The Multipurpose Hall of Yaba College of Technology, YABATECH, Lagos, Southwest, Nigeria, came alive on Saturday, June 4, 2022, when leaders and members of the Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria, MSSN, Lagos State Area Unit turned out massively for the grand finale of the multistage and keenly contested Lagos Intellectual Quiz Competition (LIQC).
The maiden edition of LIQC, organised by the Muslim students body had Majisa Okunade from Ansar-Ud-Deen High School, Surulere and Moosa Akintunde, a student of MIMS Comprehensive College, Bajulaye, Somolu emerging champions in the senior and junior categories respectively.
Muslim News gathered that Muhammad Ajuwon, from Agidingbi Senior Secondary School, Ikeja, and Muhammad Isu, another student of MIMS Comprehensive College, Bajulaye, Somolu, took the first and second runner-up positions for the senior category.
The junior category finalists were Khawlah Bello, from Excelsior Islamic Schools, Satellite Town, Amuwo Odofin (first runner-up) and Nimotallah Ibrahim, Odumola Junior Secondary School, Epe (second runner-up).
The winners in both categories smiled home with N200,000 each. While the first runners-up received N140,000 each, and the second runners-up went home with N100,000 each.
The birth of LIQC, emergence of winners
Speaking with Muslim News, the Head, Organising Committee, LIQC, Mr Kamaldeen Abiona, thanked Allah for the success of this year’s intellectual quiz with the theme, “Quality Education: Parameters, Drawbacks and Intervention”, saying that it’s just the beginning, and it won’t be the last.
Mr Abiona, who is also the Society’s Welfare Officer, said the first edition of LIQC was born out of the consensus reached at a conference where it was concluded that all the society’s yearly competitions should be merged into one.
According to him, every year, we do have series of educative and informative competitions for our members, especially in secondary schools. Hence, the Young Managers Quiz Competition and the Science and Islamic Competition were merged into one, birthing LIQC.
Explaining details of the stages involved in the competition, the Head, Organising Committee said, the edition started with preliminaries across the Area Councils which held in November 20, 2021.
“This took place in 38 of the 45 Area Councils with over 500 participants. Best 3 participants from each Area Council moved to the second round (Zonal Stage). At this stage, the best 10 from each category emerged. This was held on January 29, 2022.
“The best 10 in each category were invited to a boot camp held between May 6 and 8 to drill them on the subjects of focus and at the same time organise a semi final for them. At the end, 7 out the 10 participants in each category qualified for the final. And today, Saturday, the 7 from each category contested to produce a winner we are celebrating,” he noted.
Speaking further, Mr. Abiona revealed that the contestants were tested on general and departmental subjects at the preliminary stage, adding that, ” During the semi final to the final, the subjects were reduced to only general subjects so as to put all participants on the same level.
“The general subjects comprised Mathematics, English, Islamic Studies and Current Affairs. The departmental subjects were Physics and Chemistry for Science students, Account and Commerce for Social Science students, and Literature-in-English and Government for Art students.”
Amir laments decline in quality education
In his welcome address, the Amir of the MSSN Lagos State Area Unit, Mallam Miftahudeen Thanni lamented the continuing decline in quality education in Nigeria.
“Undoubtedly, quality education has eluded our great nation, Nigeria. Quality and free education is almost made impossible or is now a tale of the past as various setbacks have been witnessed in the sector over the years. It is an eyesore that the quality of education has totally dropped,” Thanni said.
“Students’ attitude to learning is worrisome and there is a decline in available facilities for learning to create an enabling environment for the future leaders. Teachers’ salaries can not take them home any longer compared to the robust and juicy packages lawmakers and other office holders at all levels of government earn. This is a cheat and abysmal fact we have to contend with in our country.”
The Amir continued, “It is a fact that no nation grows above its teachers. If teachers are poor, the standard of education will be poor and vice versa. At this juncture, I want to unequivocally challenge the government that they can do better to improve the welfare of teachers. There is a need to take the educational sector to a higher level and make teachers more comfortable to be able to build and nurture these students.
“Countries like Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany to mention a few have over the years shown more commitment to teachers’ welfare, educational facilities and students’ wellbeing. These account for the level of success recorded in these climes.”
