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First runner-up, Debrah Pamzar (left); General Manager, Corporate Communication, Cool FM, Wazobia FM, and Nigeria Info, Femi Obong Daniel; winner, Ruth Okorocha and second runner-up, Olamilekan Ramadan at the award presentation

Ruth Okorocha emerges winner of ‘I beg to differ’ debate competition

By Adelowo Adebumiti

After weeks of extensive debates on diverse socio-economic and political issues, Ruth Okorocha, a 14-year old student of King’s Way College, has emerged winner of the second edition of Nigeria Info’s ‘I Beg To Differ’ Students Debate Competition. The competition, which began on March 4, had hundreds of applications from secondary school students between ages 13 to 17.

It was aimed at creating an educative platform that encourages youths to hold intellectually stimulating conversations bordering on issues affecting the overall progress of the country. It was also to develop their intellectual capabilities to critically assess complex socio-economic issues that address national growth and development.

The final lap of the competition, which was aired live on Nigeria Info’s Hard Fact Show, had Ruth defeating Debrah Pamzat, a 15-year-old student of Senior College, Kankon Badagry, after debating on a socio-political topic centred around the need for people to be considered indigenes of their spouse’s state of origin. Chief Executive Officer of Cool FM, Nigeria Info, and Wazobia FM, Serge Noujaim, congratulated the finalists for their resilience throughout the various stages of the competition.

He said: “I want to congratulate the contestants who have participated at various levels in this competition. I understand that this debate tournament is a challenging one as everyone displayed brilliance throughout the diverse stages. I am, therefore, confident that everyone selected for this context is a winner. This is because providing a platform that grooms the confidence levels of teenagers, who are future leaders, is definitely one of the profound ways of securing the future of our great country.”

As such, I am confident that all the contestants have garnered experiences that will shape their perspectives on socio-political issues going forward,” he said. An elated Okorocha expressed her appreciation to everyone who assisted her in achieving the feat. She received N1m cash prize, a laptop, a Chromebook and a notebook, while the first runner-up, Pamzat received N500, 000, a Chromebook, an iPhone and a tablet.

The second-runner up, Olamilekan Ramadan from Federal Government College, Ijanikin, got N250,000 a portable speaker, and a tablet.

The debate tournament is a novel initiative from Nigeria Info that strives to develop the intellectual ability of Nigerian youths on a national scale.

 In a related development:

NLC calls for high-powered panel to address industrial disharmony in university system

Ayuba Wabba

Ayuba Wabba

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has called on the Federal Government to immediately set up a high-powered panel to deal with industrial disharmony in Nigeria’s university system. The NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said this in a recent communique he jointly signed by Emmanuel Ugboaja, NLC General Secretary in Abuja.

The communique was issued after a joint meeting with NLC and affiliate unions in the Education section which includes the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU); Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU). Others are the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU); and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).

Wabba said that the overarching objective of the meeting was to take reports on the ongoing industrial dispute cum action in Nigeria’s University system.

According to Wabba, “our concerns include the intermittent and protracted strikes and other industrial actions in Nigeria’s public tertiary education system. Non-implementation of collective bargaining agreements signed with unions in Nigeria’s tertiary education system which touch on university funding, earned allowances and other welfare issues facing universities staff are also of concern to us,’’ he said.

Wabba added that the fate of more than 95 per cent of Nigerian students, made up largely by children of the poor who cannot afford to pay the average of N1 million school fees charged by private tertiary institutions, is hanging in the balance. “Also, there are those who are currently idling away at home while the children of the rich continue with their education,’’ he said.

He, however, noted that in the light of the foregoing concerns, the meeting resolved to call on the Federal Government to immediately set up a high-powered panel. He said the panel should be made up of members with requisite mandates to resolve within 21 days the foregoing issues affecting industrial harmony in Nigeria’s university system.

“In pursuant of the foregoing resolution, the Nigeria Labour Congress would be convening a Special Meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of all the Affiliate Unions of the Congress to decide on the next line of action,’’ he said.

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