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THE OCTAGON Partners with NMC to promote learning and healthy discussion among young Nigerians

Posted on: June 27th, 2017 by The Moderator No Comments

The first edition debate in collaboration with New Media Conference, featured 4 brilliant 11th graders representing CIS and DOWEN colleges Lekki, with the former proposing that Social Media does Enrich Education, and the latter opposing. The international debate format was employed, allowing for an interruption of the opposing speaker with remarks countering the stated arguments. The format also allowed floor speeches, providing the audience an opportunity to air their views and opinions on the subject matter without directly referring to the statements of the speakers.

It was an electric atmosphere as the audience were treated to an informative debate, by well-articulated speakers with a composure that can rival Barrack Obama. In attendance were the co-founders of the Octagon Mr Akinlabi Akinbulumo and Mrs Adaora Mbelu-Dania. Also present was Miss Tosin Ajibade, CEO of OSG communications. The team of Judges consisted of Mr Olaolu Ogundeji, Miss Chinwe, Mr IniOluwa Odekunle and Mr Jay Elone.

The debate kicked off with the moderator reading off the rules of the debate and the grading system.

The first speaker for CIS Jade Mkparu proposed that social media can enrich education, backing her statement by stating some educational benefits tied to social media, Most people are not aware that Wikipedia is indeed a form of social media as its content are a collective contribution of various peoples research and knowledge about various topical issues. Wikipedia has directly impacted millions of students worldwide. She further argued that there is a plethora of information available to students on YouTube including instructional videos, and documentaries. These videos are highly effective engagement tools that can make learning simple, practical and fun simultaneously. She rounded off commenting that, Social media is arguably an essential in these climes and proper social media education will ensure that its positive potential value will be derived from its use in classrooms.

Tekena Mac-yoroki the first speaker for Dowen College, in her opening remarks responded with scenarios, positing that social media ads can be a form of distraction for students who use the platform to learn, as the average attention span grows shorter and shorter. According to her, research has shown that Social media encourages poor writing as most students forget correct word spellings, due to prolonged use of social media slangs and shorthand when chatting and commenting, this is mostly evident after the long summer holidays. Add to the list of woes cyber-bullying and various forms of online harassment, stalking, invasion of privacy and phishing as students regularly post updates about their activities and the scales are tipped in a downward movement.

In her final point, she propounded that Social media can take away the feeling of being in a classroom, as students can get sucked into the false cocoon of online notoriety, trends and virtual friends, thus leading to a breakdown in social relations, evident in loss of confidence, awkwardness and social impropriety. All this ensures that students have low tendency to ask questions in the classroom and instead rely on social media platforms to provide answers, these answers are most often the personal opinion of the writer/poster without any credible or thorough research to undergird.

Next came the supporting speaker for CIS in the person of Kofo Jolaoso, she raised two points in favor of Social media use in classrooms including the possibility of tailoring lessons to various segments of students which is made possible by the different content sharing techniques of Social media and the gap bridged between students and their awareness about their environment through varied use of photos and contents. She ended strongly emphasizing that social media is the beginning of a new era for emerging students.

Olamide Odubena the supporting speaker for Dowen college followed immediately reiterating that social media is a major source of distraction and can be termed a colossal waste of time. She also spoke on the addictive nature of social media and its tendency to detach students from the real world where valid lessons are dished out every passing minute.

The floor was thrown open to the audience and the students held varying stances on the debated topic. At this juncture the moderator Mr Damola Adepetun congratulated both teams for an excellent show of professionalism, preparedness and quality presentation.

As a round up to the event, a short presentation on social media was delivered by one of the judges. Finally the winner and runner-up were announced, with prize presentations to the participants. CIS clinched the top prize followed closely by their colleagues in Dowen college.

It was an amazing time, an eye opener into the calibre of great minds the young generation possess, the majority stating how much they anticipate another showdown in the nearest future.

The Octagon remains committed to creating this kind of experience in order to raise the general level of thinking amongst people, until solutions and changes are precipitated.

The Need for more Young People in Politics

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by The Moderator No Comments

Welcome to The Octagon.

See the profile of our guests in this Octagon room conversation.

The Octagon: We appreciate your taking time out to join this chat session which will end at 4pm. We have two moderators in the room who will only offer guidance where necessary. Please feel free to openly share your thoughts and experiences.

Let’s begin with some introductions before going into the discussion. Can everyone let us know who they are and share a bit about what they do? Thank you.

 

Kingsley: My name is Kingsley Ewetuya and I am a Project Engineer and Interface Manager in what’s left of the Oil Industry.

Ishan: Hi everyone. My name is Ishan. I’m a strategy and business development consultant. I have spent a good part of the last 11yrs working in the political sphere, more specifically in and around the presidency.

