Undergraduates from the University of Benin (Team UniBen) have emerged winners of the recently concluded Youth Leadership Debate Competition organised to raise the awareness level of the Nigerian youth towards deepening conversation around nation-building.
The announcement was made during the debate’s grand finale held during the 2022 edition of The Platform Nigeria.
The Youth Leadership Debate was supported by the Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF), a collaborative project of the MacArthur Foundation, and Ford Foundation that was implemented by LEAP Africa.
The Inter-University debate was initiated as a platform for holistic support to harness the voices of young people toward national development and provide capacity building to selected young people across tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
It served as a medium to bring young people together through constructive dialogue to mainstream their voices for the realizations of the #NigeriaWeWant.
The Debate competition which kicked off in July had entries from 40 tertiary institutions across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria. Six teams – University of Ibadan, Kaduna State University, University of Benin, University of Ilorin, Ahmadu Bello University, Gregory University, based on clarity of argument, presentation style, pace and precision of arguments successfully scaled to the semi-finals out of 341 initial entries and, only two teams – Ahmadu Bello University and the University of Benin competed in the grand finale at the Platform Nigeria.
Opeyemi Oriniowo, the NYFF Project Lead, stated that the success of the debate reflects the unbreakable spirit of Nigerian youth, especially young people in tertiary institutions.
According to Oriniowo, Nigerian youth are rising above the unfortunate prolonged ASUU strike to ensure that their voices are heard while seeking every avenue to contribute to nation building. He stated that Nigeria and its leadership need to be better for the young people whose futures are at stake.
He also acknowledged the investment of the 3 institutions behind NYFF; MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation and LEAP Africa who have made the resources available to support and enable young people in Nigeria for Leadership, Activism and Social Change.
Joy Amanabo, the senior programmes coordinator for the Youth Leadership Debate Competition, stated that LEAP Africa is proud to have contributed to raising young advocates who would confidently raise their voices for structural and policy reforms.
According to her, the participants will serve as NYFF ambassadors across tertiary institutions, thereby help in raising more youth voices. She extended appreciation to all the resource persons who have served as coaches, mentors and judges; “they have all contributed to this immense success,” Amanabo stated.
The winning team, made up of Omuera Victory Ochuwa, Fayeun Michelle Oluwaseyi, and Okoh Emmanuel from the University of Benin, while speaking on their feat expressed gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the competition.
They equally disclosed that the pre-finale residential training helped shaped their policy analysis, research, public speaking and leadership skills.
Ahmadu Bello University, first runner-up, and the University of Ilorin, the second runner-up went home with one million naira and six hundred thousand naira respectively.
(Courtesy: Business Day)