By Nwabueze Okonkwo
AWKA—OVER 1000 students drawn from tertiary institutions across the country fought the 2017 Oratory Battle with a law student of the University of Abuja, Ugo Ijeoma Ndianiefo, emerging the winner of the N1 million star price.
Ndianiefo, from Otolo Nnewi, has also proceeded to one week leadership training in South Africa for his ingenuity and prowess in oratory.
Among the stakeholders in education who watched the intellectual battle in Awka, Anambra State capital, included the state the Commissioner for Education, Prof Kate Azuka Omenugha, the Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof, Chinyere Stella Okunna, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor on Primary education, Lady Pat Offia.
Others included the Commander, Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, in the state, Mr. Sule Momodu, Deputy Registrar, GSS, UNIZIK, Ngozi Bekky Adirika, Prof Ike Odumegwu, Prof Ngozi Ezeadi, Federal Commissioner of National Population Commission, Prof Chika Muo, Prof Ogo Ibeneme, state Secretary, the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Nnamdi Anagor and Nollywood star, Dike Obi.
The intellectual war which is an annual event is the brainchild of the Rev Fr (Prof) Bonachristus Umeogu and the triplets who founded VIP-Hub Media including Ekene, Chiagozie and Elochukwu Ezeumeanya. The participants spoke on Nigeria’s qualification as entrepreneurial hub of Africa.
Proponents of the verbal battle argued that Nigeria has groomed and nurtured young entrepreneurs and have advanced the economy of Africa through its rich culture, business ideas and orientation as well as its population.
But the opponents wondered why Nigeria should be regarded as the entrepreneurial hub of Africa while only few individuals were entrepreneurs amid lack of power supply, multiple taxation among others. Finalists in the oratory competition included Akwue Chisom, Ugwu Simeon, Anidebe Collins, Nwenyi Ogechi, Nweke Chioma, Nwogo Hillary, Eze Nwakuba and Akpalankwu Alexander.
Others were Okou-Akirika Ginika, Mgbeoji Chikwelite, Ezennaya Faith, Placid Martins, Ozoani Chukwuebuka, Ugo Ijeoma Ndianiefo and Adierem Jennifer. At the end of the competition, Ndianiefo came first with 83.3 points, followed by Nwenyi Ogechi, Placid Martins, Eze nwakuba and Anidebe Collins in that order.
According to Ekene Ezeumenya, the annual event was established in 2011 as a literary Insight Network, LIN. It was a university based club that frequently organized book and poetry reading sessions and reviews for its members.
However, Prof Umeogu said that the debate was aimed at encouraging youths into constructive thinking that would make them take their destinies in their hands.
“We are seriously looking forward to seeing the future belonging to the youths; we also need youths who can wait and not be tired of waiting and youths with critical thinking who can solve the problems of Nigeria , thereby creating standards or values.
“Some people, especially the youths move with the crowd and hence, lose their vision, identity and point of view in life. We are seriously looking for a civilized future.
“If one is a leader and doesn’t care about the person he is leading, it is doom and that is why we must all strive to build a civilized society” he said.
On her part, Prof Okunna expressed optimism that the future would be better for Nigerian youths.
“I am optimistic that there is hope for Nigeria. Nigeria has great potentials but we are not utilizing it. We need Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, SMEs, to grow but my worry is that the SMEs may not thrive unless the power sector improves,” she added.