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Join Lafarge to invest in child education, Ezekwesili tells companies

Leading motivational speaker and former minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili in Lagos on Thursday, charged mega companies doing business in Nigeria to channel substantial part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the development of human resources in Nigeria.

Speaking in her keynote address at the finals of the 2017 Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition for Primary Schools in Nigeria, she said “I found it hard to say no to Lafarge on the development of human capital”.

“These children have given us a sense that the future is guaranteed in them considering their doggedness in the entire competition from local government finals to today’s national finals.

Continuing, she averred that “it is only education that can redefine the surety of the future in Nigeria”.

“Am happy that Lafarge did not get into a programme that appeals to the children of the rich, but to the generality of all Nigerian primary school children who have been neglected for too long even as the nation is paying the prize of the negligence.

To her, “The education that will develop the society is the inclusive one and it is the special tool for creating a stable society and economy. Singapore tried it 30 years ago, today they are reaping from the massive education of their people which has reflected in their economy, governance and every sphere of their national life”.

Lafarge Spelling 1
Wife of the managing director of Lafarge Africa, Mrs. Frederique Puchercos being introduced to the national finalists before the last competition that decided winners in Lagos. Photo: Business Hilights

Earlier in his welcome address, the managing director of Lafarge Africa Plc., Mr. Mitchelle Puchercos, said the event which is in its fourth year, was part of Lafarge Africa’s 2030 Development Plan for host nations of the company.

According to him, Lafarge development guiding principle is anchored on four cardinal points including climate, economy, water and nature and people and community, saying “the Lafarge Africa National Literacy Competition for Primary Schools in Nigeria falls within the confines of the fourth pillar of our development plans”.

He noted that the competition is designed to drill pupils around spelling perfection, word pronouncements, writing essay and summaries.

Also speaking, the chairman of the company, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun assured that the company will continue to sponsor the scheme in partnership with Ovie Brume Foundation (OBF) and called on other companies doing business in Nigeria to join hands with Lafarge Africa to deepen education in the country.

Six states qualified for the national finals from the six geo-political zones. Whereas North Central winners was Plateau State, while North East was represented by Gombe State, leaving South West to be represented by Ondo State.

South South winners, Edo State was there, while North West was represented by Kano State. Anambra State represented South East.

At the end of the fierce spelling battle for the six states finalists, Edo swept the first position, leaving Ondo and Kano States second and third respectively.

Business Hilights gathered that the pioneer winner was Akwa Ibom State while the second edition was won by Rivers State to leave the 2016 edition for Lagos State.

Several prizes and material gifts were given to winners as the company assured of the continuity of the competition going forward.

Several top dignitaries in Nigeria’s education industry were present including the Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu who was represented.