KUNLE ABEBAJO GOES INTERNATIONAL, TOPS LEADERSHIP ESSAY COMPETITION

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 BY: OLATUNJI HALEEM

The Editor-in-Chief of Mellanby Hall Press Organization (MHPO) and a member of the Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan, Mr. Adekunle Adebajo has received international recognition as he featured among the top five finalists in the 2016 UONGOZI Institute’s Leadership Essay Competition.

This was acknowledged in a letter signed by UONGOZI Institute, which announced the top five finalists of the Leadership Essay Competition 2016, who were invited to travel to Dar es Salaam for the awarding ceremony during the African Leadership Forum (ALF) hosted by former President of Tanzania H.E Benjamin W. Mkapa.

The committee of the Leadership Essay competition appreciated all those who participated in the competition under the theme, “What would you do as a leader to address the challenges facing African businesses?”, as they encouraged participants to partake in subsequent competitions. “UONGOZI Institute’s Leadership Essay committee would like to thank all the 534 young and potential African citizens who participated in this year’s competition under the theme, “What would you do as a leader to address the challenges facing African businesses?” It was a wonderful task reading all your essays which had a lot of interesting ideas and creativity. For all those who did not make it this time, remember, there is always next year”, the letter reads.

The winners were announced at the Gala, which was moderated by Ms Julie Gichuru, Broadcaster, and CEO of Arimus Media, after the African Leadership Forum at Hyatt Regency, The Kilimanjaro Hotel, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on July 28 2016. At the Gala, Liz Guantai (Kenya), Collins Kipkemo (Kenya), Adebajo Adekunle (Nigeria), Akaniro Chidinma (Nigeria) and Tinotenda Murove (Zimbabwe) were announced as first, second, third, fourth and fifth respectively. While the overall winner got $2000 and a privilege to read her speech at the Gala, other winners also got cash prizes in USD and Plaques.

However, Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, honored the presentation of awards to the winners. Among several dignitaries who honored the occasion were; Benjamin W. Mkapa (former President of Tanzania, 1995-2005), Thabo Mbeki President of SA (1999-2008), Frannie Leautier (Senior Vice President, African Development Bank), Joaquim Chissano (President of Mozambique 1981-2000), Mr Siphon Nkosi (Former President of the Chambers of Mines of SOUTH Africa), and Mr Kwesi Botchwey (Former Minister of Finance, Ghana).

Speaking on the development, the 400 level student of the Faculty of Law stated that he knew joy when he got the victory message as this will be his first time of claiming a prize in an international competition. He also appreciated the support of all those who contributed in one way or the other to the achievement. In his words, “I was indeed overwhelmed when I got the notification in my email. This is the first time the competition will be cutting across all of Africa, and it feels great being one of the two Nigerians who made it to the top five. I thank Omoya Yinka Simult for generously furnishing me with information about the contest, and of course God for inspiring me to write. My heartfelt and unalloyed gratitude knocks equally on the doors of many friends and relatives whose invaluable goodwill and prayers have endlessly accompanied me.

“Ordinarily, I am indifferent to international competitions for I feel they are beyond my competence. I prefer to throw my hats in for local ones which are less competitive. But this year has thought me a lesson never to underestimate myself. I have now realised that a thing is impossible only because you have not attempted it; and though you may fail if you try, if you do not, failure is more certain. I think others can borrow a leaf from this too”, he added.

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