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University of Calabar (UNICAL) Hosts Pan-African Universities Debate Championship (PAUDC) 2013

From Botswana in South Africa, to Ghana in West Africa; From Cameroon in the Central Africa to Tanzania, came more than 200 African youths from 23 African Universities to Nigeria for the Pan African Universities Debate Championship (PAUDC) 2013, hosted by University of Calabar (UNICAL).

The Pan-African Universities Debate Championship (PAUDC) 2013, which was hosted by University of Calabar, has ended on a high note following a 12-round debate competition which featured more than 200 debaters from 23 universities across Africa.

According to the Chairman, PAUDC Council, Kgosi Moremong, from Botswana, “this is the 6th PAUDC. It started from southern Africa which took the first hosting.”

Speaking to Vanguard Quadlife, Moremong, a final year student of University of Botswana, said “the essence of the PAUDC is to create a platform for Nigerian youths to come together to debate on topical issues in Africa. Founded six years ago, it is aimed at creating a series of innovative and critical thinking that will promote healthy debating spirit in the minds of African youths.

“In Africa, there has been that character of not getting to challenge each others’ views. But this time, we want to build up the spirit of tolerance in the minds of African youths by making them engage in intellectual debating to forecast solutions to African challenges. PAUDC is also aimed at unifying African youths under one umbrella, having the ability to tolerate each others’ cultural differences.”

Theme “Conflict, Insecurity and Good Governance in Africa”, the event started with an opening ceremony held in the Senate Chamber of University of Calabar. The Chairman and the Chief Host of the PAUDC, Prof. James Epoke, who is the Vice Chancellor of University of Calabar, welcomed the participants from various countries in Africa. He thanked God for granting them journey mercies. He equally encouraged them to summon up with the spirit of debate and be courageous because “every participant is a winner”.

The Convener of the event and also the Chairman UNICAL Senate Committee on Debate Prof. Eze Bassey said that “PAUDC 2013 is an African event which is meant for the youths and young minds. It provides an opportunity for young people to reason together, establish social relationships and learn from each other.

The debate competition went hand-in-hand with public speaking competitions. The adjudicator, public speaking Mokagbo Thobega told Campuslife that the session was needful “to develop African orators and speech presenters. We learn from each other and explore better knowledge on stage presentation.

After the first three days of serial debate, there was a debate-free day which was meant for excursion. The participants went for tour at different tourist sites in Calabar like the Marina Resort, Tinapa etc. They were exposed to different ancient artefacts, reflective of the true African heritages which were housed in the Calabar’s Marina Resort.

The debate resumed with the semi-final round which held at Main Bowl of the University of Calabar Conference Center which saw University of Botswana, Tshwane University of Technology and University of Cape Town, South Africa move to the Grand Finale.

Giving his speech during the closing ceremony, the convener of the event, Prof. Eze, said “one thing we should go home with is the unity of African students. Young Africans must be united. PAUDC must be united to help the fight against parochialism, favouritism, partiality and ethnicity in Africa. We have really showed that we have such a good identity of unity in Africa.”

Encouraging the schools that could not make it to the finals, Eze said: “those that watched the finals will admit that we saw debating in an intellectual height. Those that lost out should look out for their shortcomings and make it up for next year.”

He urged the 2014 host country to learn from the mistakes which they have seen in the 2013 edition hosted by Nigeria and do better.

Prof. Eze equally used the occasion to introduce the trophies to be won and maintained that they were redeemable at $1000 for the first prize, $500 and $250 for the second and third prizes respectively.

Also speaking, Moremong who is the Chairman of PAUDC council, encouraged all the other countries to sit up and prepare for the 2014 edition of the event.

He urged everyone to appreciate the great impacts debating is making in the lives of youths and undergraduates.

The highlight of the occasion was a cultural performance by the University of Calabar performing artists.
Awards were given out for the Best Speakers, Best Adjudicators, Best Public Speech Presenters, Best adjudicators for Public Speaking and Champion of the PAUDC, 2013.

Certificates were issued to various participating universities through their representatives and also to the various officials of the PAUDC 2013.

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