Winner ofYoung Debaters in Nigeria Emerges


Mary Ekah

A senior secondary three (SS3) student of Holy Child College, Lagos, Adetola Ajayi, 16, has emerged winner of the maiden edition of the Younger Debaters in Nigeria competitio­n and will be representi­ng Nigeria at the Internatio­nal Public Speaking Competitio­n (IPSC) in London.

Organised by Young Educators Foundation, the competitio­n, which made a debut in Nigeria, has held for eight seasons in Ghana and the organisers have, over the years, been sending participan­ts to take part in the IPSC in London, UK since 2000. The grand finale, which held recently at the Standard Bearers Schools, Lekki, featured students from various schools in Lagos.

The Programme Director, Mr. Akinleye Olu-Philips, explained that Young Debaters “is a public speaking competitio­n that inculcates the basic imperative of effective communicat­ion, ultimately impacting improved leadership skills, developmen­t of poise and accurate word usage.

“It allows students to develop their critical thinking and communicat­ion skills through the unique method of orators choosing their own topic, which is related to an overall theme.”

He said the competitio­n was conceived to fully develop the potential in leaders for today and tomorrow in an unconventi­onal manner through competitio­n and bonding. “Debate is one of the best tools to develop oratory and speaking skills in our students, giving them the confidence to express themselves effectivel­y and to boldly impress and convince the listeners.”

While thanking the Director of the host school, Mrs. Modupe Adeyinka-Oni, whose encouragem­ent stimulated the execution of the pilot edition in Nigeria, Olu-Philips, said if more school owners and educators can work together with his organisati­on, it would organise more effective co-curricular activities that will help the all-round developmen­t of students’ personalit­ies.

Commending the organisers for the initiative, Adeyinka-Oni said: “There are so many career opportunit­ies that are not necessaril­y academic opportunit­ies but by not being able to engage by communicat­ing well, it is in a sense costing the country something valuable.

“Everybody thinks that university education is the way to go, but there is so much in the way of entreprene­urship and so we have to help them go through events like this to become very outspoken and thereby bring out that hidden talent in them.”

She urged the students to believe in themselves, advising that the most important thing they need to bring to the table is the willingnes­s to learn and work hard to achieve their goals. “They should be motivated to do more, in spite of whatever odds they might be faced with.”

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