The Chief Executive Officer of The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON and a former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili have reiterated the importance of financial literacy in lifting Nigeria and indeed Africa out of poverty. Their positions were articulated at the awards ceremony of the 2017 NSE Essay Competition for Senior Secondary Schools Students in Nigeria, held on Wednesday, November 29, 2017, at the Civic Center in Lagos.
At the awards ceremony, Miss Gbenjo Olasubomi of Good Shepherd Comprehensive High School, Lagos State, emerged winner of the 2017 edition of the NSE Essay Competition after coming third in the 2016 edition. She clinched the first position ahead of over 10,100 participants across the country, winning N500,000 scholarship fund for university education, N250,000 equity investment and a laptop. Her school was also rewarded with a trophy, three desktop computers and a printer.
Olanipekun Opeyeoluwa of Oritamefa Baptist Model School, Ibadan, Oyo State and Chukwuemeka Oluchi of Notre Dame Girls College, Ilorin, Kwara State, emerged first and second runners up respectively. Each of them also got a laptop, equity investment and cash rewards. Their schools got varying number of computers and trophy. Seven laptops were given as consolation prizes to seven other winners.
In his welcome remarks, Mr. Onyema noted that financial literacy is very important because of the positive direct impact it can have on promoting livelihoods, economic growth, sound financial systems, and poverty reduction. “Contemporary society requires everyone to understand the principles of money management and to develop personal financial management skills that will enable them manage their finances effectively to achieve financial freedom”.
“Realizing this, we have implemented and continue to support a number of programmes to promote financial literacy among young Nigerians, by encouraging them to learn how good financial decisions can better their lives now and in the future and ultimately grow the economy, Onyema added. He further stated, through the NSE Essay Competition, the Exchange has, since inception, inspired over 60,000 young people in more than 7,000 schools across Nigeria to showcase what they have learnt about the financial market.
In her keynote address, Ezekwesili observed that we must eradicate the dynasty of poverty in our country through education. “Every country that has climbed out of poverty has done it on the back of improvement in the quality of education and the human capital”. She called on teachers, parents and other stakeholders to be inclusive in inculcating financial literacy to the younger children, so as to raise a generation that will participate more in private sector and trades that will create wealth.
According to Ezekwesili, private sector must be more interested in the state of the schools in our nation. “The private sector does not need anybody begging it to be interested in education. You need the top talent hence the need to get involved. So get involved”.
She also charged the students to think differently as they are the generation that will participate in the disruptive revolution.
The NSE Essay Competition initiative is aimed at bridging the gap between classroom learning and practical knowledge required for long-term personal financial planning. It serves as an essential platform to get the perspectives of our young ones on key challenges relating to financial literacy and inclusion in Nigeria. The competition’s overall goal is to develop a culture of wealth creation amongst our youth towards “Building a Financially Savvy Generation”.
This year’s competition was sponsored by Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank, Prime Atlantic Ltd and Cordros Capital Ltd.