Yours for FREE

My top-notch book, "Your Right To Write"

  • FREE tips on writing, blogging, publishing and essay competitions
  • Exclusive offers and inspiration delivered directly to your inbox
Just enter your email now and I'll send the Book to you... for FREE.

‘Yours Sincerely’ Emerges A Winner At The CIPM Annual National Essay Contest

‘Yours Sincerely’ Emerges A Winner At The CIPM Annual National Essay Contest

Written by: Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin*

It was a battle of the Titans at the grand finale of the 2012 edition of the prestigious Annual National Essay Competition of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) held at the CIPM House, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos State on Friday, 14th of September. The topic was: “Employment Generation and Expansion: a Panacea for Security Challenge in Nigeria”.

Six entrants made it to the fiercely competitive grand finale, each of them from a different university, a different state and each studying a different course. Emmanuel Ekanem from the University of Benin, Nurudeen Yusuf from the Lagos State University, Eriife Mofoluwawo from the University of Ibadan, Kimbir Hembafan from the Benue State University, Onasanya Bola from the Obafemi Awolowo University and…that’s all. Oops! I forgot to mention myself! I was there too, from the University of Ilorin.

Everyone got there early, smartly clad, exhibiting (or feigning) confidence and wearing a smile. I must say I was a little bit nervous. Others confessed to me they were too, anyway.

We were given a warm, first class reception and served tea break. While everyone was doing justice to the sandwich and coffee, in came the Coordinator, Mr Funmi. “You’re Abdullahi?” he queried, his outstretched right index finger pointing towards me. When I answered in the affirmative, he announced I was presenting first. I heard everyone else heaved a sigh of relief. At least, they could learn from whatever mistake I would make, they might have thought.

CIPM National Essay Competition 2012

Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin, 2nd Prize Winner, CIPM Annual National Essay Competition, 2012 Edition.

Being a first speaker in a contest isn’t an enviable fate, but what cannot be avoided is better endured. So, I braced up and summoned courage for the encounter with the distinguished panel of judges.

The next minute, I was in the judges’ chamber. Five admirably friendly, courteous and erudite academics sat at the opposite end of the table. By the time I was on my seat, facing them, the tension had disappeared, my mind brimming with self confidence.

Thirty long minutes of rigorous defense and intensive drilling followed. Truly, experience cannot be bought, the judges gave me a tough run while the defense lasted. But I think I did not do badly. Thank goodness the judges think so too, and they said it. Other contestants too made their defense in turn, all spanning about four hours.

No one was there when another contestant met the judges in their chamber. Hence, none could learn from the other’s mistakes…each man was his own scapegoat. While the result was being compiled, contestants were treated to a sumptuous dinner…come ‘an chop o :-). In that ambience, we chatted, shared experiences and exchanged contacts.

Back at the judges’ chambers, everyone sat anxiously to hear the result. It was a highly competitive essay blended with a keenly contested defense, the panel said. But only three winners could emerge.

Emmanuel Ekanem from the University of Benin came third, I grabbed the second position while Onasanya Bola from the Obafemi Awolowo University clinched the first spot. What prizes we got? All six finalists got fat transport allowances and assorted CIPM souvenirs, rewards for being quick-witted – and maybe lucky too – enough to stand the test to the grand finale.

In addition, the three prize winners would enjoy:

  • An all-expense paid air trip to attend the 2012 CIPM National Conference in Abuja;
  • Free registration as student members of the Institute (how I love this particular prize!);
  • 2 HRM books each.

Wait, that’s not all! The third, second and first prize winners would receive N75000, N100000 and N125000 respectively at the National Conference. Finally, the first prize entry would be published in the Institute’s HRM Journal.

L – R: Eriife Mofoluwawo, Onasanya Bola, Kimbir Hembafan, Emmanuel Ekanem, Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

You think I’m happy, right? Yes! You’re right. It’s a wonderful experience. I hereby dedicate this triumph to the esteemed readers, fans and well wishers of Naija Writers’ Coach. And if you’re reading this, you’re surely one of them.

One more important point I want to share. From the writing process, through the submission, traveling from Ilorin to Lagos for the grand finale and making the defense, one common trait runs through the whole process: it wasn’t easy. I was extremely engaged and incredibly exhausted at every point of the process. I hastily submitted my entry by 11:56pm on the deadline, got to Lagos 10:20pm the night before the defense and skipped many a sleep and tranquil meal all that I may meet deadlines. Indeed, only failure is attained without difficulty. But it has been well worth it…and I’d gladly undergo the hectic schedule again.

Now what are you waiting for? Current essay contests are always announced here at NWC. Your day might be around the corner, but only if you pay the price. So take the initiative today and try your hands at some.

Have you gathered any valuable experience from taking part in an essay contest? Share your experience with us in the comment section.

You may read my winning entry here.

Talk to you at some other time.


Would you like to receive regular essay contest announcements and helpful, practical writing tips from Naija Writers’ Coach all for FREE? It’s as simple as ABC. Simply subscribe to our newsletter with your best setup banner

About Muhammed Abdullahi Tosin

Writer. Difference Maker. Entrepreneur. Author, Your Right To Write & Vertical Writing. Winner, 11 Writing Prizes.


