Commonwealth Day celebration in Abuja


A 17-year-old Nigerian student, Nnamdi Ozoemena, has emerged the
runner-up in the senior category of the 2019 Queen’s Commonwealth
Essay Competition.

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 the 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 Ozoemena came behind 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 of 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 a network of individuals and organizations to improve
prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world.

The society seeks to promote Commonwealth societal values through
youth empowerment, education, and advocacy, News Agency of Nigeria
reports.

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