Subjects experts (standing) solving the Mathematical question Master Ibrahim Wisdom, representing Kogi State (sitting first left) queried. On his left is Master Ezemba Confidence, representing Plateau State at the venue of the NNPC National Science Quiz Competition in Ilorin.
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) was put to test recently in Ilorin when a participating student at the on-going Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) National Science Quiz Competition for states in the North Central Zone and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja disputed a mathematical answer the examining body proffered for one of the questions.
Providing an option D answer (5/36) for the Mathematics Round One, Question 7 of the exercise, Ibrahim Wisdom of St. Kizito Seminary, Idah, Kogi State, stood his ground, which made the Quiz Master, Mr. Oyawale Olusegun, to halt the contest and summoned six subject experts among the teachers to intervene.
As the tense atmosphere at the event slowly ticked away, Mr. Abdulahmeed Baba Ahmed, a Mathematics teacher from Demonstration Secondary School, Akwanga, Nasarawa State, who was among the subject experts that rose to the occasion, provided solution to the logjam.
To the relief of participants, officials and the audience at the context, WAEC was right, as Ahmed’s solution tallied with the examining body’s option C answer to the question.
According to Ahmed with an air of authority, the question was not direct because it was technical stressing however that Wisdom’s courage to challenge WAEC option should be welcomed.
Olusegun, the Quiz Master, who is a subject expert in Physics and also a Deputy Director, Department of Science and Technology of the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja, said that rarely youthful participants had disputed answer options provided by an examining body, adding that the intervention of subject experts who accompanied the students were always sought to resolved matters.
At the preliminary stages up to the Zonal level, the NNPC quiz competition tests participants in five subject areas of Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Also, at the Grand Finale level, test of fundamentals on NNPC and the Oil and Gas Industry was included.
However, NNPC Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu, who was represented at the occasion said the quiz competition was a flagship of NNPC Corporate Social Responsibility projects. He said he was proud of the successes of the initiative which has turned out scores of individuals that are making meaningful contribution to the society. He assured that NNPC would continue to affect the lives of Nigerians in all walks of life positively in line with the corporation’s pay-off line.
Kwara State Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Hajia Halima Garba, who was represented at the event by Alhaji Hammed Yinusa, Director, Information and Communication Technology Department of the Ministry, thanked NNPC for its support for science education across the country, adding that the corporation’s efforts had enabled many Nigerians to actualize their dreams. Hajia Garba wished the winners who would represent the North Central in the Grand Finale contest in Abuja success in their endeavours.
Queen Elizabeth School Principal, Alhaja Ramata Abdulrahman, expressed appreciation to NNPC for the significant impact it was making to support the education of young Nigerians. She looked forward to seeing other corporate bodies emulate NNPC’s laudable initiative.
The NNPC Quiz Competition was inaugurated in 2000 and was limited to participants from the Niger Delta but went national in 2001. The 2018 event would mark the 16th edition of the competition.
Designed mainly for students in the nation’s secondary schools, the competition has impacted positively on the intellectual attainment of young Nigerians. It has provided financial succour to successful contestants who have been placed on scholarship throughout their university education. Many of the awardees had moved on to achieve academic laurels in tertiary institutions, locally and internationally.
Fulfilling aspects of its slant, records show many of the past awardees ended up studying Science and Technology related courses in the universities. In 2010, a past winner of the competition, emerged second in a contest involving others from the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Member Countries, and Austria to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of OPEC.
The competition main objectives are enormous. It is to implement a core element of NNPC Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) package, promote Science education in the country and encourage students in the study of Science and Technology related subjects. Also, to prepare students for promotional and qualifying examinations, build friendship amongst the participating students and develop students’ competitive spirit.
Part of the objectives are to break down long-held stereotypes and engendering a better sense of national being in participating students, through the cross-cultural interactions that the contest offers by providing a platform for enlightening the students and the public on the activities of NNPC.