L-R: Supervisor, Community Development, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), Mrs. Bunmi Lawson; 2017 NNPC/Shell Cup Most Valuable Player (MVP), Iyobor Arase; General Manager External Relations of Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Mr. Igo WelI; second MVP, Ernest Ejolum; Deputy Manager, Community Relations, NAPIMS, Ms. Julie Utang; and SPDC Communications Manager, Olusola Abulu, at a reception in Lagos on Monday in honour of the MVPs who just returned from a training tour of The Netherlands.
One of the most outstanding players in the 2017 edition of the annual NNPC/Shell Cup, Ernest Ojelum, has won an International Summer School Scholarship to the United Kingdom.
The announcement coincided with a reception to welcome Ernest and the other Most Valuable Player in the 2017 finals, Iyobor Arase, after a weeklong training tour in The Netherlands.
Ernest of Henson of Demonstration School in Benin City will be joining other international scholars at the University of Sussex later in the year in an all-expense paid programme.
Announcing the scholarship award on Monday in Lagos, General Manger External Relations of Shell Nigeria, Mr. Igo Weli, described the emergence of Ernest as the outcome of a painstaking process involving the partner University of Sussex and Henson Demonstration School. “We are delighted that our new partnership with the University of Sussex has brought a whole new excitement and incentive to the NNPC/Shell Cup to validate our belief that education and football can go hand-in-hand.”
Reinforcing this defining principle behind the 20-year old tournament, Group General Manager of National Petroleum Investment Services (NAPIMS), Mr. Roland Ewubare, expressed excitement at the yearly improvement to the tournament which he said has made the NNPC/Shell Cup a standard in youth sports competition.
“We are encouraged by the emerging partnerships with Feyenoord and University of Sussex that have changed the whole motivations around the tournament, making it a household name in every part of Nigeria,” said Ewubare who was represented by the Deputy Manager, Community Relations of Public Affairs Department of NAPIMS, Ms. Julie Utang.
An elated Ernest described the NNPC/Shell Cup experience as overwhelming. “From the announcement of my name as one of the most valuable players at the finals in 2017, the transformation to my life and world of experience I’ve been exposed to by NNPC and Shell are far beyond my expectations. Sometimes I think perhaps I’m dreaming.”
Ernest’s father, Mr. Humphrey Ojelum, echoed similar surprise noting that youths stand a better chance of success in sports with a solid foundation in education as being promoted by NNPC and Shell.
Also speaking, Iyobor charged youths to hold firm to education while pursuing other interests particularly sports. “If I had been out of school, I’m not sure I would have had this early opportunity of training tour in The Netherlands, among other benefits I’ve received from being part of the NNPC/Shell Cup.”
The 2017 edition of the leading youth football tournament started in May 2017 with the preliminary matches involving some 54,000 students from 2,750 secondary schools across Nigeria competing for honours.
At the finals played at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, on July 4, 2017, the Henson boys defeated their counterparts from Holy Ghost College, Owerri, Imo State by 2:0 to emerge champions of the 19 th edition of the 20-year-old tournament.