The Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, has emerged best out of the 21 tertiary institutions that participated in the 2019 Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA) Competition.

The yearly competition, which was held at the National Mathematical Centre (NMC), Sheda, FCT, started on Monday and ended on Friday.

However, Mr Ozoemela Merua, a final year student of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia came overall best out of 42 contestants.

18 other contestants also won different categories of medals; three gold, six silver and 9 bronze medals.

In his address, the NSA president, Prof. Sidney Onyeagu, said that the competition was aimed at rekindling the dwindling interest of students in statistics.

Onyeagu, who was represented by Dr Godday Ebuh, Vice President NSA, observed that the competition would promote students’ interest in statistics as a career prospect as well as improve on their communication and knowledge in certain difficult areas of statistics.

“Hence, leveraging on the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the National Board for Technical Education, jurists were selected from Universities and Polytechnics by NMC to provide a pool of questions and the associated marking scheme used for this competition.

“The jurists from the participating tertiary institutions in collaboraion with NMC administered and coordinated the entire process that led to the emergence of the winners,” he explained.

Earlier in his remarks, Prof. Stephen Onah, Chief Executive, NMC, said the programme was aimed at stimulating interest of undergraduates in mathematical sciences, especially statistics.

Onah noted that the exercise would equally prepare students of statistics to better understand the difficult areas as well as improve their knowledge and confidence in the subject for any global competition.

“It is in pursuant of NMC’s mandate on training that a statistics competition for undergraduate students is organised in collaboration with NSA and this is the second edition of the competition.

“Unlike last year, this year’s subject area of focus is on statistical inference. We hope to change the area of focus for the examination yearly so that all perceived difficult areas of statistics are eventually covered.

“It is a competition of high standards that is testing understanding of the subject rather than memorisation,” he said.

He, therefore, advised contestants to view their performance as an indicator to learn more and know more of statistics.

Onah also urged the participants to extend the knowledge gained from the programme to others, while being good ambassadors of the centre.

The winner of the competition, Merua, attributed his success to determination, hard work and concentration on the subject area.

Meanwhile, a participant from Federal Polytechnic Ado-Ekiti, Ms Idowu Abiola, noted that the subject area of competition took them unawares, especially students of polytechnics as they had not been taught the course.

Abiola, therefore, urged the organisers of the competition to inform schools about areas of concentration to enable them be on the same page in subsequent contests.

“This is because we have not been taught on the course we were tested on; we are expected to learn it in second semester, hence some of us were surprised at the questions during the examination,” she said.