A Battle Ahead of the University’s Diamond Jubilee Interfaculty Debate

You must have heard about it, but just in case you missed it, here is the report of IFUMSA’s preliminaries ahead of the University’s Interfaculty Debate. It all went down yesterday, 5th of August, 2021, at HSLT A. And reporting are two of our very fine men: Tobi Falokun and Timi Okunola.

The main event commenced a few minutes past five. The event started with one of the representatives from the organising committee explaining the style of the debate. She stated an interfaculty debate competition would be coming up later this semester to commemorate the Great Ife at 60 celebrations. To this effect, IFUMSA has to produce its best to compete with debaters from other faculties on campus. She further stated that some debaters would make it to the next intrafaculty round and then to the final interfaculty round. The final will take place at the Diamond Jubilee Celebration. Whoever wins there will be representing OAU in an Inter-University debate competition that may come up later in the year.

The moderator then explained to the debaters that they are to pick some numbers at random, determining the topic they get to debate. When they come on stage, these topics will be read to them, and they would be given one minute to consider and gather their points with an additional five minutes to speak. 

First to come on stage was Ikotun Taofikat, a year three medical student. She was asked to speak on the topic, 

“Drug companies should not be allowed to advertise the prescription of the drug to the general public.” 

After her preparation period elapsed, she began her debate by first defining drug and prescription. She argued against the motion, stating that it is a way of curbing overdose and secondly it reduces the stress on medical personnel and then concluded her debate. 

Next was Olofinsao Charity, a 400L IFUMSite. The topic tossed at him was: 

“Examination is not a true test of one’s ability.” 

After a minute, he decided to speak against the motion. First off, Charity proceeded to discuss how examinations are veritable yardsticks for assessing students’ abilities in that they test students’ mental strength and fortitude. Moreover, he argued that exams also test and prune the time management skills of students. Furthermore, Charity argued that tests are for how well students understand the topics taught and how well they can soak in details and comprehend them. A significant point that he added was that examinations analyse how well students can organise their thoughts and ideas into intelligible words that their lecturers can deem acceptable. He said that this particular skill would prove helpful outside the classroom.

The third to mount the stage was Muoghalu Chineye, another 400L IFUMSite. The topic she had to discuss was:

“Elections are not the best tests of democracy.”

She commenced by quoting the famous Abraham Lincoln’s definition of democracy: The government of the people, by the people and for the people. It was the foundation for her next point, explaining that democracy is a collective effort, chiefly controlled by the majority, with the minority tagging along. She further highlighted that the rule of law is an integral part of an ideal democratic system. However, the crux of her presentation was her submission that Nigeria is a far cry from an ideal system. After this was her long list of “whys.” They were majorly about corrupt politicians, their irrational hunger for power, a puppet-like electoral system, the apathy of the electorate and the exploitation of their poverty, all explained in detail. In summary, she narrowed down her points to Nigeria’s scenario and how it is a sharp contrast to the saner climes of developed countries.

Olaleke Gideon, a member of the part two class, was the next to talk. His topic was quite intriguing:

“Coming to school is a waste of time.” 

He started by narrating the story of an acquaintance who is a first-class graduate and is into selling foodstuff — a victim of a failed system. Gideon buttressed his introduction by adding that the school system’s relevance doesn’t go past literacy. He explained how life is not about “what you know, but what you have to offer.” At this point, it was glaring that he was supporting the motion. His first major point was about how talent, when brushed up, is more financially rewarding than office jobs gotten by certificate qualifications. He cited famous comedians as examples and argued that their successes were based on talent and not certificates. His next major point was that the world revolves around creativity, and only brushed-up talent offers that value — the “spark” the world needs. He added that school is “stereotypic, “and is not capable of providing this value.

Abiodun Gabriel, another 200L student, was up next. His topic was: 

“Is technology going to save the world or heal it?” 

After defining the principal concept, technology, he discussed his points in favour of the motion. These points encompassed the fields of communication, medicine, and entertainment, among others. The major highlights of his presentation were the relatable and straightforward illustrations he adopted to spice up his points and the fact that he rounded off earlier than the others.

Next was Mbah, who went on stage to discuss the topic: 

“Drug addicts should be helped rather than punished.” 

He started by defining drug addiction and then analysed the topic from two perspectives: medical and moral. He added that while society considers an addict a menace, medicine considers them in need of help. He highlighted points like cognitive behavioural therapy, administration of placebos and the use of drugs that trigger desirable effects in substance abuse cases. He rounded off on the note that helping drug addicts will reduce the crime rate and increase economic benefits, as the money being wasted on substance abuse will be diverted into something more profitable.

Adéyemí Abdullateef followed shortly after. He was told to discuss the moral justification of owning an automatic weapon in Nigeria. He opened the floor by defining the important terms and highlighted the controversiality of the “legalisation of weapons.” Lateef then opted to speak in support of the motion, backing it up by mentioning that the increased crime rate in Nigeria shows that the government has glaringly failed concerning the security of the masses. He then added that the way forward is for the citizens is to be responsible for their safety. However, he highlighted the rigorousness of the process of owning a weapon and added that only those physically, psychologically, and emotionally healthy be deemed eligible to own a weapon. These, he discussed so well that he spent more time than allotted in the process.

Jesutofunmi Adetogun was then called up and asked to speak on: 

“Should social media be banned?” 

After her thinking period had elapsed, she started her debate by highlighting some benefits and downsides of social media. She concluded her debate by saying the social media should not be banned but should be regulated for people to connect appropriately while serving its purpose effectively. 

Next was Aremu Oluwatobi, another year four medical student. He was told to speak on the topic: 

“Is cryptocurrency mining a very good means of investment?” 

He started his debate by stating his awareness of the crime around the “crypto world.” He then said that this hasn’t stopped advanced countries from embracing it, but on the contrary, Nigeria banned it. Tobi stated a few benefits of cryptocurrency and then said there is a need to adopt advanced technologies. He concluded by saying cryptocurrency investment will bring its yield, but it needs proper regulation. 

After all the debaters had concluded their debates, the moderators decided to give Ikotun Taofikat another chance. They felt her underperformance the first time was probably because she did not properly understand the debate’s modalities. She was then asked to speak on the topic: 

“Should Government continue to fund tertiary institutions or students should be funded and the institutions are granted autonomy.”

Taofikat started her debate by stating how beneficial subsidies have been to both the students and the institutions. She further argued that there would be hikes in the school fees if institutions are granted autonomy. There was also the issue that funded students may divert the funds given to them to other things aside from their education. She concluded by stating that funding done by the government is effective in regulating the fees.

In the end, the judges announced the result. Ikotun Taofikat had 61.5%, Olofinsao Charity scored 73.5%. Muoghalu Chinenye had 74%, Olaleke Gideon 74.5%, Abiodun Gabriel 80%, Mbah Emmanuel 71.5%. Adeyemi Lateef had 68%, Adetogun Jesutofunmi had the highest score with 82.1%, and Aremu Oluwatobiloba was awarded 72%. All participants were awarded a certificate of participation. 

In the end, the top six contestants will progress to the next stage. The eventual winners will represent the faculty at the Obafemi Awolowo University Grand debate to commemorate her 60th anniversary.

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