Thirteen-year-old Akintokun Adegboyega’s appearance does not convey anything special about him. He looks ordinary like many other pupils in his age bracket– harmless and innocent.
But beneath this innocence lies a head full of figures. Little wonder, he has again emerged
the 2014 Cowbell National Secondary Schools Mathematics Competition champion.
The young lad earlier in 2012 had emerged NASSMAC champion in the junior category. In this latest feat, Adegboyega alongside another 13-year-old Deborah Adesina emerged the overall best Mathematics pupils at the grand finale held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, last Thursday. Adegboyega, a pupil of Ota Total Academy, Ogun State, emerged tops in the senior category, while Adesina, a pupil of Graceland International School, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, came first in the junior category. For their outstanding performance, the duo received
monetary and sundry gifts from the organisers of the competition, Promasidor Nigeria Limited. The duo and their teachers will also enjoy an all-expense-paid holiday trip to Ghana, courtesy of PNL. For coming first, Adegboyega’s earned N300, 000, just as his school received five desktop computers and printers. He scored 87 per cent out of 100, (41 in objective and 46 in theory questions) in the second stage of the competition. Adesina, who scored 81 per cent out of 100 (35 in objective and 46 in theory) , also received N250, 000 for her industry. Her effort similarly made her school to receive five desktop computers and printers from the organisers. Adegboyega, Adesina and 18 other pupils from across the country were among those honoured at the prize-giving ceremony in Akwa Ibom State. They were among the 29, 000 pupils who sat for the first and the second stages of the NASSMAC competitive examinations this year.
The other high flyers in the senior category are 15-year- old Fiyinfoluwa Abioye, a pupil of Nigerian Turkish International College, Wuse, Abuja, who came second with
85 per cent; and David Oluwasayo of Oritameta Baptist Model School, Ibadan, Oyo State, who emerged third, scoring 83 per cent. They received N250, 000 and N200, 000 respectively in addition to other special gifts, including laptops and plaques. Their schools also received desktop computers and printers. Two others -13-year-old Atolagbe Olayinka of the Turkish International College, Isheri, Ogun State;, and Stella Johnson of the Reality High School, Ilesha, Osun State, came second and third respectively in the junior category. While Olayinka took
home N200, 000, Johnson got N150, 000. Like other institutions that produced national winners, their schools got desktop computers and printers. The Supervising Minister of Education, Chief Nyesom Wike, in an address on the occasion, described Mathematics as the “foundation of all sciences and everything in life. According to him, Nigeria’s realisation of its dream of being a technological giant depends on the emphasis it lays in Mathematics. The minister, who spoke through the Director, Federal Inspectorate Service, Federal Ministry of Education, Mrs. Chioma Philips, also urged stakeholders in education to help in checking the phobia pupils have in the subject. He said, “It is a known fact that Mathematics is today seen as a nightmare by our students. This phobia reflects in the poor performance of students in internal and external examinations. To stem this trend, the Federal Government has directed the Federal Ministry of Education and called on other stakeholders, including the Promasidor Nigeria Limited, to leave no stone unturned in a bid to reverse the negative trend.” Hailing PNL for its efforts in developing the country’s education, Wike noted that NASSMAC particularly had reawakened pupils’ interest in Mathematics. The PNL Managing Director, Mr. Olivier Thiry, in his remarks, noted that there was the need to prepare Nigerian youths for
the challenges of the 21st century, especially with the increasing globalisation and digital revolution. According to him, for the country to remain relevant in the comity of nations, it needs to develop and nurture a human capital base to meet its numerous challenges. He said, “Transformational development will come from the quality of human capital Nigeria has and this can only be developed through education, especially the learning of Mathematics and science.” Thiry also promised that the company would continue to sustain the initiative in order to produce better Nigerians. He added, “We have demonstrated this faith in the Nigerian society by investing millions of naira in the conduct
of the NASSMAC competition and we promise to sustain our support for Mathematics as best as we can.”
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, who urged other firms to emulate PNL example, noted that education held the key to the future of the country. Akpabio, represented by the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Atim Antai, said, “We owe our children the responsibility of equipping
them with the right skills, knowledge and preparing them to be useful members of the society. It is only on such basis that we would be sure that they will maintain the pace of our development and that our efforts today would not be in vain.” The NASSMAC, targeted at improving performance in Mathematics, is open to pupils aged between 10 and 18 years in Junior Secondary School and Senior Secondary School 2 in the country.