Seun: I am Oluseun Onigbinde, Lead Partner, BudgIT

Dare: Hello everyone, I am Dare Aliu, I am a power Engr. Team Lead of power at Honeywell group and EA to the chairman. I am passionate about the possibility of a Nigeria where things actually work . I have narrowed that passion to seeing the power sector work.

Banks: My name is Bamikole Omishore, better known as Banks. Special Assistant on New Media and Advocacy to Senate President. Strategist by volition . Been working with Senator Saraki for 5 years. I like to think of my self more as a serial investor.

Gbenga: I’m Gbenga Olorunpomi. A Digital Marketer and political animal. I currently serve at the pleasure of the Kogi State Governor as his Senior Special Assistant on New Media. I’m an incurable optimist and a lover of innovation and dancing.

Tega: I’m O’tega, a passionate Nigerian citizen who tries to know a bit about everything. I’m currently the Group Head for Corporate Communications at one of Nigeria’s largest homegrown conglomerates, BUA Group.

Mark Amaza: *

 

The Octagon: Thanks for the introduction.

Having been taught that democracy is “government of the people, by the people and for the people”, one of the major challenges facing democracy this century is how to translate citizen demands into responsive and accountable politics.

Young people between the ages of 15 and 25 constitute a fifth of the world’s population and yet decreasing levels of youth participation in elections and shrinking membership in political parties. Surveys have shown that whilst trust of government is low, trust in public services is generally high amongst young people.

Why don’t we have enough young people in Politics? Has Nigerian politics discouraged the inclusion of young people? Is It important to have more young people in government? How can we get more Young people interested in holding political office?

 

Banks: First we have to clearly define what group or who qualifies as young/youth. I honestly think Nigeria has a different definition for youth than the rest of the world.

Tega: By young people do you mean those aged 15 – 25 like you initially pointed out or are we expanding that to include those aged 25 – 35 years (or even 45 like some of our political parties’ youth reps)?

Dare: “While recognizing that member states use different chronologies to define youth, the United Nations defines youth as persons between the ages of 15 and 24 with all UN statistics based on this range, the UN states education as a source for theses statistics. The UN also recognizes that this varies without prejudice to other age groups listed by member states such as 18-30. A useful distinction within the UN itself can be made between teenagers (i.e. those between the ages of 13 and 19) and young adults (those between the ages of 18 and 32).The UN also states they are aware that several definitions exist for youth within UN entities such as Youth Habitat 15-32 and African Youth Charter 15-35.”

Gbenga: Young people will only participate in activities they find interesting, Profitable and appealing. I think the brand of politics and the quality of leadership before 2011 wasn’t exciting or inviting enough to attract the attention of young people. I don’t think we give enough credit to those who dreamt up and actualized Team Ribadu in 2010. That movement was built and sustained by social media. It had representation in every sate of the country and all the participants shared stories and encouraged each other. Many are still in touch today, 6 years after the launch of the movement. The perceived competence and incorruptibility of the man at the centre and the collective anger at the status quo ensured that young professionals gave up their time and resources to support a political cause. True, many had diverse ideologies and wanted different things but we all agreed that corruption had to go and professionalism had to return to leadership. I often imagine if we had allowed that group to grow beyond that man.

Tega: Haha. Gbenga, people must eat.

Gbenga: You’re right. Poverty and helplessness also play a role. So, what we need is a system that quickly empowers and educates the masses in the shortest time.

Seun: Poverty is a key challenge and politicians use it as leverage. This makes our politics more expensive.

Ishan: I agree with Gbenga. The short cut is a mass enlightenment campaign. The more people that are aware and knowledgeable, the more of a chance guys like you will be elected to office.

Kingsley: There are two institutional barriers to entry, that need to be uprooted.

  1. Financial: purchasing even the registration forms is independently unaffordable for most people. Even our President said he had to take a loan. We need campaign finance reform
  2. Political: Two subsets here: We have a policy of indigenization which makes it almost impossible for people to seek office in their state of residency rather than origin. That needs to go.

Also, there is no allowance for independent candidacy. This means that the political future youths are subject to the whims of party powers who simply aren’t ready to let go.

Dare: Kingsley, thanks for highlighting those two points. However I must reiterate that finance is the key factor that prevents the youth from engaging in active politics. The United States which represents the most advanced democracy has done its best limit the effect of finance in elections but still have a long way to go. Until we can reasonably separate entry into the political sphere and deep pockets, the youth will remain at the mercy of the older generation.

Seun: Our brand of politics is too expensive and does not appreciate ideas but slogan. This is why I think young people find it hard to enter politics.

Tega: Putting this issue at the doorstep of finance especially is one way we as young people ‘lie’ to ourselves and exclude us from the political process. Who says you have to be ‘elected’ to actually make your voice heard and impact felt in Nigerian politics – as an insider or otherwise?

(Continue on next page)

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