The feat was courtesy of the brilliance outing by 16-year-old Shuaibu Abdullahi of Tulip International College (Boys), Damaturu, Yobe State in the first and second rounds of senior preliminary Group C.
Another 16-year-old Chinedu Mgbemema of Graceland International School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State also advanced to the semi-finals.
Four other contestants however exited from the Quiz Show. These included Favour Anefu of Global Kids Academy, Sokoto, Sokoto State; James Elechi of All Hallows Seminary, Onitsha, Anambra State; and Yusuf Mustapha of JIBWIS Islamic Secondary School, Gombe, Gombe State. Timilehin Oyetunde of God’s Own Group of School, Ikorodu, Lagos State was absent from the competition.
Shuaibu, 16, scored 94 per cent in the qualifying examination and had won four other school competitions before now. He is however featuring in the Cowbellpedia Mathematics TV Quiz Show for the second time and has his gaze on the ultimate title this time.
“I am more determined now and the prize is my ultimate ambition. And if I lose, I will feel very very sad,” Shuaibu, who aspires to become an electrical engineer, told journalists outside the studio in Lagos.
Chinedu, who is also a second timer in the competition, is not in doubt that he would emerge the 2018 champion. “My aim in this competition is to be the best. And that’s why I practice Mathematics for long hours every day ahead of this competition. My best subject is Mathematics; dropping out before the final is not in my dictionary at all,” he said.
In the junior category, contestants from Oyo and Ogun States, picked the two available semi-final tickets. This is through the efforts of Toluwanimi Olatunji of The International School, University of Ibadan, Oyo State; and Faisat Edu of Scholars Universal Secondary School, Ota, Ogun State.
They both edged out four challengers – Elizabeth Okoli of The Ambassador College, Ogun State; Emannuella Ezurike of Federal Government Girls College, Owerri, Imo State; Jamila Mustapha of Globa Kids Academy, Sokoto, Sokoto State; and Love Eric of Air force Comprehensive School, Yola, Adamawa State.
Toluwanimi, who scored 89 percent in the qualifying examination conducted nationwide last February, disclosed that his parents fired his interest in Mathematics. This he said, has also boosted his confidence in the competition. “My parents are praying for me and I am equally doing my part to emerge champion. I believe nothing can stop me,” Olatunji, who aspires to become a medical doctor, said.
On her own part, Faisat, who scored 115 points in preliminary rounds, described her experience in the competition as “enjoyable.” She traced her strides in Mathematics to the support from her teacher and parents. She wants to study Medicine and Surgery in the University.
In the spirit of the 20th anniversary, this year’s prize money has been increased by 100 percent. Winners in both categories will receive N2 million each with an all-expense paid educational excursion outside the country; while the first and second runners-up will receive N1.5 million and N1 million respectively.
The teachers of the top prize winners will each be rewarded with N500,000, while those of the first and second runners-up will each receive N400,000 and N300,000 respectively.
Also, each of the winning schools will be presented with Mathematics textbooks, desktop computers and printers.
This episode is now airing to millions of viewers on DSTv Africa Magic Family Channel and other six television stations across the country this weekend.