One of the five Nigerian universities currently participating in the third edition of the Zain Africa Challenge, the University of Ibadan (UI), last weekend, made Nigeria proud by topping the score list in the first round qualifier against the University of Malawi.
Zain Africa Challenge, formerly known as the Celtel Africa Challenge, is the first-ever televised academic competition among students of African universities, with five Nigerian universities’ students being put to test at the international competition holding in Kampala, Uganda.
They include UI, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), University of Lagos (UNILAG) and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi (ATBU) with three student representatives each.
The trio from UI including Nnaemeka Nwachukwu, Physiology - 400 level, Olatunji Ayoola Olalere, Medicine and Surgery; 400 level, Tolulope Oloruntoba, Medicine and Surgery; 400 level as well as Olanrewaju Ismail Shittu, Law, 400 level.
The UI team led by Kalu scored 740 while Malawi and scored 420, showing undisputable margins to emerge, thus qualifying for the next round of the competition, even as they have earned their school $5000 and to themselves $500 each.
The televised competition which commenced last Thursday, would be aired locally on the Africa Independent Television (AIT) and DSTv channel 132 every Tuesday and Thursday between the hours of 7.30pm through 8.00pm and 5.30 through 6.00pm in that order.
According to the Head, Corporate Communications at Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emeka Oparah, the international contest would be broadcast throughout eight Africa countries, namely Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Participation, he said, enables Nigerian universities’ students to pitch amongst 32 leading others and urged media to show its support for the contest, because Zain, especially in the country, is very passionate about it, moreso, now that some Nigerians are taking their children abroad and neighbouring countries on the continent to study.
Also speaking at the premiere in Lagos, the public relations manager, Zain Nigeria, Mr. Emmanuel Otokhine, noted that individual countries where Zain operate have their own Zain Game, which is played through the Short Messaging Service (SMS) mainly for home viewers, of which they stand the chance of winning fabulous prizes including handsets and free airtime to name a few.
Equally, he said that Zain has voted the total of $1,000,000 for the prizes, travel grants and educational materials.
The head, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) unit at Zain Nigeria, Mrs. Lizzy Ijeoma, while commended the media so far in its support for the programme, noted that it was difficult to select from over 92 Nigerian universities, but with the collaboration of the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC), there was national qualifying tournaments from where the five current flying the nation’s flag at the contest emerged from.
The contest, she said, is part of the mobile operator’s CSR investment designed to help Nigerians see, experience and appreciate its philosophy of a ‘wonderful world’.
Stressing that to be eligible for selection, a university must be government chartered or accredited, at least, in the third year of intake with a minimum of 250 enrolled students.
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