University of Calabar to Represent South-South in National Debate

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Students from the University of Calabar will be representing the South-South at the grand finale of the Nigeria Universities Debating Championship to be held later this month, in Abuja.

The Unical students took the lead after they flaw students from the Rivers State University, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education and University of Benin at a zonal debate competition in Port Harcourt.

THISDAY at the zonal competition held at the premises of Ignatius Ajuru University, observed that the students focused their debates on politics, governance, citizenship and economy.

The undergraduates compared the influence of radical and organic economic policies and how it has affected the the nation’s economy and the citizens, with reference to removal of fuel subsidy by the President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

Speaking with journalists during the debate, Senior Programme Officer, Citizens Engagement Programme of Yiaga Africa, Anthonia Onda, said the competition was an initiative of ‘My Nigeria and Nigeria National Debate’ of Yiaga to provide the young people opportunity to meet and discuss on the Nigeria of their dream.

She said, “What we intend to achieve is to build the consciousness between young people and also build their capacity to engage in governance. We know that alot of people do not have interest and so, this will give them the opportunity to have interest in processes and participate in governance processes.”

Explaining why the zonal competition was between the four institutions, Onda said, “Schools applied, we screened and at last we are working with four schools. This is because of the schools availability based on their calendar, some were writing examinations as at the time of screening and they were not able to participate.”

On his part, Mark Amaza, Senior Communication Officer of Yiaga Africa explained that the programme was organised by Yiaga Africa in partnership with the National University Commission and All Nigeria Debating Championship, with support from Open Society Foundation.

He said Yiaga is passionate about building communities of young people who are able to do advocacy on their own in their communities.

Amaza said it was “part of a project called ‘Citizen Deliver’ where we are building the capacity of citizens to track government projects and promises, also build their capacity to be able to shape governance offcuts.”

He said the activity is targeting young people, students, enabling them have a voice in shaping public policies, citizenship, patriotism and national values.

“We have six zonal rounds taking place; we have one in South-South, North-west, North-Central, South-East, South-West and North-East. At the grand finale we will have six schools competing for the prize across the country. 

“The price will be a mix of cash and opportunities. There will be traveling opportunities, internship opportunity to build up the capacity of these young people to be efficient advocates and public advocate,” he explained.

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