Sunday, January 19, 2014

Opportunity is not yet lost for Nigeria to get it right… Yes we still have hope!

Opportunity is not yet lost for Nigeria to get it right… Yes we still have hope!

 by - @jerrydeking

Nigeria is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producer and the world’s 15th largest, pumping out over 2 million barrels per day. Yes, one could say that oil provides ample opportunities for massive development and economic transformation, yet we wonder whether Nigerian leadership has allowed oil to be a real opportunity. Oil has netted at roughly $500 billion in Nigeria since large-scale production began in 1971—$250 billion in the last decade. Proven reserves stood at 37 billion barrels in 2010, which is the world’s tenth largest. Tracking the rising price of oil, the economy has grown significantly in the past ten years, with GDP per capita (PPP) climbing from $1,267 in 2000 to $2,365 in 2010 (World Bank 2010a).

In 1971, the share of agriculture to GDP stood at 48.23 percent. By 1977, it had declined to almost 21 percent. Agricultural exports, as a percentage of total exports, which was 20.7 per cent in 1971, reduced to 5.71 percent in 1977. The oil-boom resulting from the Arab oil embargo in 1973, affected the agricultural sector adversely in Nigeria. The economy became heavily dependent on oil. By this time, oil revenue represented almost 90 percent of foreign exchange earnings and about 85 percent of total exports. Despite the oil boom, the private sector remained weak and the austerity measures introduced by the military administration under General Olusegun Obasanjo were not effective because structural problems were not addressed. Consequently, the economy entered a recessionary phase, requiring further measures to improve the system. An opportunity lost?  Yes....
The 60s presented some cracks in the Nigerian political development and tested our readiness to manage post independent Nigeria. The country was still dealing with deep ethnic and religious divide. The perceived injustice and sequence of events that led to an increased ethnic tension and violence resulted to Nigeria civil war of 1967 to 1970.
The 70s then provided an opportunity for the total overhaul of Nigerian military and security apparatus that would deemphasized ethnic, class or religious sentiments and ensure all classes and citizens obtained positions of authority despite their origin. But it was not addressed, which played a major part in subsequent military coups in Nigerian history championed by soldiers from one area of the country; yet another lost opportunity. 
The national conference being planned this year by the Nigerian President, The Honorable Goodluck Jonathan, could have happened immediately after the civil war to reconcile all groups, address all concerns, restructure the country and address what might lead to future conflicts, but we have not been sincere with ourselves since amalgamation. Can this conference address all structural issues confronting the entity called Nigeria? It seems it was a lost opportunity in the late 70s and early 80s.

Nigeria has been patronizing western nations including the US, Japan and Korea for cars and equipment for many decades, yet the Engineers from Igbo extraction who played major roles in the execution of the Biafran war and led the manufacturing of ammunitions and armored vehicles and other inventions were never absorbed into research centers after the war. These skills were not harnessed for national development. Yet, it became another lost opportunity.

Beginning in 1979, Nigerians had the opportunity to return to democracy led by Alhaji Shehu Shagari and to address all issues that led to the wastage of the 70s.  Yet the Shagari government was increasingly viewed as corrupt and incompetent by virtually all sectors of Nigerian society.  This led to the military coup of 1984 immediately after the fraudulent general election led by Major General Mohammadu Buhari. Yet, the entry of military administration dragged Nigeria back and it became another lost opportunity.
All the Military heads of the State that seized power after Buhari, include, General Babangida who conducted the 1993 elections that was perceived as the most credible in Nigerian history, yet he annulled it despite millions of dollars spent to conduct the elections. Yet another lost opportunity.

In the late 90s, President Obasanjo was elected with support of almost all Nigerians with hope and enthusiasm that the administration will build from lessons of the past. His administration championed various initiatives including pursuing privatization policies, our foreign debts and opening up of the economy for investors especially in the telecommunications industry. Yet, issues like strengthening state institutions like the Judiciary and Police to fight corruption were not well pursued as most at the helm of affairs were accused of embezzlement and corruption.  Strategic strengthening of security apparatus in anticipation of future terrorist attacks and insurgency were not taken serious as security agencies were neither well equipped nor trained; the national ID card project was inconclusive which provided no national data to track criminals and terrorists.  Nigerians were faced with zoning and rotational presidency to the detriment of qualified citizens, which today has heated up the polity. Also an opportunity presented itself for Nigeria to readdress what happened during the oil boom of the 70s where ‘Udoji salary’ scheme contributed to our economic, yet we ran a government that makes legislating a full time job where bogus salaries were initiated in secrecy to the detriment of the economy.  Yet, we lost a golden opportunity to set a foundation.
In July 2009, President Yar’Adua hurriedly offered amnesty without an exit strategy to militants in the Delta region in the wake of militancy that affected oil exploration as a result of long years of neglect of the region and agitation for resource control. The program offered unconditional pardon and cash payments to militants who agreed to lay down their arms.   This program is about to expire in 2015 and the questions is, what next? Has Nigeria lost the opportunity yet? There is still a window of opportunity left to develop a holistic program to address the aftermath of post-Amnesty 2015.  But time is running out.

