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“My writing opened doors of opportunity”
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“My writing opened doors of opportunity”

A passion for writing has opened doors for Isah Babayo, 28, a Correspondent from  Gombe in Nigeria, who finds opportunity in competitions and in volunteer work.

I have been always fervent in writing fiction and non-fiction. I’ve told myself that one day I’m going to write a book. To tell the true, I fell in love with writing since I was child, and cannot live without it. I love writing beyond my thoughts.

In fact, my interest in writing for competitions started in 2003, when I was in senior school at Government Day Secondary School in Gombe State, Nigeria. I was selected among the best students in English language to participate for the annual National Essay Competition organised by the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

This was the first essay competition I had entered. Mallam Idris Abdullahi, then the economics teacher, was the chairman of the competition. It happened that the best performing students in English language from each class gathered, and after a while after the topic, “The minutes of last meeting”, was assigned. The panel judges, which were the English Head of Department and other respective English teachers, selected the best three students.

Thereafter, I took on the importance of practicing my writing, less because of what I learned and was keen of interest about, and more because of the people I met when I was selected to participate for the National Essay Competition in that time. Through the National Essay Competition and the practice write-up, I ended up as part of a community of writers, editors, fantasy readers, as well as an award winning essayist.

As a grandaunt, in the year 2005 I had focused on writing articles. Then, I proceeded to Federal College of Education Technical Gombe for the 2006/2007 academic sessions, where I studied general agricultural science education. From there I had planted more interest in writing mainly focused on education, social activities and other issues kindred to students. My articles looked at issues of teen pregnancy, anxiety, the judiciary, and social media.

Due to my desire in English language and in writing at large, I was selected to recommend participants’ essays for Spain’s yearly César Egido Serrano Foundation, Edition  IV of the International Flash Fiction Competition, “Museum of Word”, 2014.  This resulted in the President of Serrano Foundation announcing that I had been appointed as the 2018 Ambassador of Spanish Language in Nigeria.

Since 2011, I have been entering writing competitions and have been nominated, on the shortlist, a finalist, or earned awards in 18 writing competitions in countries ranging from Germany and India to Nigeria and the U.K.

Writing competitions have also opened doors for me to hold positions in community service, such as the student’s council, youth and educational associations.

Currently, I’m working to publish a book entitled “The life is unpredictable”. There is no doubt, my participation in various essay competitions both national and international has encouraged me to develop additional interest in research work, reading extensively, promoting critical thinking and writing constructively in the proficiency of language. The competitions also bestowed me an opportunity to bear in mind the diverse issues that are important to my nation, as well as to the world at large, in education, social and economic sectors, among other related areas of development.

Reach me on Twitter @isahguru

photo credit: courtesy of Isah Babayo

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About me: I am a final year student in Educational Administration and Planning at Federal University, Nigeria, and essayist devoted to fiction and non-fiction essays. I am a team leader with Change for Better Life and on the African Union Students’ Council. I’ve won several awards for my writing, including an award in the 2016 Essay competition by the Royal Commonwealth Society andCambridge University Press. I’m presently working towards publishing a book and have keen interest in all aspects of journalism.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/

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