Two years after he won the Junior category, Ernest-Eze, now 16years old and an SS2 student of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, returned to claim the title in the Senior category as the curtain fell on the 2017 edition of the competition.
The day also belonged to Jesse Uche-Nwichiof Graceland International School, Rivers State, who beat all comers to win the Junior category of the competition sponsored by Cowbell, the flagship brand from the stable of Promasidor Nigeria Limited.
Each of the champions got N1 million and an all-expense paid education excursion outside the country.
In the Senior category, Ernest-Eze was trailed byOluwanifise Onafowokan of The Ambassadors College, Ota, Ogun Stateand Evans Owamoyo of Greater Tomorrow International College, Arigidi Akoko, Ondo State who finishedas first and second runners-up respectively.
Michael Paul of Excel Grace Academy, Akaajime-Gboko, Benue State; Ikechukwu Ibeh of Federal Government College, Suleja, Niger State and Tomiwa Olatunbosun of Bibo Oluwa Academy, Ilesha, Osun State were the other finalists in the Senior category.
Ernest-Eze, who fulfilled hispromise to re-enact his 2015 feat when he won in the Junior category,could not hide his emotion afterhis history-making performance. “I thank God for the end of the journey today. I am now confident to tell Nigerians that I was a Champion and I am a Champion again today. God has done it and it is marvellous in my eyes,” he told journalists outside the studio in Lagos last weekend.
His father, Ikechukwu Ernest-Eze, beaming with smiles, expressed gratitude to God and Promasidor for the double honours.
Earlier in a thrilling final encounter at the Junior category, 13-year-old Uche-Nwichi scored 115 points to confine OluwafemiAdeyanju ofJesuit Memorial College, Port Harcourt, Rivers Stateand Ezekiel Ekanem of Advanced Breed Group of Schools, Sagamu, Ogun State to the second and third places respectively.
The trio of Osasere Egharevba of Graceland International School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Joel Ndoh of Marist Brothers Juniorate, Okigwe, Abia State and Abdulwakil Olayinka of Nigerian Tulip International College, Kaduna, Kaduna State could not go beyond the first round.
Uche-Nwichidedicated his victory to God and his parents, while promising to maintain the momentum.
His father, Chukwu Uche-Nwichi, who was ecstaticat the moment of fame, commended Cowbell and Promasidor for the huge investment in the competition and urged government and the other corporate bodies to tread a similar path.
Olatunde Ayorinde, Uche-Nwichi’s teacher, commended the Champion for the honour he brought to him as a person and to the school as a whole. “I thank God for today. My effort has not been in vain. Nothing can be better than this. I am grateful to God, Cowbell and Promasidor,” he said.
The first and second runners-up for each category won N750,000 and N500,000 respectively.
Each teacher of the 2017 champions in each categorywas rewarded with N400,000, while those of the first and second runners-up received N300,000 and N200,000 respectively. Also, the winning schools won Mathematics textbooks, desktop computers and printers.
In a chat with journalists, the Managing Director of Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Anders Einarsson reiterated the commitment of the company towards education, saying it is the most important investment for the future of the children of Nigeria.
“The programme has absolutely met its objectives. We are committed to this initiative and by next year, we will celebrate 20 years of Mathematics and Cowbell,” he said.
He congratulated the finalists for their excellent performance and assured that Promasidor would continue to support the academic development of Nigerian children.
In his remarks, the Registrar of the National Examination Council (NECO), Professor Charles Uwakwe commendedPromasidor for the Cowbellpedia initiativeand statedthat education remained the best legacy parents and society could give to children.
He pledgedNECO’s continued technical support for the project in appreciation of what he described as Promasidor’s great Corporate Social Responsibility to the Nigerian society.
On his own part, the Commercial Director, Promasidor Nigeria Limited, Festus Tettey thanked NECO for its partnership and extolled the level and quality of the competition.