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 that the Federal Ministry of Education had on March 11, inaugurated 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 inaugurated the Essay Competition in Lagos on Feb. 20, 2019 and that the competition was held all over the 53 member countries of the 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,” he said.

Bayewumi said that Ozoemena came closely behind a 15-year-old Canadian, Beached Wang, in the senior category.

He added that Veronica Shen, 13, from Singapore emerged winner in the junior category while 12-year-old Ghanaian, Elise Jensen, emerged runner-up.

He, however, said that the senior category was for people between the ages of 14 years and 18 years, while the junior category was for those who were 13 years old and below.

Bayewumi said that notable authors would read extracts from the winning pieces at the ceremony as part of a week of cultural and educational activities in London, UK.

He explained that the 2019 competition titled “Connected Commonwealth” required applications on how the contestants could use cultural, technological, and environmental connections for positive change across the Commonwealth.

Topics for 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 the right environment.

“While few Nigerian youths indulge themselves in crime, there are millions others making the nation proud in academics, sports, science and technology, entertainment, and other dignifying human endeavours,” he said.

He said that a pan-Commonwealth body consisting of more than 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 the Royal Commonwealth Society founded in 1868, as network of individuals and organisations to improve prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world.

The society seeks to promote Commonwealth societal values through youth empowerment, education and advocacy.

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