By Stanley Iwuoha
At last, nine winners have emerged in the Nigeria @60 Diamond and Innovation Challenge.
The Diamond and Innovation Challenge is an initiative of the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by President Mohammadu Buhari to encourage Nigerian youths on creativity and innovation.
The Challenge was designed in three categories: Poetry, Slogan and Photography, from which three winners were selected from each category.In the Poetry category, Kalu Rejoice Chioma took the fist position; Mustapha Dauda 2nd Position and Usman Patrick came 3rd.
In the same vein, Nwakuba Ezinne took first position; Yusuf Mohammed second and Sani Ibrahim came third in the Slogan category, while, Amau Oluwadausimi; Leke Adebule and Sampson Emeka clinched the laurels on the Photography category in the same order.
The third winners were received N1 million chegue each, second position winners N1.5 million each, while the first position winners received N3 million each.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, who presented the awards informed that the challenge was thrown open by the Inter-Ministerial Committee to all Nigerians in line with the Presidential mandate to enable Nigerians own up the Diamond celebration.
The minister congratulated the winners for their creativity and innovative prowess and charged them to keep their vision alive.
His word, “What we did was to allow our citizens to be owners of the diamond celebration to own it up. We only opened it up for all our citizens to come up with innovative slogans, poetry and photography.
‘‘Nigerians are highly innovative and have very creative minds. We feel it is better we allow our people to own the celebration. We will continue to encourage them to do so, it should be the beginning and not the end. I encouraged you to do more in future.”h
The Director General of NITDA, Mallam Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi said the challenge was designed to make the Nigerian Diamond celebration more exciting and inclusive under the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘We needed to come up with a platform to make it digitally driven since we are in digital age. So, we needed to come up with a platform to do a digital and innovative challenge, the first time we are using digital platform, to engage Nigerians in Independent Anniversary celebration. The process was seamless with many Nigerians participating.’’
The Chairman of the selection panel, Dr. Usman Gambo Abdullahi said ‘‘opportunity was given to all Nigerians to participate in the contest.’’
According to him, a total of 3,258 participants submitted entries for the challenge and out this, 1,931 entries came for Poetry; 630 for Slogan and 689 for photography.
He explained that there were series of selection process by a jury that comprised linguistic and poetry experts, who carried out the screening before arriving at 60 and finally at 9 grand winners.
He listed some of the criteria used in the selection process to include: relevance to the theme of the Diamond celebration; originality; creativity; impact and presentation by the innovators.