The Annual National Mathematics Competition (ANMC) put in place by the Nigeria Tulip International Colleges (NTIC) in collaboration with the National Mathematical Centre (NMC) appears to be raising young intellectuals for the country in large numbers.
In the just-concluded ANMC award ceremony, which is 18th in the series, 28 of the cleverest Mathematics pupils drawn from primary 5 and 6 across the country gathered in Abuja to get a reward for their uncommon performances.
Sitting with well calculated calmness at the well-furnished Nile University’s conference hall, alongside their Mathematics teachers, parents and other dignitaries, the young champions in rapt attention listened to an elegant man standing on a podium extolling their achievements.
Announcing scholarship awards
The man introduced as the group managing director (GMD) of First Surat Group of Companies, Yasar Ovenc, said their feats have won them scholarship and other rewards.
He said 28 of the champions would be awarded 100 percent scholarships worth N370 million for six years in NTIC.
As if that was not enough, the visibly-elated Ovenc said eight million naira cash awards along with prizes for the schools would be distributed to participating schools even as Mathematics teachers of the exceptional pupils would also be rewarded.
Eager eyes turned from one side of the beautiful hall to another in ecstatic mood to spot the young recipients of the most prestigious prize who had spent days working on mathematical problems that many university professors would find difficult to solve; hence, the thunderous ovation that followed the scholarships announcement by NTIC.
The first round of the competition took place on June 19, 2021 while the second round was July 23, 2021.
The 40 students that made it to the second round competed under two zones.
Speaking on the event which was held on July 24, Ovenc said, “I feel honoured and delighted to stand here in front of you all to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of these young and brilliant pupils who have made both their schools and parents proud.
“They have performed extraordinarily at the 18th edition of the Annual National Mathematics Competition (ANMC). We are gathered here to celebrate true scholars and mathletes of this generation and I warmly congratulate you all for the journey so far.”
According to the well-respected MD, no fewer than 10,000 students took part in this year’s competition across Nigeria out of which the winners emerged among the top 20 from various zones.
Ovenc revealed that NTIC has been organising ANMC since 2003 in collaboration with NMC to harness outstanding young Mathematics minds, to sharpen their rough edges and groom them to become strong and proficient in sciences.
According to him, “The ultimate goal is to produce remarkable students that would lead to changes in the inventions that would shape the future of sciences in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.
“All the finalists were selected during the strict tentative rounds based on a range of all-around evaluation criteria. Regardless of the cultural background, tribe and religion, these individuals have something essential in common they have put in their best to ensure they get to the final round.
“Twenty eight students would be awarded 100% scholarships (worth N370 million for six years); eight million naira cash awards along with prizes for the schools would be distributed in two zones.
“I want you all to know that the journey does not end here. You got to this level because you are a genius and an outstanding student. Keep the passion for Mathematics burning because your limits are far beyond the sky.”
He charged the students to remain focused and be ready to explore every good opportunities that would come their way.
“As you move forward from this competition, I want you to always remember that you only live once; so, do what you are passionate about. Take chances. Don’t be afraid to fail or think outside the box.
“Think big, dream big, but as you dream, remember that dreams without goals are just dreams and they ultimately fuel disappointments. Apply discipline and consistency and your success is guaranteed.
“We look forward to having you all on board at Nigerian Tulip International Colleges, where we set the atmosphere and make the environment right for learning. We are passionate about quality education and do all that is within our power to give our students quality education with global excellence in mind. At NTIC, we pride in building balanced students to tackle life challenges with ease and excellence,” he said.
NMC boss extols initiative
On his part, the director/chief executive of National Mathematical Centre, Professor Stephen Onah, who expressed delight over the ANMC, commended NTIC for always promoting the study of Mathematics in Nigeria.
Represented by Dr Azuka Benard, acting registrar of the centre, Professor Onah said, “NMC as a body has been collaborating with NTIC for years since its inception and competition.
“I want to say NMC and NTIC have a congress of interest in the area of development of Mathematical Science. And it has been mentioned that any nation that does not bring up its young ones in Mathematics has no future, because the future of any nation depends on the level of teaching Mathematics.
