Jaw War ‘23: A Need for Re-evaluation and Improvement

By: Scissorhands

Jaw War is an event in the University of Ibadan that needs no introduction but regardless, it is a sessional interfaculty and interhall oratory competition that has become the biggest university public speaking competition in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is considered the most anticipated event in the University as no other event pulls crowds as Jaw War does.

The first day of the event was not as spectacular as expected given the hype and the amount of planning put in – the speakers and sound systems couldn’t deliver the speech to the audience. Seated in the middle of the crowd, I could barely hear anything said on the stage with the murmurs in the crowd. The lights went off, leaving the students in utter darkness and the only salve to that was the DJ leaving the music on. And the heat, oh the heat. With the large turnout of members of the University community to the event, one would expect that the organizers would provide a method ( standing fans, perhaps) to facilitate cross ventilation and get the hall aerated but even with the splendid weather caused by the rain, it was a furnace in the NFLT. 

There was also the part about the timing of the event.  Since I have started attending  Jaw War in this school,  I don’t think they have ever stared at the scheduled time of the event. An event scheduled to start by 4 pm, starting by 7 pm doesn’t in any form portray the TLDS as a body that respects the time of others. When you start an event late, you inadvertently finish late; during the faculties round, the event wrapped up close to 10 pm. We also have to be considerate of our ladies from the female hostels who lock up their gates before 10 pm. It’s important that the TLDS  executives find a way around it.  Yes, I understand that logistics could be an issue sometimes, but a repeated occurrence of starting very late since the inception of this year’s tournament is not it at all.  I want to believe the audience will understand if the event starts an hour behind schedule due to Logistics issues or the Judges coming late, but anything outside that is not being considerate of the enthusiastic student populace in any way.

It’s important to also note that the speakers performed well, and a bulk of the halls had fair grades. It’s also important to recognize the proactive efforts of the scorekeepers in making sure that all the scores were ready a few minutes after the speakers have spoken. It was observed that they were a bit slow during the second leg of the hall’s category. 

But it was interesting to witness  Jaw War live up to her name with the mind-engaging debates, intelligent bants, unforgiving audience, and the high energy from the crowd.  Despite the high energy, it was also observed that a majority of the audience only maintained decorum only when members of their constituencies are speaking but increase their murmuring and jeers when it was the opposition speaking. This is so uncultured and doesn’t show decency in any form. Dr. Demola Lewis had to intermittently caution the audience about the noise while the speakers are speaking. 

However, I  still wish more regard would be put into the ventilation of the hall and the improvement of the sound systems. Students come from all halls and all faculties to this event to be entertained in an intellectual manner, but it defeats the purpose of the event when the audience can’t hear the speeches presented. It could even be considered insulting to the speakers themselves, given the amount of time and energy spent in preparation for those cherished minutes. It is also my hope that the students would listen to the hosts of the event and stick to the recommended ¹methods of approval and cheer to reduce and curb rowdiness and provide an enjoyable evening for everyone present. 

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