2020/21 SESSION-IN-REVIEW: ANOTHER YEAR TO SING THE PRAISES OF UNN ESSAYISTS
The University of Nigeria Essayists’ Group, a para-academic club consisting of the finest pen smiths at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) has remained unrivalled yet again in the realm of competitive writing. By leaving the University’s vestige across the globe through its unrelenting dominance of national, regional, and international writing contests, they have lent credence to the belief that a UNN student is always naturally ahead. The past academic year (2020-21 session), although fraught with the unfortunate interception of academic activities due to the nine-month-long strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), was another opportunity for the group to increase the university’s fame by extending their reign in competitive essay writing.
Beginning in a similar fashion as the years prior, the group kickstarted the year by extending the university’s six-year streak as a consistent winner of the Continental ARSO-SON Essay contest. At the 9th edition of the contest, Michael Okoro (Biochemistry, 400L) clinched the third prize at the national level of the competition and opened the gates to an academic year of endless celebration and accomplishments.
Michael Okoro (L) at the awards ceremony for the 9th edition of the Continental ARSO-SON Essay Competition
Meanwhile, UNEG Alumnus, Chibuzor Ndubisi (who was one of the best-graduating students of his departmental cohort of 19/20, finishing with a CGPA of 4.7) took a bow from Undergraduate competitive essay writing in a grand style—by usurping the overall grand prize at the Manufacturer’s Association of Nigeria (MAN) @ 50 Essay competition. During the awards ceremony at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, this feat was accompanied by high praise for the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and her essayists’ group. Another alumnus, Christopher Offor had earlier emerged as the joint second-prize winner of the 8th Amartya Sen Prize for his astute contribution to Global Financial Integrity. For this, he was a recipient of the shared prize of $3000.
With the strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) taking effect on February 14, 2022, universities were forced to cease lectures, and students were forced to halt their academic pursuits. However, these student writers did not cease action; instead, they increased their vertical strike by shooting for scores outside their academic confines. Speaking of these kinds of scores, UNEG took two of the five finalists spots at the 11th National Travel Essay Competition (NTEC) 2022—with Merciful Nwafor (Medical Laboratory Sciences, 500L) eventually coming second overall and Christopher Offor emerging as third runner-up. Chijioke Ibe (Medical Radiography & Radiological Sciences, 500L) and Lovelyn Ugwuezema (English & Literary Studies/History & International Studies, 300L) were shortlisted as finalists for the Emeraldscape Environment Development Essay contest and the Excellent Minds Essay Competition, respectively.
Moving on, Chijioke Ibe (Medical Radiography & Radiological Sciences, 500L) bagged the prize for the overall winner of the Nigerian Association of Radiography Students Essay Competition and Favour Agwuna (Pharmacy, 500L) secured the first runner-up position at the Good Governance Ambassadors of Nigeria competition. Thus, the first half of the year ended with these students being flown around the country to receive awards, recognitions, and standing ovations.
In the second half of the year, despite the ongoing academic strike, these students performed wonders. Chioma Ezeigbo (Law, 500L) gave the university something to brag about as she came fourth runner up, first runner up, second runner up, and overall winner of the Youth4Nigeria Essay Competition, The Prolific Pen National Contest by 360 Nation, the Budding Lawyers Space contest and the National Association of Enugu State Law Students, respectively. Chijioke Ibe emerged as a finalist in the annual essay competition of the Mathematics4Life Foundation, while Favour Agwuna clinched third runner-up in 360 Nation Essay. Chijioke Ibe (Medical Radiography & Radiological Sciences, 500L), Chiahanam Nwobodo (Medicine & Surgery, 400L), and Favour Agwuna (Pharmacy, 500L) would eventually take the winning streak further. But before then, these group of students would have littered themselves in the top 10 positions of the annual Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) essay contest—with Okike Christian (Medicine and Surgery, 400L) as 2nd, Clinton Simeon-Edafe (Computer Science, 300L) as 5th and Samson Eze as 10th (Medicine and Surgery, 400L)—and UNEG alumnus, Dr Adaobi Ike-Okonkwo, would have emerged as the overall winner of another essay contest.