The 2011 general elections provided an opportunity for Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to put its house in order and address most challenges encountered since 1999 elections, but in the year 2013, we have not learned enough lessons to address most structural issues such as Voters’ registers not being upgraded,  permanent voter’s cards have not been issued, use of adhoc staff who lack integrity, corrupt INEC officials, electronic ballot, delineation of constituencies, insecurity in North East and in Niger delta creeks,  independent candidates and many more. INEC has requested N92.904 billion to conduct 2015 elections. The question on everyone’s lips is, does INEC have the capacity to utilize this fund and give Nigerians the best election ever? Anambra has come and gone and we look forward to states like Ekiti and Osun as another acid test for INEC. Would it be another lost opportunity?   Have we lost the opportunity yet? Still a question to be answered in Ekiti and Osun in 2014 Governorship elections.
2013 has provided an ample opportunity for African leaders to learn from the life of Late President Nelson Mandela and do away with parochial interest that leads most African countries into different types of conflicts which has affected African growth and development since colonialism.   Mandela’s life taught us that you don’t need to hold position to exert influence. For over 27 years he was incarcerated, he exerted influence from the prison walls. Over his five-year presidency, he exerted influence and won accolades.  Even after his retirement from politics, Mandela’s influence grew as a global humanitarian and philanthropist.  At death, the world stood still just for a man who is represented what leadership should be. This influence he exerted proves to us that positions and titles don’t define great leaders; great leaders define and leverage the power of their positions to have a positive impact to mankind.   Do we have such leaders in Nigeria, past or present? Nigerian leaders have this great opportunity to learn from Late Mandela and leave legacies to be remembered by upcoming generation as we approach the election year.   Have we lost this opportunity? 
Nigeria is my country and I have not given up hope yet, even with the rough waves and tides we have had so far. Let history remember those that can stand up and say enough is enough. Let history remember those that gives good counsel to our leaders. Let history remember those who laugh while millions are weeping. Let history remember those gallant Police and Army Officers who despite all odds, gave their lives for the service of this nation even without any life insurance.  Let history remember our leaders who despite the juicy temptation of staying back in power, relinquishes power for the unity and peace of the nation. You’re the Mandela of our time.   We have this year and next year as an opportunity to right all wrongs and be remembered as a great nation, great people and God’s chosen generation. Have we lost the opportunity yet? I would say we still have time...

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Popular Ghanaian Journalist Komla Dumor is dead

Popular Ghanaian Journalist Komla Dumor has died after suffering from a cardiac arrest, according to a source from BBC.

Komla Dumor who works as a Broadcast Journalist with the BBC World Service Radio/ BBC World Television and presenter of BBC Africa is reported to have died in London Saturday morning.

More news to follow shortly.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Register for Pan African Universities Debating Championship

The 5thannual Pan-African Universities Debating Championship is proudly hosted by Tshwane University of Technology at the Pretoria  Campus in South Africa from 9-16 December 2012.


 For Registration information Please contact:
Billy Sepuru                              Jan Shawn Malatjie
Tournament Convener                  Registration and IT Director
PAUDC 2012                               PAUDC 2012
Cell:             +27 83 996 6227                        Cell:             +27 73 281 9436

Federal University, Lafia, Narasara State and DEDERC enter into Agreement on Debate Development

DEDERC was invited by the management of this new federal university to assist them develop a debating culture in their college that would  help to enhance student's ability in research, communication and leadership.  This entails DEDERC providing coaching and orientation on how to establish a sustainable debate club and providing guidance to ensure debating standards are maintained.  This event was graced my the school management and students who turned out in large numbers.  During the program, they were sensitized on the value of debate to communication, opportunities and challenges and how to set up debate clubs in their university.  This event was also use to kick start our presence in the North for this school to become a hub of our programs in order to get everyone into debate which has a multiplier effect on deepening democratic principles and open society. (More information will come your way soon! Always visit here for updates on debate and youth development in Nigeria).

