On Thursday, 10 June 2021 the Royal Commonwealth Society Nigeria Branch organised a public presentation of 2021 edition of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2021 at Banquet Hall, Government House, Ilorin Kwara State, Nigeria to encourage students to participate and enter the 2021 competition.

The event was attended by 1,000 guests including His Excellency, Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRasaq Governor of Kwara State, Her Excellency, Ambassador Dr (Mrs) Olufolake AbdulRasaq, First Lady Kwara State, Her Excellency, Gill Atkinson, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abuja, Mr Blackson Olaseni Bayewumi, Country Director, RCS Nigeria Branch, representative of His Excellency, Geoffrey J K Onyeama, Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency, Ambassador Samson Itegboje, Director, International Organisation Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representative of Alhaji Adamu Adamu, the Honourable Minister of Education, Dr (Mrs) Lydia Ifeyinwa  Giginna, Director, Education Support Services Department, Federal Ministry of Education, Secretary to the Kwara State Government, Head of Service of Kwara State, Some Commissioners in Kwara State, some members of Kwara State House of Assembly, Other Senior Government Officials of Kwara State, Political Officer British High Commission, Abuja, Political Officer British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, Visit Officer British High Commission, Abuja, members of Organising Committee of RCS Nigeria, Students from Primary Schools, Junior Secondary Schools, Senior Secondary Schools, and Universities, Members of National Youth Service Corps, Representatives of Youth Organisations, representatives of Women Organisations, Teachers, Parents, Politicians, Private Individuals, and Members of the Press. The Public Presentation was presided over by His Excellency, Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRasaq.

The event was hosted by the First Lady of Kwara State in collaboration with the RCS Nigeria Branch and provided a veritable platform for promoting the values and virtues of the Commonwealth and the activities of the Royal Commonwealth Society. The event was hosted by the First Lady in order to educate more young people about The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition and the Commonwealth. Indeed as a result of the presentation several students, parents and teachers learnt about the QCEC, who had previously never heard of it.

His Excellency, Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRasaq Governor of Kwara State, Her Excellency, Ambassador Dr (Mrs) Olufolake AbdulRasaq, First Lady Kwara State, Her Excellency, Gill Atkinson, the British Deputy High Commissioner to Nigeria, Abuja, and Mr Blackson Olaseni Bayewumi, Country Director, RCS Nigeria branch with others cutting the Commonwealth Cake during the Launching and Public Presentation of 2021 Edition of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition at Banquet Hall, Government House, Ilorin Kwara State, on Thursday, 10 June 2021.

Speaking about the competition and the importance of quality education the First Lady Dr Olufolake AbdulRasaq said:

“The government of Kwara State has committed sincere effort and huge resources into repositioning education and ensuring that each child gets a fair competitive chance to excel in their education…

This is evident in the recent recruitment of over four thousand competent teachers to serve in public schools across the state, rehabilitation of school structures and the ongoing process to rehabilitate over three hundred schools through the Universal Basic Education Commission. All these investments in the education sector are to ensure that kwara children’s dreams are assured and their futures secured…

The increasing youth awareness across the Commonwealth and the need for young people to consider their position and power in bringing about change, and how their influence can be used as a tool for positive action is pertinent now more than ever before…This event no doubt presents opportunity for our young people to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences on key global issues and have their hard work and achievement celebrated internationally.”

The First Lady is a career diplomat and an Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. She has previously served as head of the Commonwealth Desk at the Nigeria High Commission in London where she was part of the Nigerian Officials that hosted delegates of the RCS International Meeting at Nigeria House in 2016. During this time, she developed a passion for RCS and Commonwealth activities and was keen to collaborate with the RCS Nigeria Branch to raise awareness of the Commonwealth.

Also speaking at event Mr Blackson Olaseni Bayewumi, Country Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society Nigeria Branch said:

“I am calling on all Commonwealth Citizens in general and Nigerian Students within the age limits of both the Junior and Senior Categories of this Competition to take advantage of this competition and showcase their writing skills and creativity.”

Dr Linda Yueh, Chair of the Royal Commonwealth also provided a pre-recorded message for the event. During her remarks she said:

“I ask you all today to encourage the young people in your community to harness this rare opportunity to have their voices heard internationally. Your support in promoting this programme will be instrumental in our efforts to empower young writers to imagine a better future, encouraging them to take their first steps towards it.

Our vision is best captured by the words of Nelson Mandela who said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.””

AUTHOR - BLACKSON OLASENI BAYEWUMI

Blackson is the Country Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Nigeria Branch and Chairman, Nigeria Conversation, a citizenship mainstreaming initiative which promotes productive, progressive and constructive citizenship participation and engagement in nation building processes and national development.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition was founded in 1883 and is the world’s oldest international schools’ writing contest proudly delivered by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. In 2020, the competition received almost 13,000 entries from across the Commonwealth. The theme for the 2021 competition is: 'Community in the Commonwealth’.

 The competition is in two Categories:

  1. Junior Category: 14 years and below as at 30th of June, 2021.
  2. Senior Category: 14 years - 18 years as at 30th of June, 2021.

Enter the competition

Deadline: 23:59 BST on 30 June 2021