A 14-year-old Esther Bewaji of Silversands Hall School, Lekki, Lagos, has emerged as the overall winner of the third edition of Nigeria Info’s “I Beg To Differ” Student Debate competition after weeks of extensive debates socio-economic and political issues of both national and global relevance.
The competition, which began in May 2022, attracted hundreds of applications from secondary school students in Lagos State between the ages of 13 and 17 years. This is in a bid to encourage the educational development of Nigerian youths through a highly-interactive platform that stimulates intellectual conversations around the complex socio-economic issues affecting the growth and development of the country.
The grand finale of the competition, which was broadcast live on Nigeria Info’s Hard Fact Show, had Esther Bewaji defeating Hameed Olarewaju, an SS2 student of Rainbow College Day School, Lekki, after debating on a socio-political topic which was entitled, “Nigerians Are Getting the Politicians they Deserve.”
Speaking on the successful completion of the competition, the General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Cool FM, Wazobia FM, and Nigeria Info, Femi Obong Daniels, commended the contestants for demonstrating a high level of brilliancy and resilience to pull through the various stages of the competition.
“I want to use this medium to congratulate all the contenders who have pulled through the various stages of the debate tournament. I understand it is not an easy process as you all have been challenged to stretch your intellectual capacity by debating complex socio-economic issues of both national and global importance. I must acknowledge the fact that you all have displayed an impressive level of resilience and I am confident that this debate tournament has impacted you with some positive experiences you are going to cherish as you progress in life,” he said.
Expressing her excitement after emerging as the winner of the competition, Bewaji, expressed her sincere gratitude to everyone who supported her in achieving this level of success.
“I am deeply grateful to everyone who lent a helping hand in diverse ways while I was preparing for this debate competition. I must acknowledge that it was not an easy one as it stretched my abilities in every ramification. I am also grateful to Nigeria Info for allowing me to express my opinion on national and global issues,” she noted.
Bewaji was awarded aN1 million cash prize, a laptop, and a tablet, while the first runner-up, Hameed Olanrewaju, received N500,000, a smartphone, and a tablet. The second runner-up, Qoowiyyah Wuraola Salam, an SS2 student of At-Tanzeel Schools, won N250,000, a Bluetooth speaker, and a tablet.
The “I Beg To Differ” Student Debate Tournament is a youth-led brainchild of Nigeria Info which aims to develop the intellectual capabilities of Nigerian youth, including their public-speaking skill, through the debate sessions on national and global issues.