The Ebonyi state Commissioner for Project Monitoring and Evaluation, Chief Oluchukwu Ukie Ezeali (P. Noble), has sponsored a writing competition for facebook users in a bid to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 lockdown boredom.
The competition, which held on the facebook page of a journalist, Prince Paul Okah, commenced on Monday, April 27, 2020, with the caption “2020 P. Noble Writing Competition” and had 18 participants write stories on the topic “My COVID-19 lockdown experience”.After assessment on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, due to betraying rules bordering on writing below the 1,000 word length specification, editing entries after posting, ungrammatical expressions, directionless stories, among others, 15 participants couldn’t make it to the finals and were awarded consolation prizes of N1,000 airtime each; for their participation in the competition.
Also, after critical assessment, on Wednesday morning, three participants, Miss Ezeali Blessing Ogeri, Miss Oluchukwu Josy and Mr Chijioke Egwu Ekumaoko, emerged first, second and third place winners, respectively.
Consequently, they were awarded cash prizes of N10, 000, N7,000 and N5,000 for their respective positions.
In a chat with this reporter, the sponsor of the competition, Chief P. Noble, said that the competition was just for him to complement the effort of Ebonyi State Governor, Engr. David Nweze Umahi by providing an opportunity for the participants to snap out of COVID-19-induced boredom, hence “assessment of their stories was not done in a strict sense, since they are not professional writers”.
He said: “The participants and winners of the competition should regard it as a sign of better things to come, especially under the leadership of the Ebonyi State governor, His Excellency, Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi, who has been doing everything possible to ensure that Ebonyians are made as comfortable as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As spelt out before the commencement of the competition, the prizes are just to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, so emphasis on monetary reward was downplayed. Objectives of the competition were: for participants to develop literary skills, kill boredom, educate and enlighten readers and possibly earn little prizes; regardless of the trueness or otherwise of their stories.
“Nevertheless, the winners are encouraged to improve or perfect their writing skills by effecting the corrections on some of the errors loosely identified in the course of editing their stories by the judge and I look forward to their becoming celebrated writers and the Achebes, Soyinkas, Thiong’os, Adichies of our time.
“I have made promises to Afikpo people in particular and Ebonyians in general that I will continue to intervene and invest in their overall development by creating legacies to be built on and improved upon. To all the participants, you braced it to show your literary skills and should be celebrated, regardless of whatever error that led to your missing out on the top three, even as I look forward to more participation in subsequent editions.”