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12-Year-Old Spelling Bee Champion Takes Charge as MTN Nigeria’s One-Day CEO

L- R: Esther Akinnukawe, Chief Human Resources Officer, MTN Nigeria; Mr Victor Nkanu, Father of One-Day CEO; Daniel Victor Nkanu, One-Day CEO, MTN Nigeria; Karl Olutokun Toriola, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria and Esther Akinnukawe, Chief Human Resources Officer, MTN Nigeria, at the One-Day CEO Event, which held at the MTN Headquarters Rooftop, Ikoyi Lagos on January 31, 2024.
L- R: Esther Akinnukawe, Chief Human Resources Officer, MTN Nigeria; Mr Victor Nkanu, Father of One-Day CEO; Daniel Victor Nkanu, One-Day CEO, MTN Nigeria; Karl Olutokun Toriola, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria and Esther Akinnukawe, Chief Human Resources Officer, MTN Nigeria, at the One-Day CEO Event, which held at the MTN Headquarters Rooftop, Ikoyi Lagos on January 31, 2024.

In a heartwarming celebration of young talent, MTN Nigeria today announced Daniel Nkanu Victor, a student from Intimacy with Christ Secondary School, Mararaba, Nasarawa State, as its honorary One-Day CEO. This recognition follows Daniel’s impressive triumph in the 2023 MTN mPulse Spelling Bee competition. With a confident stride and a contagious smile, the 12-year-old stepped into the shoes of industry veteran Karl Toriola at the helm of Africa’s largest telecommunications network at 9 am on Wednesday, January 31.

“I’m honoured to be here today. Leading Nigeria’s largest telecommunications company, even just for today, is a very special experience for me and I want to thank my family, my teachers and everyone who cheered me on while I prepared for this competition. I look forward to learning a lot,” said Daniel Nkanu Victor, MTN Nigeria One-Day CEO, addressing MTN executives and media representatives.

Welcoming Daniel during the symbolic handover, Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria said, “For a day, Daniel becomes a symbol of what we strive to achieve – a future where young Nigerians lead the way in technology, innovation, and social progress. His presence at the helm is a powerful reminder of the responsibility we carry and the opportunities we can create.”

“His journey is a message from MTN to every young Nigerian – we see your potential, we hear your voices, and we believe that you have the power to shape a better, more inclusive tomorrow. Initiatives like the Spelling Bee and the One-Day CEO are our way of saying, ‘We believe in you,’ and are committed to providing platforms for you to shine, learn, and become the leaders of tomorrow.”

In his capacity as CEO, Daniel engaged with key members of MTN Nigeria’s executive team. He also met with members of the media, where he confidently discussed key initiatives, including the unveiling of additional mPulse education data bundles.

Adia Sowho, Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria reflected on the significance of the initiative, saying, “We are delighted to recognise Daniel’s hard-earned victory. His success is a collective triumph for his family, his school, his teachers, and all of us who believe in the power of education.

Daniel, who out-spelled over 30,000 participants in the MTN mPulse spelling bee, attends the same school as last year’s winner, showcasing the school’s consistent commitment to nurturing such talent.

In addition to his honorary CEO title, Daniel was awarded a N2.5 million scholarship grant, a laptop, a smartphone, and an MTN goody bag. His English teacher and school received a N500,000 grant and modern ICT devices, respectively, acknowledging their integral role in his success.

Speaking on the day’s events, Esther Akinnukawe, Chief Human Resources Officer at MTN Nigeria, said “Today has been not only significant but also deeply inspiring. It’s heartening to see the impact of our initiatives on students like Daniel and the wider community. At MTN, we see investing in young people as a strategic investment in our nation’s future. By nurturing young minds like Daniel, we are building a generation of leaders who will drive human capital development and socio-economic growth.”

The MTN mPulse Spelling Bee is a self-development proposition designed by MTN Nigeria to promote digital literacy and academic excellence, and thus contribute to enhancing the nation’s educational sector.

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