I have heard a thousand times that words are magical, mystical, and awe-inspiring. However, the thousandth applause and the millionth huzzah that shook the foundation of HSLT C proved to me and even to the deaf the truth of that statement. The debate competition, albeit, one of the myriad events slated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the prestigious Ọbafẹmi Awolowọ University College of Health Sciences (OAU COHS) came with a lot of promises and indeed fulfilled all.
The theme of the debate: A TRIPOD OF MALADIES IN THE NIGERIAN HEALTH SECTOR: Poor funding, Weak health systems, and Brain drain, poked at everyone’s mind. The battle of words, moreover, occurred between the preclinical and clinical teams with three brilliant members each. The preclinical team proposed while the clinical team opposed the motion: “Brain drain in Nigeria in the health profession is brain gain.”
BEFORE THE BEGINNING.
The event, unlike other events, had students storming the venue earlier than the time-2 pm-stipulated. The protocol members had their seats close to the entrance to ensure that students registered their names before entering the hall. The students especially, and the faculty members, filled the HSLT C to the brim. And in fact a passerby would have assumed that it was a viewing center for a world cup match.
IN THE BEGINNING.
The event began a few minutes past two with the introduction of the faculty members and the invitation of some of them to the high table. The Provost of OAU COHS: Prof. Babatope Kolawole; Deputy Provost: Prof. Bamise, and the Deans of the faculties, were all seated at the high table.
At exactly 2:18 pm, the Provost, Prof. Babatope Kolawole, gave a welcome address. He commended and lauded the attendance of the students which was above his expectation. He also urged them to attend subsequent events, especially the colloquium and the football matches coming up soon. The Deans of the faculties of Basic Medical Sciences and Clinical Sciences, Professors, Salawu, and Sowande also addressed the audience respectively.
BATTLE OF WORDS; DIVISION OF WORLDS.
The Chairman of the debate competition, Prof. B. T. O. Babalola from the department of English, at 2:31 pm announced the topic. He stated the rules guiding the competition and the time to be spent by each speaker. The first speaker from each team had ten minutes. The second and the third speakers from each side had six and four minutes respectively. Besides this, five minutes was allotted for a representative each from both sides to do a rebuttal. Dr. M. Ijadunola, and Dr. Olowookere, among others, constituted the panel of judges.
The magical first speaker of the proposing team, Agboola Stella Olanike, a part 2 female medical student, began her speech at 2:35 pm and ended at exactly 2:45 pm. She gave reasons why brain drain in the health professions is brain gain, and backed it up with the fact that physicians in the diaspora are spearheading health care initiatives in Nigeria.
The charismatic first speaker of the opposition team, Zakariyah Abdulbaqi Morenikeji, a part 4 medical rehabilitation student, came in with full force to refute the proposition team. He cited improper health care delivery; shortage of medical practitioners and trainers, and heavy workload on the few doctors left in the country, among others to oppose the motion.
The duel between the first speakers ended at 2:55 pm, leaving the audience in the dilemma of whom to support between both sides. The other four speakers, went back and forth until they split the audience into two parties. Two 400-level medical students from the faculty of Clinical Sciences: Ikotun Taofikat, and Olusola Fasoro staunchly opposed the motion. However, the two others, Oladele Joseph of the Department of Nursing and Nursing Science, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, and Afọlábí Oluwanifemi from the faculty of Dentistry vehemently proposed the motion. The debate ended with a rebuttal session from Olusola Fasoro of the opposing team, and Afọlábí Oluwanifemi of the proposing team, at 3:26 pm.
The chairman Prof. B. T. O. Babalola commended the contestants for participating, and he also urged the audience to applaud them.
Also, Ms. Damola Jaiye, who represented the CEO of the Sponsoring company, Dr. Abayomi Jaiye, addressed the audience via zoom.
The greatest motivator, and the determinant of attendance: honorable and respected Item 7, graced the audience’s mouth and tantalized their taste buds.
Lecturers Quiz: Beyond Stuff
The program also engaged our lecturers as they were quizzed on how well they know the history of OAU COHS. At first, this segment was first for lecturers, then it was made open to students. Miracle Olajuyigbe, a part 4 medical student got one of the questions right while Prof. John Okeniyi also answered a question correctly. The Provost also answered a question that no one could guess right. Finally this session ended amidst cheers as the moderators announced the impromptu debate.
THE BEGINNING OF THE END: Impromptu debate, and refined music
Two speakers voluntarily came forward to debate the topic: “Should the government fund medical education?” Amarachi Godswill Nwankwo, a part 2 medical student supported the motion while Bassey, a part 6 medical student opposed it.
The impromptu debate continued with another topic: “ The quality of education in the college is improving.” Rhoda, A part 3, Nursing student from the faculty of Basic Medical Sciences supported the motion. Ajeleti Gbeminiyi, a part 4 medical student opposed. Finally, The chairman of the competition called upon interested students to speak on the topic of the debate competition. Four students came out, and they all opposed the motion. The college band was also given the floor to serenade the audience with some refined music.
Prof. Adedoyin, the erstwhile dean of the faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, presented prizes to those who participated in the debate competition. The members of the planning committee, and those who got the quiz questions right also got prizes.
At exactly 4:45 pm, the chairman, after commending the contestants, announced the opposition team as the winner of the debate competition. The winner consequently got a cash prize of ₦90,000, and the runner-up, the proposition team, got ₦45,000.
Presentation of Awards
Rhoda and Amarachi both emerged as the winners of the impromptu debate. The members of the high table requested the cash prize for the winners of the impromptu debate be changed from ₦5,000 to ₦10,000. The runner-ups, Ajeleti and Bassey, as a result of the change, got ₦5,000 each. Moreover, the overall best speaker went to Agboola Stella Olanike, of the proposing team. Also, Afọlábí Oluwanifemi of the proposing team and Olusola Fasoro opposing team emerged as the first and second runner-ups. Contestants shook hands with the members of the high table successively.
The anchor eventually declared the event closed, at 4:58 pm after we all sang the Great Ife anthem and the second stanza of the national anthem.
I read the attendees’ hearts without ECG, and they all had the same thing running through their minds:
“This was more interesting than I expected.”
“We need more events like this that would bring all four departments in OAU COHS together”