April 20, 2024

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UNILAG Students take the lead in CIPM Essay Competition

By Daniel Nnamani, Ameerah Junaid, Temiloluwa Olowoyeye, and Mighty Oluwayemi

CIPM Essay Winners.

The University of Lagos (UNILAG) continues to make waves in the academic angle as its students are the top contestants in the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPM) Annual Essay Competition. The regulatory body chartered by law to oversee personnel management practices in Nigeria organizes the annual event to foster intellectual growth and research acumen among Nigerian undergraduates. 

At the 55th anniversary event held in Abuja, the three contestants were awarded prizes. Enoch Akinbusoye, a final-year Law student, emerged as the first overall winner among over four hundred participants. Having participated in several essay competitions, Enoch expressed his delight in achieving the top position. 

“I’ve been writing essays for a while now and I’ve never gotten first position in any competitions. Most times I emerge as part of the top three, top ten or probably the second. This is the first competition that I’ve come out on top as the first overall, while topping hundreds of students across Nigeria.” 

Kelechi Godspower Nwagwughiagwu, a 500-level Pharmacy student from the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, got the first runner-up position. Unlike his fellow contestant Enoch, Kelechi doesn’t have much experience in competitive writing. Feeling elated about his first major win, he mentioned that the whole process serves as a pointer to the possibilities that exist as long as one is committed to a cause.

“With this understanding, I have decided to take my writing seriously and dedicate more time to studies and research across the entire gamut of competitive writing. I know what the essays I wrote in the past look like and I can tell you without a doubt that I have made significant progress over the years. However, I believe there is always room for improvement.” 

Peace Iyinpemi, a 500 hundred law student of Unilag, secured the second-runner position, and attributed the essay competition as a learning process for her. 

“This is my first time trying something like this. I’m normally a background person, I always push others to do things. I was the only girl amongst several guys who wanted to defend their essay. I’m not close enough to Enoch, but I’m glad to see someone I know.”

The competition required participants to submit their essays within the period of three months, between July 10th and  September 29th. It focused on the subject topic, “The Japa Syndrome and its Effect on the National Economy”, which attracted a lot of students due to its relatability to students. The winners admitted they got to know about the essay competition through social media and recommendations from their friends.

“I’ve got to learn that it is not about the number of words,” Enoch said, on how he was able to write three thousand words effectively. “More focus should be placed on the quality, not the quantity. If you put your mind to it, you can actually extend the word limit.” 

Peace, on the other hand, mentioned her abundance of ideas because she could relate well to the topic, as “Japa” has become a controversial issue nowadays. “Part of the instructions that was given was that “there is no one answer” and we should touch every aspect of the topic. I made sure to cover both positive and negative effects.”

Kelechi explained he had a lot of ideas at the brainstorming stage of writing. “Upon taking a closer look at the causes of this mass export of home-bred talent and discussing the drivers of the surge in the number of people that have left the country in the last decade, I realized I had exceeded two thousand words. I was able to garner three thousand words from research and organisation of the ideas I intended to propose as solutions in the body of the essay.”                                                                                          

Maintaining a balance between school, work, and hobbies is a challenge most students face. The three contestants shared their strategies for managing their time effectively. 

“My program is very demanding, as it requires regular, focused attention on academic activities,” Kelechi said. “Like most students, I struggle with time management. On other days, burnout gets the best of me, and it goes without saying that it is difficult to sustain your motivation as a student during a period of burnout. But as far as competitive essay writing goes, I schedule a daily two-hour time block, usually in the evenings to work on my essay. Once the time elapses, I pivot to school work. Over time, two hours of uninterrupted writing and research everyday adds up to produce a complete work. During my lunch breaks, I proofread the essay I’m working on. From my experience, I don’t recommend working on two essays simultaneously. But if you’re a pro, more power to you.”

Concerning the topic of the essay competition, Encoch shared his perspectives on the massive immigration of Nigerians to other countries, which most refer to as “Japa.” 

“I have a philosophy that not everyone’s destiny is going to lead them in the same direction. With the current state of things in Nigeria, a lot of people believe “Japa” is the next step to take. If you feel you have the necessary skills and you’re able to migrate through legitimate means and you also feel you have no other choice, then why not! Well for me, If I have the opportunity to leave the country, I would 100 percent but I wouldn’t go just for going sake. And this is where most people miss this. It is important to question why you’re going, what value you aim to get, and what value you aim to bring back to Nigeria.” 

With their success in the CIPM essay competition, Enoch, Kelechi, and Peace have proven themselves to be talented writers and critical thinkers.

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