Speaking of streaks, the University of Nigeria has been the poster university for the annual essay competition organized by CIPM Nigeria—often having as many as four students among the finalists and at least one student in the top 3. This year, the university set a new record, breaking its previous record, by entirely dominating the contest. She supplied the competition with its grand prize winner, its first runner-up, second runner-up, and third runner-up in the persons of Chiahanam Nwobodo (Medicine & Surgery, 400L), Favour Agwuna (Pharmacy, 500L), Chijioke Ibe (Medical Radiography & Radiological Sciences, 500L) and Isaac Fredrick (Medicine & Surgery, 500L). Favour Agwuna (Pharmacy, 500L) went on to be announced among the top four winners of the Sana’a da llmi Foundation national essay contest. As if that was not laudable enough, Favour Agwuna took the second position in the first edition of Good Governance Ambassadors of Nigeria (GOGAN), while a UNIBEN lecturer took the first position. In the second edition of the GOGAN national essay competition, Favour
Agwuna was announced as the overall winner.
AwardingChiahanam(L),Favour(M), and Chijioke(R)for their outstanding essays in the CIPM Nigeria annual essay competition.
That was the not end. Alumnus, Christopher Offor, replicated his success with the Amartya Sen Prize—this time, as co-first prize winner alongside fellow UNEG Alumnus, Savictor Sobechi Evan-Ibe. For their immensely insightful contributions (which have been published in Journal ASAP), they were presented with the shared prize of $5,000 and invited to present their work at the awards ceremony on 11 November 2022 in the context of the annual Global Justice Conference. Lovelyn Ugwuezema (English & Literary Studies/History & International Studies, 300L) took the 2nd position at the Elite Farming Initiative while Dr. Akunna James Ibe took home the Long Punocracy Prize for Satire.
November was just as good as October for Chiahanam Nwobodo as he went home with yet another first prize in a national essay competition —The Nigerian Society of Environment Essay Competition, 2022, themed: “Energy Transition in A Fossil Fuel Dependent Country. The Case of Nigeria.” In addition to the top prize money, Chiahanam Nwobodo received a free invitation to join the 31st National Conference of The Nigerian Environmental Society (NES) in Abuja, which featured many dignitaries including the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Madam Catriona Laing.
31st NES National Conference held in Abuja, November 2022: Chiahanam Nwobodo (R), the overall winner of the NES 2022 essay competition; Madam Catriona Laing, British high commissioner to Nigeria (M); Odu Sunday Bancha (L), 3rd prize winner of the NES 2022 essay competition from the University of Abuja.
This group of passionate students have achieved numerous other triumphs that have been acknowledged and celebrated recently. They have also garnered recognition and praise from organizers of national essay competitions across the country for maintaining an unmatched multidisciplinary approach compared to any other set of competitive essayists in Nigeria. UNEG expresses deep gratitude to Mr Tochukwu Nwachukwu, a lecturer in the Department of Public Administration and Local Government at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the Staff Adviser of UNEG. He has consistently provided unwavering support to the Group in all aspects—offering administrative assistance, encouragement, and valuable words of wisdom. The team is truly fortunate and proud to have him. Also, the team thanks her outgoing board of executives—Dr. Akunna James-Ibe, Isaac Fredrick, God’sWill Dickson, Chioma Ezeigbo, Chukwudalu Abugu, Samson Eze, Severa Onyetube, Merciful Nwafor—for steering this ship to victory, and her alumni for the unwavering support.
The university administration extends its congratulations to these students and encourages them to continue upholding the esteemed reputation of UNN. We express our sincere wishes for even more remarkable achievements in the future. Let the flag of UNN fly high!
Glory to UNEG! Glory to the University of Nigeria!
- Chiahanam Nwobodo – Medicine and Surgery
- Favour Obianuju Agwuna – Pharmacy
- Chijioke Kennedy Ibe – Medical Radiography & Radiological Sciences
- Oluebubechukwu Eze– Pharmacy