A First Class Economics graduate of the University of Benin, Edo State, Uzoigwe Chimezie Daniel has emerged proud winner of the Dangote Port Operation Prize for Best Overall Essay in the 9th Ships & Ports Annual National Essay Competition.
At the prize presentation ceremony held in Lagos on Friday, Daniel was presented with a cheque of N100,000 by the organisers of the competition.
“I am so happy to emerge winner of the competition. This is the first time I would participate and it is exciting to emerge the winner. The Ships & Ports Essay Competition is the most enduring essay competition that I know of in the country. I am happy that youths were given the platform to contribute,” he said.
He urged government to pay more attention to the growth and development of the maritime industry.
“As Nigeria faces dwindling fortunes from the oil and gas sector, it has become very imperative that we diversify the economy and seek new sources of growth. In doing this, a veritable option for us is to promote the development of the shipping sector by boosting indigenous participation in that critical sector,” he added.
The topic of the Essay Competition was “How to boost indigenous participation in the shipping sector”.
Other prize winners include Kizito Chijioke of the English and Literary Study Department, University of Nigeria Nsukka who won the Sifax Group Prize for Most Creative Essay; Chijioke Anthony who won the Nigerian Shippers’ Council Prize for Best Researched Essay and Kwara State-based journalist, Eyitayo Oyelowo who won the Comptroller Charles Edike Prize for Outstanding Essay.
Onyeagba Chidiebere Joshua, Jonathan Mairiga, Bright Chinecherem and Waheed Adigun also won the Comptroller Charles Edike Prize for Outstanding Essay.
CEO of Ships & Ports Limited, Mr. Bolaji Akinola, who expressed satisfaction with the quality of participation in the competition this year, said a total of N300,000 was given out to the winners.
He said the organisers received entries from 13 states in five out of the six geopolitical zones of the federation for the 2015 edition of the competition, with the highest number of entries received from Lagos State.
“Entries from Lagos made up 60% of the participants of the competition this year while no entry was received at all from any of the six states in the North East Zone,” Akinola said.
He urged Nigerians, especially the youths to take interest in the maritime sector, which he said is the lifeline of the Nigerian economy.
He said, “Notwithstanding the various challenges confronting the sector, it remains a viable platform for driving the change agenda of the new government, creating employment and enhancing economic development.”
Akinola asked President Muhammadu Buhari to review policies that were promoting smuggling and loss of cargo to the ports of neighbouring countries. He listed such policies to include the National Automotive Policy, the rice import policy, fish quota system and Central Bank of Nigeria foreign exchange restriction to importers of 41 select items.
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