DEDERC to host two day Debate workshop from 25 - 26 of September, 2012

DEDERC Nigeria is set to host a two debate workshop for students interested in public speaking and debate. The training is meant for those who have never debated before and also for Nigerian students preparing for the 5th Pan African University Debating Championships in South Africa.  The event will take place at Imo State University lecture hall and the time is 10am each day.

A total of seven  universities and colleges had already indicated their interest to send in students. They are Imo state University, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Imo state polytechnic Umuagwo and  College of Education, Nsugbe.

Thanks to the Staff Advisor of Imo State University debate Union and the club members for facilitating the release of students and event venue for use.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Call for Applications: Nigerian Nationals Universities Debating Championships

Debate and Development Resource Center, Nigeria, the coordinator of Nigerian Debate Movement and University of Calabar are proud to organize Nigeria Universities Debating Championship (The Nigerian Nationals-2011) to be held in University of Calabar, on August 13-19, 2011.

This year edition promises to bring together top debate teams and student public speakers from across the country and other West African neighbors like Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Gambia and offer them all a unique chance to interact with each other and engage in fun and high intensity student tournament. This will also be a wonderful opportunity for all the teams to experience the new styles of international debating and explore the peaceful city of Calabar. We therefore invite university students as well as Secondary school students to apply for this week -long debate talent hunt: There will be a parallel tournament so as to allow both students from the universities and high schools to benefit from this tournament so as to spread the culture of debating.

The event would also bring top trainers and adjudicators from Botswana, US and UK.

Programmes: Training, Debate, cultural exposition, public speaking, conference and interactive show with leaders in business, civil society and government. This debating championship will provide a forum in which Nigeria and West African students can be exposed to new ideas, discuss a range of topical issues and be challenged to think critically. This tournament will also be used to elect members in Nigeria Debate Movement Board which will facilitate the dissemination of training materials, coordinate Nigeria Debating events and organize trainings, all to ensure sustainability and spread of debate across Nigeria.

The conference will welcome scholars and educators from diverse fields for vigorous dialogue and exchange. We intend for the conference to welcome all who are involved in public discussions and debates about different issues in Nigeria and internationally. We also expect students from the following faculties; Law, Business, Marketing and communication to seize this opportunity to learn the skills on argumentation and rhetoric, debate and critical thinking . We also expect those who are always afraid to speak in the public especially in Medical field and those in social sciences to seize this wonderful opportunity. We will be bringing international experts to handle all the sessions.

Registration: N5,000 ($33) per person for Nigerian students and $65 for international participants. This would cover all the boarding & lodging arrangements, meals for 6 days, all competition venues and transportation, social events, opening and breaking night parties, cultural expo night/talent hunt and a visit to the tourist locations. It also includes a speaker and coach training workshop for 2 days and adjudication tests. Each school can only enter up to 5 participants with a coach. Students from Senior and Junior secondary schools who completed school in the last six months and are not yet registered at a tertiary institution are eligible to participate as representative of their former school

Prizes: The winning team/school would go with the maiden Nigerian Champion of Champions Cup AND a sum of N150,000

Second place team- Sum of N100,000 and award plaque

Third Place- Sum of N70, 000 AND championship medals

Fourth Place- Championship Medal

Best Speaker- Sum of N20,000 AND Award plaque

Best Local Adjudicator- Sum of N30,000 AND Award Plaque

The students would also have the opportunity to participate in a raffle draw that would qualify them win other mouth watering prizes.

Debate Format: British Parliamentary

University students and other students in higher education such as Polytechnic and Colleges of Education are allowed to apply.

Registration Deadline: First phase, May 27 and Last phase July 1st, 2011.

Registration procedures: Register Here if you are a debater and here for Non Debaterapplication forms on the website and send us an intent email to if you have any question or requesting for Bank information.

This championship promises to be thrilling, exciting and adventurous

…. Don’t miss out

200 Debaters, 1 Champion

Monday, November 15, 2010

DEDERC host Election Debate Workshop in Lagos, Nigeria on 25-26, November, 2010

Overview of the workshop:
Nigeria’s transition to democracy is wrought with difficulties characterized by a slow pace of governance reform, low level of civic engagement while ethnic and religious violence is on the ascendance. Political space is dominated by the power seekers who often resort to violence in order to secure political and financial gains. Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. It is also one of the most dangerous rights, because freedom of expression means the freedom to express one's discontent with the status quo and the desire to change it. As such, it is one of the most threatened rights, with governments - and even human rights groups - all over the world constantly trying to curtail it.