He also welcomed invited guests and participants to the event, noting LIQC was organised to improve the intellectual capacity of secondary school students to becoming world class learners who can take up the leadership of our country in the coming years.
“I wish to express my appreciation to all invited guests here present for making this programme a success, particularly, Professor Musa Aibinu, our dear indefatigable and amiable Vice Chancellor of Summit University, Offa. Thank you, sir,” he added.
MSSN Lagos always at the forefront of championing academic excellence – Chairman
The Chairman of the event, Alhaji Saheed Adedayo Amzat, MD/CEO Zedcrest Capitals, said he was honoured to be in attendance, adding that it isn’t surprising that the quiz competition was organised by the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), Lagos State Area Unit.
While announcing his intention to double the prize money in all categories, Alhaji Amzat noted that MSSN Lagos has been at the forefront of championing academic excellence over the decades.
“I am happy to be a part of this,” he stated.
The CEO of a Lagos-based proprietary and capital management firm also decried the state of education in the country, noting quality education is a luxury in Nigeria.
“Quality education is a necessity in our modern age. This is because it opens the door to opportunities and innovations. More importantly, it makes Nigerians competitive in the global market. Unfortunately, it is a luxury in our country. In 2017, the World Economic Forum ranked Nigeria 120th of 136 Countries with regards to the quality of primary education. Similarly, over 10 million Nigerian children of primary school age were not enrolled in school in 2019. This is the highest number of out-of-school children globally. This is indeed a setback to our progress as a nation.
“We all are aware the students of federal tertiary institutions have been at home for over 100 days now, since February. How did we get here as a Nation? The overall state of education and substandard stemming from it have severe implications on living standards, access to jobs, and economic growth,” he said.
“Quality Education: Parameters, Drawbacks and Intervention is the theme of this event and I am certain that our experienced resource persons will give us a headway. At this point, we all need to be concerned about the future of our children which largely depends on the type of education they get.”
The Chairman meanwhile urged the leadership of the MSSN Lagos to take the finalists as treasures she needs to take good care of, with different opportunities, including mentorship.
“It is certain that their future is bright. I pray Allah continues to increase their knowledge. I want to urge MSSN, Lagos State Area Unit to continue to be steadfast and continue to champion the cause of Islam and academic excellence. This is a lofty thing to do and we pray Allah supports you and ease your affairs,” he added.
I’m excited about my win – Akintunde
Moosa Akintunde, a student of MIMS Comprehensive College, Bajulaye, Somolu, who came top in the junior category told Muslim News that he was very excited about his win, noting the contest had improved his speed rate in solving mathematical questions.
“I qualified for the semi final where we had the bootcamp. At the bootcamp, some people were disqualified. I came fourth then. During the final, I prayed, read and solved questions. I also visited the website given to us by the organizers.
“On getting here, we were told we would be having two stages. For the first stage, I came second. For the second stage, I came fifth. I was scared that I might not win again. But during the last stage, I did well,” he said.
“This competition has helped me a lot. The competitions I usually partake in, we were always given 30 seconds to solve a mathematical question. But for this, we were given just 10 to 15 seconds. So, it has improved my speed in solving mathematical questions.
“I am very happy to win this prize. I initially thought Khawlah Bello will get it because she has been leading since the beginning of the competition. I’m happy and excited.”
Muslim students are not dullards, says Okunade
For his part, Majisa Okunade who led the senior category of the competition said he hopes their brilliant performances during the contest would tell a story that Muslim students are not dullards.
He said, “The competition has really boosted my confidence. It has taught me that no matter how dull I am, I could still be a brilliant student. I wish that people will get to know through this that Muslim students are not dullards.
“I will be seeking admission into a federal university to study law. I know that Allah who has made winning this competition possible for me will also make this aspiration possible.”
He also acknowledged the role of prayer and encouragement from teachers and colleagues at school.
“I felt I needed to pray to Almighty Allah because He destines who wins the competition. I was anxious during the competition but my teachers and colleagues were there to give me the moral support.
“I won a prize of N200,000, and I believe it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I can do better than this because the sky is just the starting point for every student in Nigeria.”
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