Nigeria: Winner Emerges for BBC News Pidgin Essay Competition

7 November 2019

Ikechukwu Wilson Nweke has won the second edition of the BBC News Pidgin Essay competition titled: Is Africa Ready for Female Political Leadership?

Ikechukwu, from Edo State in Nigeria, currently studies International Studies at the University of Benin. The winning essay will be shown on BBC News Pidgin and Ikechukwu will receive his award at a ceremony in Lagos where he will read his essay to a specially invited audience.

Chosen from a number of entries submitted by talented, young African writers, Ikechukwu's winning piece highlights how the changing culture and development of Africa is gradually moving from an era where the place of the woman was in the kitchen to an age when women are leading on the political front. The author cited the example of Alaa Salah, a student dubbed "Lady Liberty" of Sudan. Her anti-government protests in Sudan eventually led to change of leadership. The winning essay also addresses the fact that few women have led African countries in modern times, but those who have had the privilege have done quite well: Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia; Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who was Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Bibi Ameenah Firdaus Gurib-Fakim, a Mauritian politician and biodiversity scientist who served as the 6th President of Mauritius from 2015 to 2018.

Ikechukwu says "I could not believe it when I was told that I am the winner of 2019 BBC News Pidgin essay competition. I wrote everything on my sick bed, being the winner makes me forget what I passed through."

In its second year the essay competition was introduced to highlight the beauty of the written form of Pidgin language. Known as a largely spoken language, the essay writing series is aimed at contributing to the development of the written form of Pidgin language amongst young people across the region.

The winner of last years' edition of the competition, Izeowayi Izaza Victor has continued to develop his interest in poetry and creative writing and is now an active performing poet in Port Harcourt where he is gaining prominence.

Adejuwon Soyinka, Head of the Pidgin Service, said: "It's exciting to see the second edition of the annual BBC Pidgin Essay Competition successfully come to a close with the announcement of the winner in the person of Ikechukwu Wilson Nweke, a student of the University of Benin. Equally exciting for me is the noticeable improvement in the quality of writing that we saw in the entries, which came from tertiary students in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone.

Head of World Service West Africa Languages, Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, said: "The responses we got this year show that our audiences see themselves as an integral part of BBC Pidgin. We are delighted for this year's winner and the beautiful future ahead of him."

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