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…