By Ijeoma Olorunfemi/Jessica Dogo
Abuja, Sept. 29, 2020 The Federal Government has presented a total of N16.5 million as cash prizes to the nine winners of Nigeria at 60 Diamond and Innovation Challenge.
The Diamond and Innovation Challenge is an initiative of the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to encourage Nigerian youths on creativity and innovation.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the challenge was segmented into three categories- Poetry, Slogan and Photography, with three winners emerging from each of the categories.
In the Poetry category, Kalu Chioma took the first position; Mustapha Dauda was second, while Usman Patrick placed third.
In the slogan category, Nwakuba Ezinne took first position, Yusuf Mohammed second, while Sani Ibrahim placed third.
Amau Oluwadausimi came first in the photography category, Leke Adebule came second, while Sampson Emeka placed third.
Those who came first were presented with a N3 million cheque each, while those who took the second position got N1.5 million each.
Those who placed third were presented with N1 million cheque each.
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, said the competition was thrown open to all Nigerians in line with the presidential mandate to enable Nigerians own the Diamond celebration.
He commended the winners for their creativity and innovative prowess and charged them to sustain the vision of patrotism.
‘‘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 and 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,’’ Pantami said.
Mr Kashifu Inuwa, Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) earlier, said the event was designed to make the Nigerian Diamond celebration more exciting and inclusive even with the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘‘We needed to come up with a platform to make it digitally driven since we are in digital age.
“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,” he said.
He acknowledged that the process was seamless with many Nigerians participating.
The Chairman of the selection panel, Dr Usman Gambo said ‘‘opportunity was given to all Nigerians to participate in the contest.’’
Gambo said a total of 3,258 participants submitted entries for the challenge out of which 1,931 entries came for Poetry; 630 for Slogan and 689 for photography.
According to him, there are series of selection process by the panel that comprised of linguistic and poetry experts, who carried out the screening before arriving at 60 and finally at nine grand winners.
He added that some of the criteria used in the selection process included, relevance to the theme of the Diamond celebration; originality; creativity; impact and presentation by the innovators.
Naija247news reports that the theme of the celebration is “Together at 60.”