Until Tuesday , she was just an ordinary student. Not anymore because luck has smiled on Ms. Ebube Essien-Garricks, a 27-year-old student of College of Health Science and Technology, Rivers State, to alter her status in life. Her passport to fame was her ownership of an MTN SIM card, which enabled her to participate in a promo run by the telecoms company.
Tuesday, Essien-Garricks emerged the winner of a Cessna 182T aircraft, the star prize, in the much-talked-about MTN Ultimate Wonder promo. She emerged the winner at an elaborate and transparent draw held at the Golden Plaza, Ikoyi, Lagos head office of MTN.
She was writing an exam in her school in Port Harcourt while her name showed up in Lagos as the winner of the plane. Unknown to her as she was busy in the examination hall, MTN officials were battling to get in touch with her to break the good news. It was initially difficult reaching her as in line with examination rules, her handset was switched off. After many futile attempts, MTN officials devised another way to reach her, in a bid to prove that the process was transparent and not rigged.
They got through to her using the connection of family and friends found in her database and Facebook account.
Essien-Garricks, who was notified of her good fortune via a phone call, immediately opted for the cash value of the plane, which is N64 million. On hearing the news, she broke out in joyous shouts that surprised those around her. On hearing the source of her ecstasy, they joined her in celebrating.
"I am short of words, there is no word to describe what I feel right now; it is almost as if it is a dream but I know that nothing can be more real than what I am feeling right now. This must be the best Christmas gift ever. It is truly wonderful," she said.
The MTN promotional draw was attended by journalists and officials of the Nigerian Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Addressing journalists, the Chief Marketing Officer, MTN, Mr. Larry Annetts, stated that the journey so far in getting the ultimate winner for the aeroplane, as promised by MTN, had been interesting, credible and transparent.
"When we came out with the promo, many doubted us, but today we have an ultimate winner who will go home with the promised Cessna 182T aeroplane. The take-home for us here is that MTN is committed towards enriching the lives of its consumers. When we say we will do something, you can be sure that we won't renege on our promises. The can-do spirit is forever guiding our path in offering utmost satisfaction to our consumers and we are glad that today a Nigerian has been enriched and empowered with an aeroplane," he stated.
Speaking on the process in selecting winners for the promo, the Assistant Director, Lagos zone of the NLRC, Mr. Obi Iriegbu, stated that it had been transparent and credible. "We started this journey together, ensuring that the consumers' interests are protected and that the brand fulfils its promises. So far so good, it has been a credible and transparent process leading to the emergence of the ultimate winner of the aeroplane promised from the beginning of the promo," he stated.
The MTN Ultimate Wonder promo started in August with promises of fantastic and fabulous cash prizes and an ultimate winner of an aeroplane.
MTN has so far given 1,200 people the sum of N150, 000 each, while 12 winners got N2 million each during regional cash prize presentations in Lagos, Ibadan, Onitsha, Abuja and Port Harcourt.
The presentation of the N64 million cash value of the aeroplane to the ultimate winner, however, will come up at a later date.
Last year, in commemoration of MTN's 10 years anniversary in Nigeria, the company gave out N1 billion rewards, where 90 lucky winners went home with cash prizes of N10 million each among other mouth-watering prizes. In another campaign, early this year through the MTN Automania game, a subscription-based initiative, the company gave out 100 xi35 SUVs in a 100-day nationwide promo.
To win the ultimate prize of a Cessna 182T aircraft, subscribers were encouraged to recharge up to N3,000 within the 90 days period of the promo.