“This is the mission and interest of NMC and that is what NTIC is also trying to do; that is why I said we have congress of interest. We are all workers in the same vineyard, I want to commend NTIC for their contributions at encouraging these young ones.”
NTIC reps speak
Also speaking, the managing director of NTIC, Fevzullah Bilgin said, “The essence of ANMC has been to promote effective teaching and learning of Mathematics at primary school level and to create the flair for Mathematics in the pupils.”
Throwing more light on this year’s competition in an earlier interview, its coordinator, Mr Bayram Urkmet said, “This 18th edition of ANMC is peculiar, as we have to reduce the number of participants to three pupils per school as against the limitless number of registrations before. This was done following Covid-19 precaution and guidelines.”
He said apart from scholarships and other cash rewards, the prizes for winning schools include a desktop computer, a photocopy machine and a laser printer.
“Right from 2003, over 210,800 pupils have participated in the competition spread across the 36 states in the country and we have offered 180 pupils 100 percent scholarship which includes the tuition and hostel fee for six years,” said Bayram.
He added that, “All the students that came into NTIC through ANMC have been harnessed and are doing remarkably well in their academic endeavours.”
Some notable high fliers
He listed the high-profile ones amongst them as Henry Aniobi, a 2007 winner. Henry is a three-time Pan African Mathematical Olympiad Winner with two Golds and a Silver medal (Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Nigeria).
He has also received Bronze medals four times at the International Mathematics Olympiad (Holland, Argentina, Columbia, South Africa).
Another high flyer, Ayomide Bamidele, a 2008 winner, was a National Physics Olympiad winner in 2014. He also won the International Physics Olympiad in 2014 in Kazakhstan winning a Bronze Medal.
The roll call of the champions also includes Vincent Anioke, a 2006 winner who scored 239 out of 2400 in SAT and gained a scholarship into MIT to further his studies, one of the world-leading universities.
Others include Yusuf Afolabi, Godwin Shitta, Opara Chioma, Glory Nmasinachukwu, Favour Adaobi, Okezie Chiedozie, Yusuf Adbulmueez and many more, who have all contributed in winning over 360 International Medals for Nigeria at International Olympiads across the world and most importantly excelling in their careers and academics across the world.
The pupils who performed very well to emerge champions in this year’s ANMC include Ifunanya Nwanegbo from Mabel Divine International School, Anambra State; Tejiri Esemitodje, Mind Builders School, Lagos; Chibuzo Obiyo, Pleroma International School, Rivers state; Oluwayemi Akere, University of Lagos Women Society, Lagos; Darasimi Olusola, UCH Staff School, Ibadan, Oyo State and Ebubechukwu Uzoigwu; Saint Jude Private School, Lagos state.
The list also includes Bryan Okahia; Bereton Montessori School, Port Harcourt, Rivers; Temitope Akinluwade, Franciscan Nursery and Primary School, Osun State; Abela James, Bimstar Montessori School, Edo State; Farida Suara, Premier International School, Abuja; Oluwanifemi Ajoo, Learn at Ease, Utako, Abuja; Kalu Munachimso, Springfield Academy, Anambra State and Chikamso Kevin; Pleroma International School, Rivers.
Others are Kaosisochukwu Enebe, NTIC, Abuja; Emordi Kamsiyochukwu, Mount Olive School, Onitsha, Anambra state; Muhammed Ajibolu, UCH Staff School, Ibadan, Oyo State; Oladehin Oluwatobiloba, Bofoat Model International Group of School, Ondo state; Akwazie Franklin, Springfield Academy, Anambra state and Tochukwu Ezema, Learn at Ease, Utako, Abuja.
Impressed by NTIC’s passion for its scholarship programme and its commitment to ensure quality education for all students, a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) chairperson in one of the schools, Mrs Sani Balogun, commended the school for its unique way of education delivery in Nigeria.
She said, “When it comes to academic, moral, relationship with parents, which is key to me and when their students graduate, they don’t just leave them like you are no more in NTIC, they follow their students up to wherever they are in the world.
“I have a testimony of that. When my daughter was abroad, they visited her and that is key to me. So NTIC is special in its own way; they don’t take only excellent students, they take average, they take low and the excellent ones and spice them together to make sure they are all good at the end of the day.”