By Sakariyah Sodiq Abubaqri

Courage summoned, neither held back nor weighed down by her previous performance, Oyo State finally clinched the award, emerged first position in the final round of grand Spelling Bee competition— an intellectual program organized by the Federation of Oyo State Students’ Union (FOSSU), Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS) chapter, in conjunction with UDUS Debate Club.

Recall that the union had organized the first round of the competition on Sunday 25th June, 2023, with the participation of nine (9) states associations on UDUS campus.

The grand final of the contest, which was held at PTF lecture, UDUS main campus on Sunday 9th July, 2023, had the attendance of eminent academic scholars, such as: Prof. Abdulganiyu Ayodele Salawu from the Faculty of Education and Extension Services (chairman of occasion), Prof. Ibrahim Shehu Sidi from the department of English and Literary Studies, Mallam Garba Ibrahim from the department of Linguistics and Mr. Sulaiman Ogunsina from Physics department.

Participation and Process

The participation in the contest was opened for state unions in UDUS to register 2 delegates each who will be representing them in the competition. According to the event planning committee, nine states registered and contested in the first round. The states are: Sokoto, Kwara, Osun, Oyo, Abuja, Lagos, Edo, Kano and Ogun. Three states were evicted in the first round of the contest, leaving the remaining six to proceed to the final stage.

However, Abuja, according to the organizers was absent in the final round and the reason for the absence of representatives from this state remained unknown as of the time of filing this report, which gives account for the record of only five qualified states.

The qualified states are: Edo, Kwara, Sokoto, Oyo and Lagos states.

Results of the Competition

“Spelling Bee” as the competition title implies, the participants were engaged on a test of spelling words ten times each, with 2 points rewarded to every word spelt correctly by the contestants.

After the trying and struggle by the contestants, the judges presented the results as thus: Edo: 6points, Kwara: 12points, Lagos: 12points, Sokoto: 6points and Oyo state: 16points, thereby, declared Oyo State winner of the competition.

Kwara and Lagos states, however, who had the equal score of 12 points were subjected to another 3rounds of Runner-up contest where Lagos won over her opponent Kwara with 4points to 2points, and declared first runner up and second runner up respectively.

Guests, Attendees Comment 

In an interview with one of the invited guests, Mal. Garba Ibrahim, a lecturer at the department of Linguistics, said that he was pleased with the event, adding that it was the like of the extra-curricula activities students should be attending more often to gain experiences, different from those known being offered by different associations in the school.

“Events like this give students an avenue to develop oneself as they learn new things,” he emphasized.

One of the attendees, Mashood Abass, a 100-level students of Education Economics said he was very happy for being in attendance.

“The event really quenched my thirst of searching for knowledge of the day. I hereby commend the organizers of this debate,” he said.

Another attendee, Abimbola Haneefat Motunrayo, a 300-level students of Primary Education, commended the organizers for the efforts geared towards organizing the event, said that it was educative and entertaining.

“I learned new words and their spelling today, words like; rotogravure, tureen, labyrinth, lilac, sleigh among others,” she analysed.

When PEN PRESS interviewed the chairman of the occasion, Professor (Chief) A. A Salawu, he gave kudos to the organizers of the event (FOSSU), advised students to indulge in extra-curricula activities like such and emphasized the novelty of the event.

“In my 45years experience of lecturing in this university, the Spelling Bee organized by FOSSU has no precedent and this define the union’s mantra (Ají sè bi Oyo laari, Oyo o se bi baba e ko kan).

Prof. Salawu added that Oyo State Students’ Union will now be emulated by other state associations on UDUS campus.

Winner Speaks

Adeola Shukroh Omowumi, the representative and ‘Gold Prize’ winner for Oyo State is a penultimate student of English Language. When interviewed by this reporter, she expressed her gratitude to Allah for the success and as well delightful by the win.

“I almost lost hope of winning at the initial stage as the word given to spell thence were mostly German and Italian- originated words which usually are difficult to spell,” she expressed.

Shukroh referred to the winning as luck and not her intelligence.

“I could say the winning was a luck and not by my intelligence because the rest contestants too are very intelligent, thus, making the debate daunting and strenuous,” she said.

“It was intended to strengthen unity among various tribes”—FOSSU President Speaks

In an interview with the President of FOSSU, Comrade Adam Adebowale Mashood, he gave gratitude to Allah for the success of the event.

When asked by this reporter about the rationale behind the debate, he said that it was intended to strengthen unity among various tribes of students on campus and as well to provide opportunity for students to academically learn new things.

“I brought the idea and was met with critics internally and externally before it was later considered as something worthy of trying,” he explained.

The president also added that the idea of organizing this debate was strongly maligned externally to the length that they were accused of making the event ‘profit making’.

“We are not after making profit, but to promote peace and strengthen the unity among students. We even reduced the registration fee from five thousand naira to three thousand naira to show that our aims is not to make money from this event,” he added.

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