…. as ICPC, EFCC Commends YIAGA Africa for initiative

University of Ilorin has carted home the prestigious award having emerged winner of the  #BounceCorruption Public Integrity National Debate competition for Students of Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria after beating 8 other universities in a keenly contested final. The Bounce Corruption public integrity tertiary debate grand final which was held on Thursday, May 31 in Abuja gave passionate students from various institutions the opportunity to discuss fundamental issues as regards corruption in the country and the way forward. University of Lagos were the first runner up in an intensive debate which saw, Federal University of Technology Owerri coming third as  University of Calabar came fourth. Other institutions who participated in the knockout round that couldn’t make it through the final round includes: Federal university Dutse, university of Benin, university of Maiduguri as well as a swing team who stood in for Gombe State University.

The program which targets the younger Nigerians, believes one of the major ways of fighting corruption is to sensitize the younger generations who are the leaders of today and tomorrow, about the effects of these acts.

The debate competition torch lighted fundamental issues relating to the anticorruption fight in Nigeria. Debaters were made to reject or propose motions with their various strong reasons. These motions were: “This house believes that Nigeria’s present Anti-Corruption crusade is misdirected”, “In The belief that Corruption is more of an economic than a moral matter, this house would prioritize loot recovery ahead of jail terms in cases of financial corruption”, and “This house believes that Nigeria’s present anti-corruption campaign is being compromised by political considerations”.

The competition had panelist from the Civil Society organizations, Media, two of the countries’ anti-corruption agencies(ICPC and EFCC), as well as the All-Nigeria universities debating council (ANUDC) who was chair of the panel during the debate.

Speaking during the debate, acting Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Dr. Musa Usman Abubakar, YIAGA Africa, and MacArthur Foundation for investing so much energy, time and resources to organize an anti-corruption debating competition for tertiary institutions across the nation.

Dr. Abubakar made the commendation recently through the Assistant Director, Public Enlightenment Department of ICPC, Edet Ufot, while delivering a goodwill message at the grand finale of the Bounce Corruption Integrity Debate Competition for Students of Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria which took place in Abuja recently.

The ICPC Chairman also used the opportunity to call on other organizations to emulate the noble example of YIAGA Africa by organizing similar events which he said would help to instill and inculcate the virtues of integrity, accountability, and transparency in the youths of Nigeria thereby ensuring a brighter and more prosperous future for the country.

Giving her remark, the programs manager of YIAGA Africa, Cynthia Mbamalu, stated that one of the aims of the program is for Nigerians across the state to start asking questions and demanding accountability.

She added that corruption was not an issue to be left for government to tackle alone. “It has become an issue that every citizen becomes conscious and concerned about and that is what Bounce Corruption is about,” she said.

She further explained that Bounce Corruption was also aimed at mobilizing citizens across the different states of the federation to begin to ask critical questions, demand for accountability, and lead the fight against corruption.

Mbamalu added that the best ways to mobilise citizens in the fight against corruption was to start with the young people because they are vigorous and have a major stake in the wellbeing of the nation.

“We have longer years to live, meaning that if we do not address the issues of corruption now, we will live to bear the brunt of a system that is failing,” she said.

Going forward, as part of the project objectives, Bounce Corruption public integrity clubs will be established in these various institutions. These will therefore deepen the conversations on anti-corruption in the country among the youths, with an overall objective of building that culture of accountability and integrity amongst young Nigerians. YIAGA Africa believes that the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility and that young people must begin to understand its importance and take the lead in demanding good governance and accountability within their communities and Nigeria at large.