Another unprecedented history was made at the weekend as the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ibadan (UI), winner of the 2017, 2018 and 2021 Annual Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi (SIA) Debate & Essay Competition, again emerged champion of the seventh edition of the competition, held at the Faculty of Pharmacy Auditorium, UI, Ibadan.
UI clinched the trophy and defeated the likes of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), and Lead City University in the keenly contested competition, which was sponsored by Elbe and Sun (Ranbaxy) Pharmaceuticals.
Seeking to garner maximum points through their arguments, the young scholars from the participating institutions debated on three topics- “Will automation improve job availability and improve profitability in the field of Pharmacy?; Is African youth engagement in politics the solution to leadership issues?; and Is privatisation of the education system the solution to the education epidemic in Nigeria?” They also had an oratory session on “Is youth activism empowering change against social injustice in Nigeria?”
At the end of the sessions, the judges, led by Mr Michael Barnabas, a highly decorated public speaker with over 15 top-tier national and international awards; Ms Joy Eguaoje, the current head of the Moot and Mock Society, University of Ibadan; and Mr Bolaji Olayide, a professional public speaker, declared UI as the winner of the debate competition, having garnered the highest points; while OAU came second, with the debutant Lead City University, Ibadan, as second runner-up, and UNILORIN emerged third runner-up.
In other categories, Somtochukwu Obirija, a representative of UI, won the “Best Orator Award with 70 points, while Toluwani Amao of UI clinched the “Best Debater Award with 66 points.
Also, in the category of the Essay Competition, Jonah Alidor from Bayero University, Kano, emerged the winner with the highest score, while Bola Hanifat Ande, from the University of Ibadan, and Joseph Uwem Akpan, from the University of Uyo, emerged first and second runners-up consecutively.
Explaining the criteria deployed by the judges to decide the winner of the debate competition, Mr Barnabas, the lead judge, explained that the panelists considered several factors, including number of points garnered, manner of presentation, dress code, composure, eloquence of speech, contents and comportment.
Commending the contestants, Miss Goodness Enwuchola, president of PANS UI Literary and Debating Society, said the contestants gave a good account of themselves, adding that her joy knows no bound with the successful hosting of the event, after several postponements. She noted that it took several weeks of preparation and sleepless nights to ensure that the programme came to reality.
Applauding the Patron of the initiative, Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, the President, UI PANS, Ibrahim Akinpelu, described him as a great personality who has brought so much honour to the faculty and the institution at large.
According to him, the event was not only meant to celebrate the art of public speaking but to also celebrate the person of Sir Ifeanyi Atueyi, whose support has played a pivotal role in making the event possible.
He continued, “His commitment to advancing our profession and fostering intellectual engagement within our community deserves our deepest appreciation. It is through an avenue like this that we can continue to push the boundaries of knowledge and elevate the practice of Pharmacy”.
In his short address, Pharm. (Sir) Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited, who was represented by Mr Patrick Iwelunmor, editor, Pharmanews praised PANS for honouring him with the annual contest.
“I wish to thank the president and his team for their effort to organise this competition this year, and I also appreciate the academic staff, especially the dean of the faculty, for their support. Some pharmaceutical companies supported the programme in various ways, so we really appreciate their unending love and support,” he enthused.
The contestants across the four schools at the competition, include, Sobur Muhammed, and David Adeniyi, UNILORIN; Ogherodhia Esoghene, and Ghalib Kelani, Lead City University; Toluwani Amao, Adebusuyi Olakulehin, and Somtochukwu Obirija, University of Ibadan; and Abdulquyum Efundipo, Yewande Ajayi and Oluwatobiloba Alake, Obafemi Awolowo University.
The SIA Debate & Essay Competition was launched in 2014, with an arrangement to allow the winner for each year to host the next contest.
Other personalities at the event included Pharm. Folami Balogun, a lecturer at Lead City University, Ibadan; Pharm. Chinwe Ofudi, a lecturer at the Department of Pharmacology, University of Ibadan; and Mr Adebayo Oladejo, senior reporter, Pharmanews, among many others.