By Emmanuel Edukugho
Intended to provide a training ground for students and create a pool of talented and intelligent students who can represent the university and eventually the country anywhere in the world, according to Professor H.O.D. Longe, Dean of Student Affairs, in his welcome address, there was an academic debate amongst students of University of Lagos recently at the multi purpose hall complex.

The topic was – “Economic Meltdown: Catalyst or bane to development in the developing countries,” considered as contemporary and quite relevant as the students were asked to do justice to it. And they did so.

•Prof Tolu Odugbemi, VC, Unilag.
•Prof Tolu Odugbemi, VC, Unilag.

Longe said when the debate competition was muted early this session, some people considered the idea as mundane and something meant for secondary schools.

“Yes, in the 60s, up to the late 70s, we had literary and debating societies in secondary schools. Certainly, structures have disappeared in the schools. Of course, we all know the kind of products we get from the schools today. In fact, universities now find it compelling to add some courses such as “Use of English’ to make up for observed inadequacies in English language.”

On the high table were the Dean, Social Sciences, Prof. Tunde Makanju who represented the Vice Chancellor, Prof. V. Owhotu, Chairman of Judges, Prof. Toyin Ogundipe, Dean School of Postgraduate Studies, former Dean of Law, Prof. C.K. Agomo, there was a representative of Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye, and the Dean, Student Affairs, prof. Longe.

Others were Deputy Bursar, and HOD, Dr. Alabi Sholeye, and Chief (Mrs) K. Odeyemi.
The speakers who are students from different departments and faculties were grouped into two — Group A and Group B. Group A speakers were in favour of the topic, while Group B against.

Mr. O. Olusegun, Department of Geography led Group A which included Mr. Ilesanmi Adekunle Sam of System Engineering, Mr. Shittu Oladipo, Chemistry, and Abiodun Olafisayo, Linguistic, African and Asia.

In Group B were Akodu Farida, Faculty of Law, S. Ogunbona, College of Medicine, Miss Ikenebu Mercy, Faculty of Pharmacy and Adekunle Opeyemi, Department of Quantity Survey.

Group A held that the economic meltdown is a catalyst and that the Nigerian Government should take its advantage to improve on its own economic development.

The meltdown affects foreign investment, forced developing nations to look inward in solving their development problems. The meltdown offered time for change to developing nations.

Group B who stood against, posited that the economic meltdown is a bane, not a catalyst. Stock market nose-dived due to the meltdown.

Group A believed the meltdown offered opportunity to strengthen financial institutions of developing nations and aid their foreign exchange. The agricultural sector has gained from it.

On the other hand, Group B maintained that the meltdown is not a catalyst, because it created a crisis that affects everybody — politically, social, economically and educationally. Causes inflation, unemployment.

At the end of the debate, Group A scored a total of 435 points to emerge winner. Group B trailed behind with 423 points to come second.

In his general observations, the judge said that their performances were good generally, but next time, they should try to master the subject more.

In terms of comportment, some of the speakers were quite good while others did not measure up to expectation. Their grammar seemed encouraging, but could be improved upon.

On content, the judge said that some of the students kept making their points, while others were digressing, thereby ending in time wasting.

In respect of time management, some of them could not manage time properly, and so lost marks. The judge finally summed up that all the participants were good representatives of their respective faculties.

The best speaker was Miss Akodu Farida, Faculty o Law, 500 Level. Speaking in a brief interview with Vanguard, she expressed feeling of happiness, saying, “it was great to be so honoured, for being chosen as the best speaker.”

She revealed: “I gave all of my time in preparing for this competition. The preparation was very tasking because I’ve never debated before and this was my first time.

Becoming the best speaker, I’m very glad and it serves as a stepping stone to greatness for me.” She advised her colleagues to be focus and determined to enable them come out successfully in future contest.

Second best speaker, Mr. Shittu Oladipo, Faculty of Science said the preparation for the debate was really meticulous and tedious. “I’m glad and exulted to be second best.

I would have loved to be the first best, but I still thankGod for this position. I want my mates to keep on dong their best and never  relax, they should not stop where they are as they can do better.”

Prizes were given to the best speakers, while all the participants received certificates of participation.

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