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Pat Utomi Debate Prize For Students On Public Policy [Worth N750,000]

About the Pat Utomi Debate Prize For Students On Public Policy

Applications are currently ongoing for the 2016 Pat Utomi Debate Prize For Students On Public Policy and this competition is worth N750,000.

essay contest

The Pat Utomi Prize is designed to be an annual debate festival that shall revive and stimulate the fast eroding culture of students’ debates in campuses on government policies, programs and public affairs in Nigeria.

Each year, interested students from tertiary institutions in Nigeria shall participate in preliminaries to qualify for the grand finale scheduled to hold every 6th February alongside Prof Patrick Utomi’s birthday commemoration and annual lecture.

During the first quarter of Nigeria’s independence, tertiary institutions were known for great lectures and intellectually stimulating debates among students on different government policies and programs. Our tertiary institutions were known as a source for providing alternate and qualitative views on public affairs which government and social institutions considered in framing policy and program directions.

It is therefore no wonder that in 1976, Prof Pat Utomi as a 19 year old 300 level student of the University of Nsukka, in then Old Anambra State of Nigeria, wrote to and invited the late Amb. Joe Garba who was then Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to come for a debate in his Campus with students on Nigeria’s Foreign Policy.

Indeed Amb. Joe Garba honoured the invitation and flew all the way from Lagos to the University of Nsukka to debate and interact with students! What gave Prof. Pat Utomi the confidence to invite the then serving Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria to his school for a debate was because it was an integral part of school and students activities to engage in robust debate on national issues.

Today, that culture has been replaced with music and dance competitions, beauty pageants and lotteries. There is indeed a great need to resuscitate that culture of debating and intellectual exchanges among our students to spur a new culture of intellectualism among next generation students and leaders.

Eligibility Criteria:

Undergraduates of legally registered tertiary institutions in Nigeria, below 27 years of age.


Star Prize – N750,000.  Second Prize – N500,000. Third Prize – N250,000

How To Participate:

Step One: Record a 2 minutes video of yourself speaking on the topic “Should skills acquisition be mandatory for tertiary education?”

Step Two: Upload your video to your YouTube account

Step Three: Complete the Online Submission Form


Phase 1

Students in legally registered  higher institutions in Nigeria who are interested shall record a 2 minutes speech and submit for screening and selection. 16 highest scoring applicants shall be selected for the next phase.

Phase 2

The 16 selected debaters shall converge in Abuja for a 1 day preliminary debate on 14 January, 2016. After the preliminary debate, 4 Debaters shall emerge to proceed to the grand finale.

Grand Finale

The last round of the debate between 4 finalists shall happen on 6th February, 2016 during the CVL Annual Lecture and commemoration of Prof Pat Utomi’s birthday in Lagos, Nigeria.

Deadline for Submission : January 8, 2016.

For registration and more information, click here

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