  1. Jimoh Ibrahim (Jimoh Is Good) says:

    Alhamdulilahi Robili Aalameen…I am short of words. Like you said, it is the joyful moment that people see. They don’t see all the brainstorming period, the numerous drafts, the sleepless nights, the editing and re-editing, and so on… In fact, I am really delighted when Akinde told me you are up for the defence. I had the confidence that you’ll never fail, and by His grace here you are, a winner! I’ll dedicate a poem to your astounding victory INSHA ALLAH…Indeed you are worth a friend!

    • Jimoh Is Good, thanks for your support and good wishes. We’re in it together here at NWC. Let’s keep learning, writing and hopefully winning. See you all at the top, insha Allah.

  2. Sanni Hadiza says:

    Congrats pal! I m so happy for you. Keep inspiring us, the sky is ur starting point.

  3. May Allah put His blessings in it.M short of words!More power to your elbow.This is indeed a victory that should inspire all the tutored nd fans here@NWC.Dear Coach,don’t relent on ur efforts,Sire!

    • Hi Mtoyin,
      Thanks for your prayer and goodwill. We hope more laurels come the ways of our esteemed readers and fans. It will not be easy, but we’ll endure the storm. Together, we’re destined for greatness.

  4. Oxygen,
    Congratulations!!! I’m so happy for you, and I’m inspire, too. But don’t forget me when the prize money lands in your pocket 🙂

  5. its indeed nice seeing young up-coming writers manifest(obviously)latent gifts as this. This is impressive. Congrats,Abdul.

  6. E ku orire ooo,u are actually ma namesake *Awayewaserere*;abi:)

  7. @ Hajjo, it’s nice reading that goodwill message of yours. Thanks for your time.
    @ Mordiya, you now see my point? Thank God you now acknowledge I also bear that name. Lolz.

  8. Lolz….but nt so fast shaa,ur consideration is 2 kip more laurels comn in nd we share d moni,Agreed?k,,cos oruko omo ni roni. Lolzzzzzzzz

    • Sharing the money? I suggest you switch on your bluetooth and remain expectant…lol.
      I hope the laurels keep coming, but that isn’t the sole criteria for retaining the name, ‘awayewaserere’. Please watch out for a piece on the meaning of my pen-name, ‘Oxygen’.

  9. This is such a comprehensive report of the happenings at the CIPM HOUSE on sept 14th. I was really thrilled reading it. In fact even when i was present while it all happened, I found the report so nail-biting.Thumbs-up oxygenmat. Once again. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

    • Ekanem, thanks for your comment. It’s nice having your first-hand testimony to corroborate my report. Congrats to you too. Can’t wait to meet you again at the National Conference.

  10. congrats. keep it up

  11. Alao Idris (Observation) says:

    Alhamdulillah! M.A -as i fondly cal u- u wil continue 2 emerge winner in contests ahead, inshaAllah!. I’m hapi bt nt surpris cos, evry difficulty com wt ease…let kip working on. wt conscious efforts we’l get dia. Cheers!

  12. Alao Idris, I say amen to your prayers and wish you better ones too. Thanks for your time and goodwill.

  13. May Allah bless your effort. All the best.

  14. Congrats my brother. You always inspire me to try my hands (and brain) at some essays. I’ll love to see you soaring higher.

  15. It is my common prayer that ‘ u live long ‘ to benefit people more and u too be benefit, illa l hamami inshallah

  16. oxygenmat as d name entails is indeed an embodiment of model for d buddying writers…congrats sir, am v.happy 4 u…many mre blessns of allah…@NWC…am indid glad being here…1nce again. Cngrats

  17. s.r. owolabi says:

    merciful heavens!i thought to my self ,happy and typing ,oh i wish i had started earlier .i cant wait to start writing ,i could hardly sleep,i was crying for joy ,simply are for the purpose of exageration an angel,you a scholar of great erudition ,in fact you an idol.congratulations! barakallahufihi.

    • Hi Owolabi,
      Thanks for your compliments. I’m afraid I’m not half-deserving of those enadearing names. But I won’t understand them literally. It’s never too late…you can still start from where you are and end up the writer you’ve always dreamed. I hope you have subscribed to updates by email? If not, please do so.

  18. Alhamdulillah, congratulations. You have just started. You will get to the top inshaa Allah. Pen is power!

  19. Oluwasegun says:

    Good day, Mr Abdullahi, please, can u describe what questions where asked at the Judges chamber during the competition.
    Waiting for an urgent reply.


  1. […] read a winning essay? Here is one that recently won a national prize. In yielding to the popular demand of venerated fans and respected readers of Naija Writers’ […]

  2. […] media outfit using my work experience consisting of blogging, writing for notice boards on campus, entering and winning essay contests, assisting my lecturers with specific researches and volunteering as a campus reporter for some […]

  3. […] ‘Yours Sincerely’ Emerges A Winner At The CIPM Annual National Essay Contest […]

  4. […] why you’ve not been winning laurels. Nothing pisses off a panel of judges as effectively as a stubborn departure from the given essay […]

  5. […] media outfit using my work experience consisting of blogging, writing for notice boards on campus, entering and winning essay contests, assisting my lecturers with specific researches and volunteering as a campus reporter for some […]

Speak Your Mind