ORIGINS AND MEMORIES: a personal tribute to the Royals XV who made The Orators Club

A week ago, on Tuesday March 15 2016, The Orators Club College of Medicine University of Lagos hosted her graduating members to a farewell meeting tagged MEMORIES – in which several people relived their memories of the origins of, and their times at The Orators Club.

Needless to say, this jolted my memory a little bit and I will therefore attempt a recount of a little bit of history here (just in case I’m the next to be injected with substance M, and lose all these memories… God forbid… lol); although the primary aim of this write up is to particularly acknowledge members of the Royals XV class without whom I doubt The Orators Club would have been nothing more than a lofty wishful thinking in the mind of a certain random fellow…
Sometime around mid 2011 I made the mental switch from writing to speaking (a switch I think technically killed my writing… perhaps) and began to sought to develop speakers/debaters to fill in what I considered was a dearth at the time – I had seen the College participate in a few debates in those years and to say the least, was little impressed with the representatives, and particularly the process of selecting those representatives… I consulted widely with a lot of folks, many of whom had shared similar sentiments but for one reason or the other never made the move but gladly spurred me on to go on and make things happen. In the course of my consultations, I came across Toastmasters International, and particularly Eagles Toastmasters Club to which I have been a perennial visitor for the past four years or so… (One day, I’ll pick up that membership form… So help me God! Amen). My exposure to Toastmasters  inadvertently led to my preference for public speaking generally over debating and that in a long way reflected in the future outlay of The Orators Club… Thankfully AMSUL came up with a debate club at about same time, and COMPSSA under our watch also reviewed the process of selecting representatives for debate contests and continued what was at that time a recent tradition of interdepartmental debates. By and large, I think the debate problem was to a large extent solved… No thanks to me!
Now to the real origins…
First the seniors…
Till tomorrow I keep asking myself where I first met Ebuwa… If anyone knows, please do tell me… But when I had the idea to start up a debating/public speaking club, she was one of the first persons I ran the idea by… and one of the few persons who bought the idea. In fact, the only member of her class to be a member of Orators Club. She went on to become my personal evaluator. Then there is Badru, a fellow COMPSSA executive at the time who apparently had similar ideas and was doing some background work already, unbeknownst to me. I remember it was Yussuf Shittu who first told me about that and his unwillingness to be a part of two different bodies running the same course… Well, getting Badru to cofound Orators Club was the easiest of tasks…
And now the Royals…
In giving honour to whom it is due, one man is responsible for the major ground work of putting together The Orators Club and to a large extent sustained its functioning for the best part of the last three years or so, and that man is none other than Zubair Abdullahi, the past Orator (president) of the club. Amongst many other responsibilities, Zubair was responsible for sourcing a significant fraction of the foundation membership of The Orators Club, and arguably the highest recruiter of members, to the best of my knowledge… Also he was single handedly responsible for the constitution of the club… like I said, amongst many other contributions that need not be relayed here… But I didn’t know Zubair from Adam… So I would not fail to acknowledge Akudo who having shared my ideas with concluded Zubair was the answer to my questions… You’ll agree with me Akudo was right! Akudo, The Orators Club says thank you for that recommendation… and we won’t forget you graced our meeting once, I think… I’ll leave out why you refused to be a member… that will remain our little secret…
A quick mention of Banji, who on his own accord after many of our planned publicity never saw the light of day, went on a personal publicity to Old Great Hall to tell part 1 students of the time about The Orators Club… this no doubt yielded its results as I myself became aware of that feat about a year later from someone who was in audience one of those days… Thank you Banji! We will pardon your forsaking us after becoming AMSUL president, but at the same time will not but appreciate your gracefully granting us usage of the AMSUL secretariat up till date… I just hope it’s now free!
To those who started with us, those who joined us along the way, those who got very busy and forsook us, those who became chickens and those who stood by us all the way… Zubair, Rahman, Yussuf, Ope, Okpe, Banji, Olumide, Chike, Tunde, Doris, Pero, Taofeeq, Mariam, Mayowa… For every time spent at The Orators Club, for every speech given and/or assessed, for every contribution either in the open or in your closets, The Orators Club says a very big thank you… and I personally appreciate every single one of you for making The Orators Club the success it is today…

The Death of Reality

I can hear the sounds… Rumbles of a city at the edge of a crumble… The people I hear mumble… Even as darkness fills the air of the evening…
The land of Ile-Eko is not new to rancor; from time immemorial, it’s been one issue or the other… Generally, the people are largely not happy with the ‘Ijoba’… But I won’t want to bore you with the history of our sordid recent past… For your information, Ile-Eko has come a long way! In fact, many members of the Ijoba have been around Ile-Eko for a while and attest that the land has seen better days… No doubt!

