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Two former Nigerian military heads of state, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, have commended the management of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for creating a unifying platform for Nigerian youths through its annual science quiz competition.

Speaking at the grand finale of 2018 Edition of the NNPC Science Quiz Competition in Abuja yesterday, Gowon described the initiative as a very unique corporate social responsibility that has helped to build a healthy competition and as well create opportunities students from the various part of the country to interact thereby creating an avenue for cross culturally relationship that will make them better Nigerians.

Gowon, who was the chairman of the event noted that the competition would help the participants to appreciate and develop the character of hard-work without cutting corners.

He charged other corporate bodies to emulate the NNPC CSR initiative which empowers the students to become better citizens of the country.

In his opening remarks, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, applauded NNPC for providing Nigerian youths with a platform to display their intellectual capacity.

He expressed gratitude that the underlying foundations of the competition is the unification of the country.

On his part, the minister of state for petroleum resources, Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, said the quiz competition exposes the students to the multiplicity of the culture of the Nigerian society as the interface with peers from different states of the country.

He urged the students to learn the positive aspect of competition which he explained would help them become better leaders of tomorrow.

“I urge the students work very hard but to equally learn that winning must not be at all cost. We need to find a way of understanding that winning is a process,” he charged the students.

In his welcome address, the group managing directo, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, said 98 per cent of previous participants had met the corporation’s objective of initiating the competition which was to encourage students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in higher institutions.

According to him, a report carried out on the previous participants by the corporation, “shows 50 per cent of past winners of the NNPC quiz contest studied engineering courses at the tertiary level, 40 per cent, medical sciences and 4 per cent, sciences.

“As at the close of the evaluation, the 2018 winners of the scheme are yet to enrol for the programmers (4 per cent), although all of them had put up brilliant performance in their Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations, while regrettably two previous winners’ field of study (2 per cent) are unknown.

“This gave a 98 per cent success rate of all participants continuing with the study of STEM fields. Our vision, Mr. chairman and yours, has been fulfilled,” he said.

Meanwhile, Master Okeke Tony Kabilan, a student of Spring of Life International School, Enugu who represented Enugu State emerged the overall winner of the 2018 edition with a total score of 75 per cent.

Masters Igban Emmanuel of Ambassador College, Ota representative of Ogun State and Alikah Joseph Ehiagwina, student of Bosco Science Academy, Benin City, who represented Edo State emerged second and third respectively.

The three final winners are entitled to various categories of scholarship awards sponsored by the NNPC while their teachers and schools were handsomely rewarded by the corporation.

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