Gbolahan Balogun

22-year old Miss Fa’izah Atu Muhammad, a University of Ilorin graduate currently undergoing the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has emerged the overall best in a global essay competition.

According to a report in the This day newspaper, the competition was organised by UONGOZI Institute of Tanzania for young Africans between the ages of 18-25.

The year’s edition titled: “2023 Youth Leadership Competition” was competed by 30 African countries including the United Kingdom and India for young Africans in the diaspora.

The young Muhammad was presented with the award and cash prize by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, to the admiration of African leaders including two former Nigerian Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan at an elaborate ceremony that took place Thursday, May 25, 2023, during the 7th African Leadership Forum (ALF) meeting in Accra, Ghana.

The newspaper reported that the organisers had earlier, through its website, (https://uongozi.or.tz/news/announing-winners-of-youth-leadership-competition-2023), revealed that the young Muhammad emerged victorious after defeating over 1,150 participants who also made entries for the continental competition.

The contestants wrote on the essay topic: “If you were an African Leader, how would you promote Intra-African trade to unlock agricultural potential in Africa?”

At the occasion, she read her essay to the world.

The organisers said the essays were evaluated by examiners across the globe, who adjudged Muhammad’s to be the best among others. The essays, it said, were judged based on originality, creativity, use of language, and appropriateness of the context of the theme. They were also evaluated on the representation of the enormous variety of solutions and ideas on how to facilitate agricultural intra-trade within the African region.

The competition, the organisers informed, was meant to encourage young Africans to freely exhibit their writing skills, leadership skills, and other inherent potentials in them.

The positions of first runner-up went to Innocent Matekere from Tanzania; second runner-up, Sithandweyinkosi Sivela from Zimbabwe; third runner-up was Onwuka Dabeluchukwu Chiemelie from Nigeria. Manda Nixon from Cameroon was adjudged the fourth runner-up.

By winning the coveted prize in the keenly contested competition, the young Fa’izah Atu Muhammad made the country proud and also won for herself, $2000, the prize tag for the continental competition.

Fa’izah Muhammad, a Law graduate of the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, hails from the Gulu-Vatsa Community of Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State.

She graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University in the 2020/2021 Academic year with a Second Class Honours (Upper Division).

In her response, she thanked Almighty Allah for the grace and knowledge to emerge victorious in the competition.

The would-be lawyer, expressed excitement over the award and urged young Nigerians to be proud of their country and its educational system.

She insisted that the educational system in Nigeria is not as bad as is being portrayed. “Look at me. I have not schooled outside the shores of this country, yet I came top of this continental essay competition. I am proud of my country, Nigeria.

“I am also thankful and proud of my parents for their guidance and sacrifice in seeing me through school”.

The prize was formally presented to her on May 25, 2023, in Accra Ghana, at a colorful ceremony hosted by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo and former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete, and the Secretary General of African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, Wamkele Mane. Several African Leaders including two former Nigerian Presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan attended the award ceremony.

Sources: ThisDay Newspaper and https://uongozi.or.tz/



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