By Diana Omueza
Project One Nigeria, under its Project One Leadership Clubs (PLC) is seeking to revive the culture of open school debates amongst students in order to build their confidence and help them overcome the fear of public speaking in the future.
Mrs Busayo Busari-Akinnadeju, the Founder of the clubs said this in Abuja during the maiden edition of the PLC Inter-Schools Open Debate Competition.
Busari-Akinnadeju said that it was important for students to start early in addressing the fears and other barriers that could hinder efficient and eloquent public speaking as well as build confidence in relating with their peers and friends.
According to her, the PLC clubs have impacted in the students the right leadership values needed for the future and today is just a showcase of the impacts.
“Earlier in the year 2022, the Secondary Education Board gave us the approval for school clubs in secondary schools in Abuja which was a pilot project and of course we started it and we have been interacting with this students by giving them the right leadership values.
“Today the inter-school debate is an opportunity for us to bring our students together to test some of the things they’ve learned about leadership to work and to build their confidence level.
“Also today is actually a very good one for us because after inauguration of the school clubs we are able to now bring all the students together again under this platform to express themselves and canvass their position and to demonstrate their beliefs,” she said.
The founder said that there would be continuity of the inter-schools debates and more interactive programs would be introduced to also build student leadership networking amongst schools.
“Definitely this is a maiden edition and of course we are going to be having more interactive relations amongst the students from schools to schools.
“And of course we are extending the clubs to other states in Nigeria and this would keep getting better, keep improving and i believe more Nigerians will be encouraged to embrace education as the pathway to learning,” she said.
Mr Itam Nneoyi, Assistant Director, Co-Curricular, FCT Division of the Secondary Education Board, lauded the level of confidence and display of leadership prowess by the students during the debate session.
Nneoyi said that the board encourages such programs that would develop and enhance the hidden prowess of students, build their confidence as well as contribute to the total positive turnout of a student.
“We always encourage this type of programs and that is why we allowed them to participate in the school clubs creation because it builds them up and it is a leadership tailored club that builds up the students leadership skills.
“It enables them to blends well in the society and also influences their peers and friends positively.
“We pick leaders from the grassroots so that when they grow, they will not be novist in the act of leadership.
“So today it is glaring, we are happy and excited that out students can perform this way and for so many of you that don’t know.
“We in the public schools in the FCT are doing excellently well and that is why you can see the performance you have seen today.
“This is just a childs play, of course schools just resumed and the children are just trying to settle down, so what you saw here is a little of what we have and of what our teachers can produce,” he said.
He called for partnership on educational programs that would further build up students positively to take up leadership roles in the future.
Mr Bright Madaga, PLC Director of School, said that there was more to be seen from the students in the club relating to participations, public speaking and pitching as well as taking up of leadership roles.
According to him, project one leadership club since January 13th last year that it was inaugurated has been given the mandate in schools to raise this students to be leaders.
“And for us in the project one leadership club we believe that leadership is an act of learning and we consider that for us to be able to give this students a better act of leadership.
“We have to cooperate with the educational system and we”ve present ourselves as a leadership life school coupled with class education.
“We would go to this schools consistently and teach them on various leadership subjects and leadership contents and help them to be better leadership, not possibly today, but we are much concerned and our target is about the future,” he said.
Ms Agatha Oga-Ushange, the overall winner of the three debate sessions expressed satisfaction in her participation in the debate competition and her joy in emerging as the overall winner.
“Am from the prestigious Government Girls Secondary School Dutse and as our logo says “Dutse leads others follow”.
“Am very happy that as i have come here, i represented my school well and our slogan has indeed being proven to everyone here.
“I feel very good, at first when i came, i was seeing a lot of schools and many peope, but i didn’t let my confidence die and at the end of the day am very happy that i won,” she said.
She encouraged female students to take up leadership roles along side their male students counterparts and address their fears of public speaking in other to emerge successful in whatever endeavors they went into in future.
The overall winner of the debate was rewarded with the sum of #100,000 and an additional #50,000 by an anonymous sponsor, as well as $10 by one of the judges and other gifts prizes.
While the runner up was rewarded with #50,000 and an additional #50,000 by an anonymous sponsor as well as $10 by one of the judges and other gifts prizes.
While all the speakers of the debate were given #10,000 each for participating in the debate courtesy of the founder.
Participants of the debates were from Model Secondary School Maitama, Gov. Secondary School Apo, Wuse Zone-3, Lifecamp, Garki, Tundun-Wada Zone-4, Jabi, Gov. Day Secondary School Karu and Gov. Girls Secondary School Dutse.
The topics of the three debates sessions were: Do you need a title to be a leader? Does the character of a nation come from the citizens or leaders? And Does leadership have gender. (NAN)