A 16-year-old SS3 student of Ijaw National Academy, Kaiama, Franklin Martin, on Thursday won a one million Naira cash prize for essay contest organized for Senior Secondary Schools in Bayelsa.
The competition, organized by an NGO, Robert Sunday Iworiso (RSI) Foundation, was aimed at encouraging creative writing amongst the youth in the state.
The topic for the competition was captioned “Education as imperative for National Development for global relevance.”
Martin, who spoke at the grand finale in Kaiama, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state, beat other 10 best writers selected from both public and private schools for the final.
The second place went to Tamara Ayameiya of Biedomo Premier School, Yenagoa with a N250,000 while the third place went to Blessing Tari of Tari-pet International School, Yenagoa who received N150,000.
The winner said the feat would propel him to do more in attaining his dreams and potentials.
“I am very thrilled and thankful to God and the organizer for this huge opportunity and for taking a huge financial burden off my parents, especially at this trying time.
“I believe the money will be judiciously used, especially on my education as I move on to the next levels and to the university,” he said.
Mr John Iworiso, Director of the Foundation, said the competition was to discover and nurture gifted students in the state.
“The competition is one of the several ways through which we hope to discover untapped talents from the creeks and farmlands of Bayelsa to the rest of the world.
“We have engaged and inspired their minds as change agents and the true leaders of tomorrow for the state and Nigeria.
“It is important to state that, with all that has befallen us as a people; education remains the key to the survival and liberation to the Niger-Delta region.
“I urge you to continue to learn how to write as we make plans to make it an annual event for SSS 3 students,” he said.
Mr Michael Afenfia, Chairman of the Organizing Committee praised the students for their outstanding performance.
“Every student who sent in an entry is a winner. It shows that he or she is confident about his or her writing skill.
“For those that did not win, I will say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing and enter the competition again in the next edition,” Afenfia said.
Mr Bina Illagha, Bayelsa Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), urged students across the state to tap and key into the opportunity to build their career.
Illagha also called on students to continue to improve their habit of reading and writing.