Reactions as SPC Idah Student Shines at NNPC National Science Quiz Competition

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Joshua Abdullahi Omachonu, a student of St. Peter’s College, Idah has bagged honours for his impressive showing at the 2019 Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Science Quiz Competition held at the the NNPC Towers, Abuja. 

Joshua began the journey to the grand finale of the competition by booking his place in the top three students to represent Idah Local Government Area at the state level where he emerged overall best among the three students selected to compete in Minna, Niger state to represent the the North Central geopolitical zone.

At the North Central stage of the NNPC National Quiz Competition, Joshua Abdullahi Omachonu competed against students from FCT, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kwara and Benue and surprised everyone (except, perhaps himself) and placed his name among the top three students to represent the North Central at the grand finale of the competition.

The grand finale of the competition was held at the NNPC Towers, Abuja with three students representing each of the six geopolitical zones in the country. Joshua Abdullahi Omachonu gave his all but ended in an encouraging 8th position, out of eighteen contestants. 

For his impressive showing, he was rewarded with a one hundred thousand naira cheque, accessible upon admission into any tertiary institution, a brand new Samson Galaxy Tablet and an impressive award plaque that he will probably keep admiring for years to come.

Though a public school in a country where under-funding is not uncommon, due to an age long tradition of meticulous hard work, monitoring and supervision, St. Peter’s College, Idah has always performed impressively at external competitions over the years – even against financially advantageous private schools. 

In his reaction, the principal of the College, Mr. Jonah Zekeri stated that “as a principal of a college, if your student goes out for external competitions and returns with laurels, you will feel proud. 

“Abdullahi Joshua Omachonu has not only made us proud in the recently concluded NNPC National Science Quiz Competition; he has won several other external competitions. 

“In a competition organised by the Chemical Society of Nigeria, he came second from Kogi State. He also emerged overall best student in the PZ Chemistry Challenge.

“In addition, he is one of three student of the college that represented Kogi State at a competition organised by the Nigeria Society of Engineers in Lagos, where he came second.” 

Mr. Jonah Zekeri added that “the entire staff and students of the college are proud of him. The college is a public school with a difference. The teachers are committed. With the culture of dedication in the college and seriousness on the part of students we have been able to record some meaningful achievements in the college.” 

The principal however drew the attention of the government, the college Old Boys Association and the general public to some of the challenges confronting the school. 

“It is not easy for most public schools to embark on external competitions because financing it very difficult. Schools usually have inadequate or no finances allocated for external competitions.

“Feeding, transport and accommodation for students and a teacher especially outside the state has remained problematic. Most times we resort to borrowing in order to participate in external competitions because we understand its importance to the students, the college and the state at large,” he said. 

Within the 2018/2019 academic session, St. Peter’s College Idah has participated in the Chemical Society of Nigeria National Quiz Competition in Oyo state; Egbunu Jude Idoko represented Kogi State at the National Mathematics Competition and Musa Mulid represented Kogi at the Interswich SPAK National Science Competition (both in Lagos). 

Others include PZ Chemistry Challenge, Abuja; Cowpedia TV Show Competition, Lagos; STAN Science Quiz Competition, Kano. 

Similarly, the Head of Department (science) of the college, Mr Ibiyomi Joel described Joshua as a “wonderful boy with a lot of interests in his studies.

He is a huge embodiment of potentials and is always ready to learn. He likes to compete and is surely destined for greatness. 

“He was a bit slow in the beginning but as a result of the relentless dedication of the teachers he and many others were offered a fertile environment for their potentials to flourish. I am specially proud of him because he lives very far from his parents and has been of excellent behaviour since I knew him. 

“It is interesting to note that Abdullahi Joshua and two other students have qualified to represent Kogi State at the Olympiad. They have scaled through the fourth round and if successful, they will be representing Nigeria in Turkey.”

Mr. Ibiyomi Joel commended the management of the college for their commitment towards exposing the students of the college to external competitions. 

According to his uncle Mr. Yakubu Amodu, Joshua came to Idah from Lagos in 2014 to enrol in JSS I at SPC Idah because of “economic difficulties faced by his parents in the city but has since turned the situation to a blessing.” 

“I am very happy with Joshua. I am indeed grateful to the Principal of the College, the management and staff for the support they have given to Joshua since he came to the college. 

“Without their support and sponsorship, our son would not have been exposed to all these life changing opportunities. 

“Joshua came back home due to financial difficulties and maximised his opportunities in Idah. He has continued to make progress since he joined the college. He is hard working, obedient and respectful,” he added.

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