12 Schools. 12 Competitors. 4 Finalists. But as always, there can only be one winner.
One of the biggest and the most anticipated event in the faculty is unarguably the National Tax Debate. This event is a debate competition that is set up by the Tax Club of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos. The event is an intellectual one set up to engage the intellectual minds of various law students from various universities in Nigeria. This year, the event hosted twenty universities and the event lasted for two days, the 29th and 30th of August, 2018. Trust the Tax Club to put up a good show and tax money to do wonders.
First off on the unofficial trilogy of events to wrap up the semester before the dreaded exams was The National Tax Debate. To be objective, the hype game for the acclaimed “Grandest Stage of Them All” did more than enough to humble the publicity of all other events in recent times. To be even more objective, it lived up to its billing. The University of Lagos has surprisingly been unsuccessful at this contest since its inception. Whether the fourth time would be the charm was left to be discovered.
On the 29th of August 2018, the preliminary stage of the Debate began, with various universities from Nigeria taking the podium to debate on their knowledge on tax. Just like how the apex predator is at the food chain, the apex predator was to be discovered the day after as the victorious university.
What would you call a tug of war between several schools to win the first prize in the Tax Debate 4.0?
Winner M1 v. Winner M6: Self assessment has proven ineffective in Nigeria.
Winner M3 V. Winner M4: Taxing illegal income poses legal and moral dilemma.
Winner M2 V. Winner M5: Tax incentives for multinational companies is an effective tool for attracting foreign direct investment and does not deplete government revenue.
Bringing the fire, hammer and iron, Winner M4 was able to forge in the minds of the audience his points and he was awarded with series of rounds of applause by the audience for his overwhelming effort. Winner M3 was a representative of our school who also performed well but the difference between an apprentice and a master always shows.
Questions &Answers: Questions were asked and those who got the right answers were awarded, and for those who failed, they were also awarded for effort.
With all said and done after a closely contested opener, the Final Round would see Team J, Team A, Team Band Team I slug it out for maximum honours at the Ade Ajayi Auditorium the day after.
– The venue was filled to the brim, almost spilling.
– The debaters interestingly made a couple of Biblical references.
– There was a spoken word performance. It’s really becoming a thing these days.
– Oyindolapo Olusesi pulled off an Edoho with the announcements. Not that we were surprised.
– Souvenirs? Not on Day One.
THE MAIN THE MAIN.
The grand finale was held at the Main Auditorium, UNILAG (God knows I have no idea the name the auditorium was renamed to. I am sure a lot of us can relate). The grand finale was slated to begin at 10:00am but we however witnessed the grand entrance of the comperes at exactly 11:33am. Well, African time.
The opening prayer was said afterwards which was followed by singing of the National Anthem which was led by the beautiful Dolapo Agbakosi. The opening remarks was then given by Hillary Odinaka, the President of the Tax Club, which followed immediately by the opening remarks of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics and Research, Professor Oluwole Familomi. He urged law students to keep up the good work and continue to try out other endeavors. He officially opened the tax debate and prayed the best team to win.
Professor Abiola Sanni subsequently graced the stage, with cheers for him from virtually every student in the auditorium, being loved by all. He talked about the need for Nigeria to move to the next level in taxation. Afterwards, Deborah Oguike, a member of the tax club, with a profound speech opened the debate competition and the comperes introduced the four finalist, Teams I, B, J and A.
To kick off the debate, Teams I and B went up against each other representing the Conservative party and the Liberal party respectively. The argument was whether Nigeria should increase the rate of Value Added Tax from 5% to 10% or leave the rate at 5%. The Conservative team argued against the increase while the Liberal argued for the increase.
Team I was on fire as his choice of words and simplicity in his argument caught the attention of spectators. He talked about how the increase in the rate of VAT will become “double wahala” for the society as it will only return Nigeria into recession.. He further explained how it will affect the producers, consumers and the economy negatively. He made us understand that the VAT system in Nigeria is poor and not everyone complies with payment, so therefore even if the rate of VAT was increased, Nigeria wouls still face te same problems and nothing is solved. Team B came on strong with is argument against Team I, explaining the need for the increase in the rate of VAT in order to increase the GDP in Nigeria. He said through this, there will be more money or the government and more money in circulation. He made reference to some countries like UK and Russia whose economies are very good because of their high VAT rate.
After Team I and B had their session, the representatives of Team A and Team J elegantly mounted the stage. Team A was the conservative party arguing against the increase of VAT from 5% to 10% while Team J, represented by our own Ilamosi was the Liberal party in support of the increase. Team A raised three major issues why the rate of VAT should not be increased in Nigeria. They include the poverty rate, the unemployment rate which are very high in the county and the recession, which Nigeria just came out from. She said with reference to the sighting of other countries with high rate of VAT, that WHAT IS GOOD FOR THE GOOSE IS POISON TO THE GANDER. Team J came up with her argument that the increase in the rate of VAT in Nigeria is the greatest source for generating revenue for the government. She referred to it as a smart choice. She said it could be done by increasing tax minimally over a period of five years and that the various Tax Laws should be amended. She also pointed the fact of the need to let consumers know that increase in VAT does not necessarily mean increase in the price of consumer goods. She quickly added that there was need to reduce the Personal Income Tax.
There was an interlude after the rounds of the debate competition for the judges to compile result. This interlude witnessed the gracious presence of the Sax Barrister himself as he lit up the stage with his maaaaaaaddd performance, after which there was a session for the presentation of awards in the following category: sponsor’s category, firm support category, alumni support category and the staff adviser category. There was also presentation of awards to the winner and runner ups for the ABIOLA SANNI ESSAY COMPETITION, Naphtali was announced the winner of the competition.
One highlight of the event was an impromptu public speech that was given to the participants of the National Tax Debate for them to win a sum of one hundred thousand naira. They all did well but Ope Sanni took home the cash price. The launching of the Tax Anthology subsequently followed this.
Finally, the results were ready. There was a winner but there was however a tie between the second and third position which happen to be between Teams J and A. a question was then posed at the representatives of the two teams in order to break the tie. Team A eventually came out third leaving Team J in second place and the winner of the grand debate was Team I. Team I was awarded with three laptops while Team J was awarded with four phones. One of the guests from her pocket decided to give the other two teams who weren’t awarded with anything fifty thousand naira each for the effort they had put into the debate. Also, another guest from her pocket gave out ten thousand naira each to the representative of each team.
NTD 4.0 will remain an unforgettable one especially in the hearts of students who we forgot to mention turned up greatly, witnessing a great turn out from students from other faculties. (I mean what else would one expect after the promise of great food and souvenirs). The crowd was however disappointed as the food tag didn’t go round. Asides from these few downsides, it was a great experience.
The program was officially brought to a close at 3:06pm. Every single minute was worth it.
NTD 5.0 is being anticipated.
GRACE AND THE GRANDMASTER!