Chioma Nziwu, a 16-year-old student from St John’s the Apostle High School in Odakpu, Onitsha, has secured first place in the second edition of the Igbo Spelling Bee competition, known as ‘Oka Nsupe Igbo’, in Anambra.
Nziwu, a Senior Secondary School (SSS 2) student, was deemed the most exceptional competitor across the three aspects of the Igbo language that were tested during the finals held in Onitsha on Friday.
Kosiso Ojukwu and Chiagozie Ekemere, both students from Mater Christi Group of Schools in Awada, claimed the second and third positions, respectively, in this highly engaging and fiercely contested competition.
The winners were awarded cash prizes of N150,000, N100,000, and N50,000, respectively, as a token of their achievement.
Organized by the Onitsha Business School, the Igbo Spelling Bee ‘Oka Nsupe Igbo’ competition is part of the Onitsha City Marathon initiative.
According to Chinemelum Nsobundu, the Programme Manager of the competition, approximately 15 secondary schools from various regions of Anambra participated in the contest, with only three making it to the final stage.
Nsobundu highlighted that the judges consisted of Igbo scholars from the university and experienced language teachers.
Chinedu Aniagboso, the Director of the Programme, emphasized that Oka Nsupe Igbo aims to address concerns about the potential extinction of indigenous languages, including Igbo, unless conscious efforts are made to preserve them.
Aniagboso noted the competition’s positive impact on both teachers and students, generating greater interest in the Igbo language since its inaugural edition in May last year.
He expressed his satisfaction with the competition’s high standards, evident in the students’ proficient responses to the questions.
Prof. Olusegun Sogbesan, the Director General of Onitsha Business School, urged traditional institutions, schools, and businesses to embrace and support the program for enhanced results.
Sogbesan emphasized that beyond spelling and writing in Igbo, stakeholders should reintroduce forgotten words and develop new ones to enable fluent communication in the language without incorporating foreign terms.
He commended the students and teachers from the participating schools and encouraged others to partake in future editions.
The first edition of the competition saw Oluebube Ogbonna, a 14-year-old student from Divine Rays British School in Obosi, Idemili North LGA, crowned as the winner.