Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The 10th All-Universities Debating Championship will hold at Veritas University, Abuja from August 27 to September 3with 230 universities in attendance.
The Coordinator Veritas University Debating Society and Chairman LOC/Tournament Director, Dr. Chukwudi Victor Odoeme disclosed that the debaters are undergraduate students of Nigerian universities; public, private, faith-based, and state-owned universities.
“We have invited over 230 universities and are hoping that they will come to slug it out intellectually. They will be debating on topics to be selected by an experienced panel and there will also be rooms for public speaking competition,” Odoeme said.
He lamented that arising from lack of sponsorship the winners will only be rewarded with trophies while the winning institution will get a certificate.
Odoeme added that although the All-Nigeria University Debating Council had approached the National University Commission (NUC) and TetFund for support they have not bought into the initiative yet.
“The conversation with NUC is ongoing but we are hoping that they will come in the future and to advise every university in Nigeria to take up debating as a core curricular activity which is one of the major objectives of the All Nigerian University Debating Council.
“Since this is a bag round for advocacy, it is good for NUC to make sure every university adopts it because of the benefits that come with being exposed at that level.
“We have also reached out to TetFund, so we are still having the discussion hoping that they will buy into the idea and understand that this is an essential part of the university and funding it will be as good as funding tertiary education in its entirety.
“We are open to have corporate sponsorships and we are glad that some of them are buying into the project,” he said.
Also Director of Development Veritas University and a member of the championship’s LOC, Rev. Fr. Dr. Martin Onukwuba, urged government to sponsor debate the way they sponsor football.
Also speaking, the current African Champion of the Pan African Debating Championship, Ochiedo Edwin Adah, said the participants would be given a topic which they are to think about and deliver on the spot.
“The essence of this is that you allow people to think on the spot. The impact of the championship is to improve the thinking process of participants. If they are going to be leaders of tomorrow, we need to have our future in the hands of those thinking,” Adah said.