Even in the most stable democracies, public political discourse in the age of ours has not been so easy. It has been rough and tumble and sometimes it presents a potential life-and-death issue. Not so in the case of many newly-emerging democracies, many in transition from generations of one-party politics, military rule , or tribal or ethnic dominance that sideline or shout out many citizens from political participation. In some, only the outward manifestations have changed: incumbents still routinely deny or impede political opponents' access to the media or use the security apparatus to stifle dissenting views. While those who make the choice to support winners can expect to be rewarded, those who dare to support the (inevitably) losing side(s) are all too often punished by being denied access to public programs and benefits .
One avenue to engage all stakeholders in political discourse is the encouragement of would-be officeholders to enunciate and defend their platforms through participation in political debates, at both the local and national levels. The premise is that the electorate has both the right and responsibility to choose its public stewards on the basis of information on the policies and plans of contenders in an environment free of perceived (or real) intimidation.
Political debates, properly conducted, facilitate the examination of issues that are of interest to an electorate. Unlike political rallies, debates constitute a convenient platform for candidates to address issues so that viewers and listeners are able to compare positions. Similarly, properly managed debates provide less room for candidates to distort their opponents' positions as misrepresentations can be challenged on the spot.
Workshop mission
To increase the knowledge and participation of Nigerian voters by facilitating the development, organization and management of election debates between leaders of parties likely to gain representation at the upcoming Nigerian election (2011); and to create such as positive and valuable experience for voters and stakeholders to ensure that election debates becomes a permanent feature of Nigerian elections.
Workshop Design:

This workshop was designed by Election Debates; an international panel of debate experts who provide analysis and commentary on election debates. Founded in 2008 by Ray D’Cruz, author of the World Debating Rules. They have covered US (Presidential &Vice Presidential Debates, Canadian, NZ, UK and Australian Leaders’ Debates.
Organizers Responsibility:
This workshop is free to all invited participants, thanks to the support from Commonwealth Foundation. All event local logistics including feeding are covered.
Please your confirmation for this event is highly needed so as to forward to you the workshop programmes and prepare your event badge and packs. It is first come, first serve and the slots are not much and therefore highly competitive with few remaining to go. Other details would be forwarded to you once we know that you’ve sent back the workshop application form.

Friday, October 01, 2010

This house believes that early generation of Nigerian leaders were better....Let's debate!!

On October 1, 1960, Nigeria gained its independence from the United Kingdom. The new monarchy incorporated a number of people with aspirations of their own sovereign nations. Newly independent, Nigeria's government was a coalition of conservative parties: the Nigerian People's Congress (NPC), a party dominated by Northerners and those of the Islamic faith, and the Igbo and Christian dominated National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) led by Nnamdi Azikiwe, who became Nigeria's maiden Governor-General in 1960. Forming the opposition was the comparatively liberal Action Group (AG), which was largely dominated by the Yoruba and led by Obafemi Awolowo.

One thing that made these team stick together was their believe in indivisible entity called Nigeria. I know they were not perfect, there could have been some areas that were lacking. Do you think these team made the
best decision to liberate Nigeria from Britain at that point? Do you think that Nigerian people were ready to be on their
own, may be it was strange to have a new system of governance which was quite different from what they are used to? Do you think mista
ke of the past is dragging us backward. What do you suggest? And looking at the incursion of military into the polity...what went wrong?? Why have we not had it so good? Are you saying that Leaders of 60's and 70's are better? In what context are you making your case? Let's debate!!!!

Be part of Global Debate

What are the Global Debates?
Global Debates are a worldwide contest of debating and public service events. International Debate Education Association (IDEA) invites all secondary school students (age 14-19) to participate, on the theme of international migration.
The topic for debates is:
Nations of the world should increase protection of the economic and social rights of migrants.
To take part in the Contest, schools need to register on the Global Debates Website.
They will then conduct a range of activities during the twoGlobal Debates Campaigns: October – December 2010 and February– April 2011.
In addition to organizing public debates, schools can submit essays, photos, videos and organize public service events. Each activity organized by a school will be awarded points. The schools which collect the highest number of points will win amazing prizes – including a trip (with a teacher who can judge) to the IDEA International Debate Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, in July- August 2011.
For further details on school registration, activities and how to organize them, visit our website or contact theGlobal Debates Team.

