Photo Credit: ToyosiOfficial
“When you’re in Rome, behave like a Roman,” so the wisdom of old says. What it doesn’t tell you is that you must keep an eye out for those tendencies of a proper Roman that help you behave like one. And before you go Plato on us, these, really, are not always obvious. Take the insights we have compiled in this article, for instance.
Our dearest freshmen, remember the “indaboski bahose” video? That fiery preacher must have had Jaw War in mind. Because when we speak of “wars” and “fights,” no event comes close to inciting intellectual violence like Jaw War. To begin with, its organizer, The Literary and Debating Society, TLDS UI, has more than ten thousand members within its ranks. That, according to the UI Students’ Handbook, includes you. In truth, however, the core of the society’s structure comprises a network of constituencies at hall and faculty levels, which, in turn, are made up of students that actually participate. They are the War’s “foot soldiers.”
As for why it appears to be so rated, the answer exists in the structure. Jaw War is the flagship event of the TLDS and what keeps the fire burning is the competition between its subunits, the Literary and Debating Societies. Since its inception in 2014, constituencies have spared no effort in ensuring that their teams make the final and eventually clinch the trophy. However, as the competition is a fellow subject to the mystery called life, struggle does not always mean a win. Among the least reputed societies are the “Divas” of the Queen Idia Hall Literary and Debating Society, Nnamdi Azikiwe Hall’s debaters, the Queen Elizabeth II Hall, and the Great Independence Hall.
Lord Tedder Hall has won four of its seven appearances, a record that marks it as the most formidable public-speaking hostel in the university. Then there are the “Amazons” of Obafemi Awolowo Hall. These ladies have come full-circle in the debates realm. From getting shaded once as the Nazareth devoid of good, they have boldly challenged even the dominant Lords from Tedder Hall. While they have never won an edition, they are hoping to rewrite that story with a win against Tedder in the first round. Independence Hall also seems like a prospective hitter in this year’s tournament. Its constituency’s president has been unrelenting in preparing his team and, despite obvious capacity gaps in his squad, believes they have a shot.
Yet, even as Jaw War might begin to look like a messy field of jabs and untempered arrogance once you get into it, Sultan Bello Hall stands tall among them all. They are undoubtedly one of the best and rarely miss the opportunity to make that obvious. And in all fairness, the Hall was once home to Dara Olaniyan, the revered ‘Black Dragon of Public-speaking,’ Moses Olanrewaju, and Osoko Emmanuel who were outstanding movers of the audience during their time. But that pales in popularity when compared to their brief withdrawal from Jaw War in 2021. While they did return, the saga points to a deep attachment to competition on a different scale from everyone else’s.
At the faculty level, luck is a fortune that perpetually eludes the Faculty of Public-speaking, in other words, the Faculty of Law. Home to many of the university’s foremost debaters, it has somehow failed to win a single Jaw War event despite some promising streaks in its history. At the 2021 edition, it crashed out in the first round against a supposedly easy Faculty of Agriculture.
Its absence at the Tech Bilaterals last semester also does not do much to help its reputation. When it meets the Faculty of Social Sciences to settle scores in April, it would be interesting to see if it creates a different playbook or simply teases us again with its ancient one.
The Campus Best Dinner
Perhaps this is to be expected. It would hardly look good if the arguably hardest workers in the university are lacking during moments to cool off. Dinners at the College of Medicine are not like the gathering of your regular faculty. They come with themes, phenomenal publicity, and attendee outfits that make you consider whether medical students are truly nerds. Some remarkable outings range from a Game of Thrones-themed event, a romance-laden occasion in the last session, and an upcoming “Night in Zamunda,” publicized with characters straight out of a fashion magazine. The twist? It doesn’t come cheap. As you expect an invite from that prospect in Alexander Brown Hall, also be certain that your purse can endure more than a little dip.
The FOPA Awards
Maybe you don’t like them. Maybe you do not think that awards should form the motivating factor for a cause. Awesome. Zero comments. But one thing we can certainly comment on is that the Outstanding Persons Awards are some of the university’s most popular ways of recognizing your achievements. The ‘F’ in the acronym stands for ‘fifteen,’ a precise reference to the number of recipients at the ceremony. FOPA is organized by the UI arm of the Junior Chamber International, a body that stylizes as a hub for training young leaders.
It fits into a far more robust global network that spans a hundred and fifteen countries and a national one comprising thousands of members. The fifteen categories awarded by the campus organization include everything from notable humanitarian service to leadership and academic excellence. If you saw its flyers circulating in recent times, it is likely because an acquaintance figured they might have a winning chance and would enjoy your nomination. This year, if they’re lucky to win, they will be stepping up to a stage configured with all the pomp and pageantry of the branch’s 25-year anniversary.
Armoury of Words
When it comes to organizing spectacular public-speaking events, the TLDS lacks a monopoly of that title. Although it is one out of the different competitions organized by constituencies, Armoury of Words by the Sultan Bello Hall Literary and Debating Society is easily the most anticipated after Jaw War. What stands it apart includes the invitation of the top-rated speaker from each hall to an oratory and the debates between military-like squads in its society.
For the audience, it is a chance to witness the best speakers in the university in usual form. Jaw War might have an additional effect on expectations for those speakers as the competition will likely hold after the campus-wide counterpart is completed. For participants who are going to be invited, there is an added incentive to win – organizers do not skimp on the medals. In the previous session, winners were honoured with trophies, a different standard from smaller-scale competitions.
Handovers, Hangouts, and Hangovers
These are essentially all the in-betweens that you should expect as a UIte. While they can be a lot smaller than the ones highlighted above, some will form the defining moments in your journey as a student. If you have had it good with consistency this session, you might get an early start in the leadership of an extracurricular organization. If it’s the other way round, no worries. Handovers are an avenue to get motivated and from the reviews that outgoing leaders tend to give, you learn how much better you can get.
Then there are the hangouts. We’re a little unsure whether to call this an entirely separate one. You might show up at your hangout to discover it’s a handing-over ceremony or that it’s simply one of those rare outings that are not about work. Either way, we’ve ruined the surprise. The bottomline here is that hangouts are a common way to close the session. You get to buddy up with colleagues and might even be lucky enough to see your uptight president loosen up.
And now the hangovers. These ones you get from the palmwine at the cultural and gyration nights you will gatecrash. They will happen at your hostel, your faculty grounds, and possibly at the departmental level.
Our thoughts? Take it easy.