University of Lagos has emerged the winner of the second edition of the #BounceCorruption National University Debate held in Abuja. This national debate which hosted 6 Universities from across Nigeria’s 6 Geopolitical Zones was supported by MacArthur Foundation to amplify citizens’ voices against corruption in Nigeria.
The debate which was held on Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 had students from Federal University of Technology, Owerri; University of Lagos; University of Benin; Bayero University, Kano; University of Maiduguri, and the University of Jos.
The University of Benin and the University of Maiduguri were eliminated in the first round, after rigorous debates and verdicts from judges. The other four proceeded to the semi-final, where the Federal University of Technology, Owerri and Bayero University Kano were eliminated; leaving University of Lagos and University of Jos to battle the grand finale. This grand finale which aired live on national television saw the two finalists go head to head on Nigeria’s political will and structure to fight corruption.
Speaking at the event, Yiaga Africa Programs Director, Cynthia Mbamalu said that the debate is designed to complement efforts by state and non-state actors in the fight against corruption by promoting zero tolerance for graft and impunity through citizen’s oversight and mobilisation. According to her, “as the group that suffers most from the effects of corruption, young people can be instrumental in the fight against corruption in Nigeria and using peer influence to spread values of transparency and accountability.”
Speaking further, Mbamalu maintained that, “it has become important to engage young Nigerians on how to fight corruption and enshrine integrity, accountability and transparency into the fabric of our society, and in our public and private sectors.”
She encouraged all Nigerians to speak out and act right, because “corruption will not budge if we do not get actively involved,” she concluded.
Also speaking during the debate, a representative of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other related Offences Commission (ICPC), Edet Ufot reminded participants that while they should do their utmost to win because there is joy in winning, and competition brings out the best in people, they should not lose sight of the main aim of this event which is to bring up a critical mass of young people with zero tolerance for corruption and who cherish integrity.
The Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Anti-Corruption, Hon. Dachong Bagos, who also spoke at the event said, “I believe that the Bounce Corruption debate organized by Yiaga Africa is the right step in the right direction in checking where we have gone wrong as leaders.”
According to him, sieving these young anti-corruption activists from Universities is the best, because now we have young people who are well equipped as they plan to journey into politics.
The Bounce Corruption National Debate is designed to give young people a platform to amplify their voices on the values of integrity, transparency and accountability.
Yiaga Africa is also working with the participating schools to establish public integrity clubs on their campuses, and will be providing technical support to assist the clubs with operations and programme development.