Why enter?

The project offers a unique opportunity to develop life skills and participate in an international activity which matters and make change happen. People who get engaged and involved in issues are more successful in getting to college and pursuing the careers of their choice. Participating in this project will put you and your school on the map worldwide.

Not only will this initiative help you understand the issues underlying international migration, but you will be able to impact on the life of your community. Are you fed up listening to people in charge talk about what is best for you and people around you? Design your own plan, debate it with others, make it happen and let everyone know about it!

You can learn more about the problems you and people around you face and help find solutions to these problems. By debating them, organizing events to address them and informing others about these issues, you will learn how to present yourself, argue for what you believe in and how to work in a group to advocate change. These are skills that you will need in your future career, no matter what you end up doing.

The €40,000 prize fund

Win one of following the prizes

  • The top 100 teams in the Global Debates Fall 2010 Campaign get a book of their choice from the Idebate press.

  • The top 100 teams in the Global Debates Spring 2011 Campaign get a book of their choice from the Idebate press.

  • The top two Global Debate Challenge Fall 2010 Campaign entries will win a 50% fee waiver for the 2011 IDEA Youth Forum (July 19-August 1, 2011) in Istanbul.*

  • The top two teams (one international and one US) from the Global Debates Fall 2010 Campaign get a 50% fee waiver to the 2011 IDEA Youth Forum.*

  • The top two teams (one international and one US) from the Global Debates Spring 2011 Campaign get a 50% fee waiver to the 2011 IDEA Youth Forum.*

  • The top two US teams and top two international teams in the final Global Debates ranking will receive a 100% participation fee waiver and travel to the Youth Forum 2011 (economy class - participants arrange and pay for their own visas and cover any other expenses)*

*note: the prize will be awarded to a team composed of one coach/teacher and three debaters; one school cannot win more than one of these prizes; of the international teams, only one school per country can win one of these prizes.
1. Register your team and prepare yourself with the toolkit.
DEADLINE: December 15. N.B. For the Global Challenge you need to be registered by November 15!
2. Host one or more public debates on this topic:
Nations of the world should increase protection of the economic and social rights of migrants.”
DEADLINE: Between October 1 and December 15.
DEADLINE: December 15.
4. Upload the pictures and a Youtube video of your debate, as well as other points activities here.
DEADLINE: December 15
5. Do extra activities to earn more points.
PlayDecide game
Video PSAs
Participation of Elected Leaders
Service Projects
Press Coverage
Research Blog Posts
Score high on Global Challenge
Tips for debating migration
from a Concept paper by Neill Harvey-Smith, former Chair, World Debating Council.
Right now, all over the world, millions of people are on the move. Scientists, academics and business people are making international transfers. The oppressed and war-weary are fleeing their homes. Rural people are flocking to cities. Inner-city dwellers are escaping to the suburbs. Some are making a temporary move, to work and save for their family; some are trafficked against their will; others are building a new life on the other side of the world.
The public debate about immigration tends to lump everyone in a pot marked “immigrants”. Each person has their own reasons for moving, and their own story to tell. In order to understand the dynamic forces at work, we need to group people together. At the beginning you might be baffled by terminology. There are a lot of terms out there to describe people’s varied migrant journeys, like step migration, chain migration, return migration or seasonal migration. Get comfortable with this language of migration then relate it back to everyday life.


Given all the different types of migration, and the time limitations of a debate, the golden rule is: clarity, not caricature. Ensure you delineate between people’s motivations and situations. Think carefully, because the tone of your language reveals as much as the content of your arguments.
Who gets to be where and why? It is easy to make lazy assumptions about the rights and wrongs of migration. Remember that, in debates, we are less interested in what the law says than what it should say. Be clear which social and economic rights you think are being denied to the particular group you are considering – and from where you believe those rights are derived.
How will be the future be different? There is so much richness and possibility in debates on migration. One side sees the importance of protecting indigenous culture. The other calls that racism and argues multiculturalism is inevitable. One team calls for greater generosity in welcoming refugees. Another warns that the bonds of civil society will break if people no longer feel kinship with the fellow citizens. For some, an infusion of low-paid workers is the saviour of Europe’s sclerotic economy. To others, competition from outsiders is the source of defeatism and racism.