Now let’s get to the matter of the day.
There seems to be a somewhat silent uproar within certain circles in the land of Ile-Eko even as the people prepare to meet with the Olori tomorrow…. Yes, the meeting with the Olori: that’s exactly the crux of the matter… Or better put, the Olori wants to meet the people… Now this is even one matter of contention: is it the Olori that wants to meet the people OR was it the ‘Asojus’ that requested that the Olori meet with all the people?!? We hope we find an answer to that soon.!. But trusted sources have informed that it is in fact the Asojus that have demanded of the Olori that she must appear before the people… Okay, let’s not jump the gun. Let’s try and put things in the right perspective!
Without much ado, here goes the iroyin: some agents of the Olori, key members of the Ijoba managing the estate of Ile-Eko recently announced an increase in owo-ile, and this has sparked marked agitations amidst the people of Ile-Eko… The Asojus, led by the Asiwaju have met with Olori on this matter and expressed their displeasure and disapproval of the so called increment in owo-ile; and this they say is because there has been practically no improvements in the state of the estate in the past so many years. The fact that the estate is crowded, or over crowded for want of appropriate word to aptly describe the real state. And many more issues about the estate that words can not adequately articulate… As an aftermath of this, it is understood that the Olori has seen reason with the Asojus and as such granted an audience with every member of Ile-Eko to personally explain to them the state of things and give reasons for the recent developments…
So in this vein, the Asojus decided to call a meeting of the Ojogbons just in time before the generality of the people meet with Olori… And it was in this meeting that the Asiwaju gave a report of the meeting of the Asojus with the Olori… But I must tell you, it was a totally different ball game at the meeting of the Ojogbons… In fact, the town hall was in darkness throughout the duration of the gathering of the Ojogbons, but it would interest you to know that this was not enough to deter the Ojogbons from vociferating their ardently held views on what they think of the estate as well as the recent decisions of the Olori… In fact, I think I hear the cry of battle once again…

But as I sat out the meeting of the Ojogbons, I cannot but lament the death of reality… I tell you, reality is dead!!!

As I sat down there, I heard the Ojogbons give so many suggestions, I could see that they were very belligerent and are ready to throw caution to the wind…
In all sincerity, I think the Ojogbons are misguided… Or rather, unnecessarily unrealistic… In fact, I overheard someone say that two members of the Ojogbons were actually more or less playing politics ahead of the next change of government of the Asojus… And now there goes another witless use of urgent matters to score political points ahead of time… a recurring theme in the land of Ile-Eko in recent times, and this is quite a shame…

Not to digress too much… I really don’t want to say too much but there a few things I think the Ojogbons, and in fact the populace of Ile-Eko should be cognizant of…

So if the people refuse the decision of the Ijoba on the owo-ile for the estate, have they considered that the Ijoba can suggest that domicile in the estate is optional and that only interested indigenes should apply?!? What would the Ojogbons do in such a situation? Also, if the Ojogbons refuse to renew their owo-ile, don’t they think the Ijoba can use any means possible to evacuate them from the estate? I mean, does the estate not actually belong to the Ijoba?!? Can the people of Ile-Eko afford to ply their trade from satellite locations if it gets to that level?
For those that think a disrupt of the activities of the land is the way to go, well that does sound like a good idea among the Ojogbons but they should be fully aware of the consequences of any such actions… Can they take a cue from the fact that calendar of the Ile-Eko is already destabilized? Are they ready to spend X more years to ply their trade in Ile-Eko? The option really lies in the hands of the people of Ile-Eko. Every action has its consequence!
Then again, for those who claim the Ijoba packs them like sardine in the estate… what if the Ijoba decides to provide domicile for only a fraction such that they are not packed like sardine, but however a larger fraction of the indigenes have to ply their trade from satellite locations, would this be applauded as a positive move?!?
Oh! I think I’m raising too many questions already… But according to the Olori herself, it’s a matter of being caught between the devil and the deep blue sea… Choices have to be made anyways…
I really cannot fully exhaust my thoughts on this matter arising… Somehow I think I can preempt the answers of the Olori to many of the questions that would be asked her… Except the Ojogbons bring something new to the table… If they go in the might we all saw this evening, the Olori has an answer to all that already, and I won’t be surprised if the Ojogbons are silenced by those answers. In fact, that would actually be a delight to watch!

However, I personally think the Ojogbons and every other person should be well prepared for the approach of the Olori tomorrow…
I would personally appreciate if they can make sensible and reasonable demands of the Olori… And not whimsical vociferations like we all observed at the meeting of the Ojogbon…

I definitely would not say that the Olori should not be questioned… But she must be questioned with relevant facts… I must tell you, she knows her stuff… Truth is all the questions the Ojogbons were raising this evening have already been put forward by the Asojus to the Olori, and I tell you, she dispelled with many of them as wittily as possible… and in my own personal opinion, in all sincerity…

I sincerely wish the Ojogbons a successful deliberation with the Olori tomorrow… while I quietly mourn the death of reality!!! Adieu…