The ABU Zaria team made up of Sadiya Mukhtar, a 300 level Biology student; Amina Jafaru, 300L Veterinary Medicine; and Usman Abubakar, 400L Medicine, and Surgery, was awarded an N1 million naira cash prize.
The first position was awarded to their colleagues from the University of Benin (UNIBEN) who got the sum of N1.5 million naira.
The debate is a component of the NYFF aimed at providing capacity building to young people across tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
The competition kicked off in July with entries from 40 tertiary institutions across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
Speaking at the finale, Opeyemi Oriniowo, NYFF project lead, said the success of the debate reflects the unbreakable spirit of Nigerian youths.
Oriniowo added that the initiative gave the youth a platform to amplify their voices amid the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
He also appreciated MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, and LEAP Africa for supporting young people in Nigeria for leadership, activism, and social change.
In her remark, Joy Amanabo, senior program coordinator for the debate, commended the resource persons who made the program a success.
In an exclusive chat with The Abusites, the ABU team expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the competition.
“We are grateful to Allah for granting this to us and for guiding us all through this journey. Thanks to LEAP Africa, MacArthur Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Nigerian Youth Futures Fund. We are super thankful to the facilitators, Joy Godwin, Kehinde Ayeni, Amabelle Nkwakanma, Hope Obamwonyi, the onsite staff, Bashir Umar, and Ijeoma Kalu, our amazing mentor, Katherine Ohiaeri, and our coach, Ahmed Umar.
“The Youth Leadership Debate Competition organized by Leap Africa and Nigeria Youth Futures Fund gave power to our voices to enact change and transform our country into the Nigeria we want. We believe that we are not just debaters, but we are change makers. And to effect change, we need to take it upon ourselves as young people, as the hope of our nation to create long-lasting change.”
The UNIBEN team got the sum of N1.5 million naira while the second runner-up – the University of Ilorin took home six hundred thousand naira respectively.