well as that of the 13.2 million out-of-school children who live precariously from begging and child labour.
Three Presidential Advocates who will emerge, Ayefu disclosed, shall be allowed to present their selected papers in February 2022 at the CIAN National Civic Project – Nigeria’s Next President’ in Abuja where the first, second and third winners will each receive N1 million, N700,000 and N500,000 respectively.