Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa State has won the maiden edition of anti-corruption inter-school debate organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for some selected tertiary institutions in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and neighbouring states.
The debate, held at the ICPC’s Headquarters had participants from the University of Abuja; Baze University, Abuja; Veritas University, Bwari, Abuja; Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State; Federal Polytechnic, Toto, Nasarawa State and Federal College of Education, Zuba, Niger State.
The participating institutions debated on anti-corruption and related issues such as Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Institutions; Preventive or Punitive Approach in the Fight against Corruption; Youth at the Forefront in the Fight against Corruption as well as Vote Buying.
At the end of the debate, Federal Polytechnic Nasarawa edged out other competitors to win the N200,000 prize money and a HP Laptop Computer.
Speaking to declare the debate open, the Chairman of ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye SAN, OFR, who was represented by a Board member of the Commission, Honourable Goni Ali Gujba, stated that the debate was one of the several platforms ICPC created to encourage capacity building, ethical re-orientation, behavioural change and positive rejuvenation, especially amongst youths.
Gujba stressed “As a mark of our unwavering commitment to the restoration of Nigeria’s time-tested and time-honored values of integrity, honesty, patriotism and human dignity, we conduct this debate and several other youth-oriented programmes among our student members of anti-corruption clubs of secondary schools and Vanguards in tertiary institutions annually.
“It is indeed a truism that no nation can grow and develop faster than its level and standards of education. Permit me to observe at this juncture that the deficiencies of our society are magnified by the fact that the youth in our educational institutions are starved of the appropriate ethical and cultural values necessary to become model citizens. This debate is a mental exercise to broaden horizons and sharpen the mind” he added.
In his welcome remarks, the ICPC’s Director of Public Enlightenment and Education Department, Alhaji Mohammed Ashiru Baba, fsi reiterated that the job of ICPC was not just to arrest corrupt individuals, but the Commission also has the mandate to mobilise the public in the fight against corruption through many of its different initiatives.
“The function contained in the Section 6(A) of the ICPC Act provides for enforcement and section 6(B) to (D) deals with prevention of corruption from happening, while section 6(E) and (F) deals with public enlightenment and education, that is mobilizing the public on and against the ills of corruption. It is under that platform and mandate that we form anti-corruption vanguards. As I am talking to you today, we have more than 2000 anti-corruption clubs in secondary schools and more than 1000 anti-corruption vanguards in various tertiary institutions across the country.”
“The main reason for setting up the vanguards is to achieve moral rebirth and rejuvenation and attitudinal change as corruption is something of the mind.”
Goodwill messages were received from representatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Connected Development (CODE), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Gender Mobile Initiative, and Step Up Nigeria. These all commended ICPC for organizing the debate saying it would serve as an avenue to empower students with adequate knowledge on how best to support advocacy in the fight against corruption.