Why SAA is investing in Nigerian youths, by Leke-Bamtefa

 Splashes gifts, cash on participants

 South Africa Airways participants who participated in the grand finale of the maiden edition of SAA Essay competition held in Lagos on Friday where the airline awarded cash prizes and gifts to winners.


 Miss Victory Yinka-Banjo from Princeton College, Surulere, Lagos State, won the Grand finale of the first SAA Essay competition with theme; Patriotism: Making a difference as a youth competition as she went home with N100,000 cheque and other prizes; Master Ojo Purpose Oluwapelumi from Liz International College, Giwa Oke-aro, Ogun State came second while Miss Halim Blessing of Princeton came third.

This is coming as the carrier pledged support for youths in Nigeria. The airline which has operated to Lagos from Johannesburg in the last 20 years stated that such gestures were part of its initiatives to be part of development in Nigeria and impact positively on the youth making them reflect and contribute something to nation building.

National Sales manager, SAA, Mrs. Kemi Leke-Bamtefa who spoke to journalists after the grand finale of the first SAA Essay competition with theme; Patriotism: Making a difference as a youth, said the competition will hold every year, adding that this is just one way of investing in Nigerian youths and in a place the airline’s operation had been successful in the last twenty years.

“It’s a South African Airways event, it is part of what we have in stock for Nigeria, we are a South African company based in Nigeria, we’ve been around for 20 years, we will be twenty years in December, we have series of activities this year, in fact this year, we have two Essay competitions.

We want to be part of development in Nigeria, I do not believe in people saying that our leaders have failed us, but I say we have failed ourselves. Part of this is impacting on the youth and making them look inwards and see how they can contribute to the development of Nigeria, this is not about Nelson Mandela or about South Africa, it is strictly about Nigeria and Nigerian youth and how we can contribute to the economy”, she said.

She said the airline plans to take the competition to Universities and even Orphanages, adding that apart from prizes given to the students, they will be taken on familiarization tour to South Africa to have an experience of the technical side of aviation.

“We will soon orgarnise a press conference on our activities, especially on the 20th anniversary that we will celebrate this year. We just want to start the year on a positive note, the Essay completion started in September 2017 and we just want to have the grand finale in January.

“We are going to run it every year, it is not just once, it is yearly, the competition can go to Universities, it can also go to Orphanages. We have cash prizes, we have consolation prizes for others and we are looking at a community of where everybody (participants) can come together and have a familiarisation trip to South Africa, we also want to support the growth of the students as they move on”, she added.

 Speaking on the development, Mr. Basil Agboarumi, chairman of the assessment panel, who is also the public relations officer of Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCOL), thanked the management of SAA for such initiative adding that now is the time to start beaming searchlight on Nigerian youths who are supposed to be the leaders of tomorrow.

He urged youths to be proud of their country anytime, adding that patriotism will help to make Nigeria a great place.

Wole Shadare

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