Cross section of students at the 2019 edition of the Awokoya Memorial Chemistry Competition.
By Badmus Shina
The 2019 edition of the Annual National Chemistry Competition (Awokoya Memorial) Award Ceremony for Secondary Schools Students in Delta State, took place at the Petroleum Technology institute on Saturday, Nov. 16 in Warri.
The event is organized by the Chemistry Society of Nigeria (CSN), Delta Chapter, which is a body of Chemist dedicated to promotion of the study of Chemistry and sponsored by the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture.
The Awokoya Memorial Chemistry Competition is primarily aimed at sensitizing and encouraging the study of Chemistry at the Secondary School level. In order to select representatives from Delta State in the competition, the CSN organized a preliminary examination amongst over 350 schools in all the Local Government Areas of the State.
These series of examinations culminated into an awarded ceremony where students, teachers and institutions with outstanding performance were honored.
While speaking at the award ceremony, the Chairman/Managing Director, CNL who was represented by Mr. Sam Daibo said that the Awokoya Chemistry Competition was initiated by the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture to promote the study of the subject among secondary school students of Delta State and in memory of Professor Stephen Awokoya, a great Chemist who died on March 15, 1985.
He added that the competition has engendered great interest in the study of Chemistry among secondary school students. Pointing out that some of the past winners of the competition have gone further to become national champions in other Chemistry competitions. “I think this deserves a round of applause since STEM education is a bedrock of technological development,” he said.
He also said “Over the years, the NNPC/CNL Joint Venture has shown commitment to supporting quality education through investment in education infrastructure, sponsorship of manpower development programmes and provision of scholarships. We are committed to improving the quality of education in Nigeria because education is important for the development of the country.
“Our corporate belief is that education remains a veritable tool for personal and social growth and sustainable development. We are also pleased that our contributions to education are helping to improve the ability of Nigeria to develop quality manpower in different fields including, but not limited to, the oil and gas industry.”
Also speaking was the Chairman, Chemical Society of Nigeria, Prof. Sunday Okeniyi. He said the CSN was established in 1971 to raise national consciousnesses on the centrality of Chemistry for the overall progress of Man and Development of society.
He also said rewarding participant in any competition and presentation of awards for excellent and outstanding performance to deserving individuals plays a vital role in human capacity development. Adding that, it was also a form of welfare, which serves as a propeller for motivation for future participation.
He said “In line with the core mandate of CNS, the 2019 National Chemistry (Awokoya Memorial) competition award ceremony is focus in raising National consciousness on the centrality of chemistry for the overall development of man and the society in general.
The Chairman, Chemical Society of Nigeria, Delta Chapter, Dr. Mrs Tina Isichei while advice the students said, there is a strong correlation between poverty, disease, insecurity and education. She added that no nation can rise above the value it places on education because education creates and adds value to the society.
She encouraged the students to frown at the popular phrase used nowadays by Nigerian youth “who school epp”, as it would not help them at all.
The Commissioner of Basic and Secondary Education, Asaba, Hon. Ogbueshi Patrick Ukah said that the State Government was in fulfilling part of its mandate in education recently employed 1000 teachers with emphasis on STEM subjects of which Chemistry is one.
Also, he said each year, serious effort was made by the government to build/renovate and equip science laboratories in schools to enable teaching and learning of science subject easier, pointing out that CSN and their funding partner, Chevron Nigeria Limited, collaborating with the State Government to uplift Chemistry as a subject was highly appreciated.
Prof. John Odili who gave a lecture, taught on how teachers can manage the language of Chemistry to make for effective teaching.
He said that students tend to understand more based on the language they are accustomed to.
He also advised that effort should be made to simplify the Chemistry language so that students would learn more.
The best 10 secondary school were presented with certificate of award for their outstanding performance, as well as the best 10 teachers for their contributions in building young Chemistry students.
Akpeti Trust, a 14year old student in Senior Secondary School 3, Delta Career College, Ugboroko who emerged the overall winner and was presented a trophy and cash prize of 50,000 Naira.
While speaking to GbaramatuVoice, he said it was hard-work that brought him thus far. He also appreciated the efforts of his parents and teacher whom he said contributed greatly to the success he had achieved.