I love the University of Ibadan for several reasons. One of which is due to the kind of students admitted into the institution. The management may continue to act in opposition to the will of students, but the students will never stop at making their positions known, making themselves better and uniting themselves to achieve greatness. Unlike students of some tertiary institutions in Nigeria who focus strictly on book and book alone, students the University of Ibadan are known not only for their academic acumen, but also for their intellectual percipience and social discernment.
One of the several ways Uites display their level of intellectualism is through the annual Jaw War debate competition. You can accept it, debate it, doubt it but you can never ignore the fact that Jaw War at the University of Ibadan is the largest public speaking competition in the Sub-Sahara Africa. Indeed, if there is anything the University of Ibadan is truly the best at in Nigeria, it is the public speaking abilities of her students.
When you see a set of Uites spitting out facts, with logical statements as premise, in an organised manner, spiced with punchlines and conveyed down to the heart of both judges and audience with a powerful delivery, then you need not be told that Jaw War public speaking competition has commenced. For those who are yet to grasp the full understanding of what I am talking about, Jaw War is an annual inter-hall and inter-faculty debate competition organized by the Literary and Debating Society, University of Ibadan.
The event, just like the annual Champions League, is a means of uniting Uites, across faculties and halls of residence. Moreover, unlike the Champions League which has men as its highest fans, Jaw War has both male and female students on an equal ground, as fans. For this year, the Large Lecture Theatre of the Faculty of The Social Sciences has been the venue for this mind blowing intellectual event. However, while several writers, publicists and content developers have written a thing or two about this ongoing competition, this article is aimed at raising our consciousness on the garnished myriads of surprises for which this competition has served us, as food for thought, within the first three days of the event.
IMBALANCE PROPORTION OF AVAILABLE CROWD TO AVAILABLE SPACE
If top Nigerian artistes, Olamide, Wizkid and Davido, were to perform live in a Concert within the University of Ibadan, the crowd for the concert will hardly be more than the crowd available to witness this ongoing war of words. This shows the extent at which students of this institution can sacrifice their time, comfort and other activities due to the love developed for this event. Should you be willing to have a place to seat, going to the venue few minutes to the commencement of the event would be a disastrous decision. This implies that only those who arrive about two hours before the event commences can secure a seat, others would have to stand and several others would have no choice but to leave.
This underscores the need for a better venue to be used for this event. The CBN lecture theatre would have been a better alternative, if not for the poor sound system. However, it is high time the school management gave support to this event. This is no ‘alutaistic’ demonstration, it is no act of disobedience, indeed, it is an event that makes the mind to know what is needed to be free. The International Conference Center is not too big a support for this glorious event. Students and alumni could also support this event in cash or kind, you shall be well appreciated.
The result of every performance by any speaker is the judgment made by a set of judges. This implies that these judges must be carefully selected; they must be sound public speaker themselves, with good listening skills and reasonable attention span. But it appears that some of the invited judges have been quite a shortfall to their duties. Some choose to place focus on their phones, some on their kids, and some on the reaction of the audience, thereby giving random scores to outstanding performances. The little margin between the scores of ABH and Bello Hall in the first leg, the highest score revised by Queens Hall in the first leg, among others were surprises which have met some supporters with their mouths open.
PUNCH LINES AND PUNCHING RHYMES
I once watched a video of a 2012 International public speaking competition and I observed that while speeches were well delivered and while facts and logic reigned supreme, there was little focus on punch lines. If the Jaw War is to be measured using this standard, then we shall remain local Champions, all our lives. I must state that the focus of a debate should not be about how well you can craft punch lines but the content of your debate, which includes facts and logic. Saddening, the Chief judge in the first leg was the leader of the finger snapping and “hmmmmmm” chanting process, what a surprise!
TIGHT CONTEST, RETURNING AND NARROW DEFEATS
Another surprise in this ongoing debate competition is fierce returning defeat by some Halls. At the end of the first leg, certain Halls were leading the race. The likes of Obafemi Awolowo hall and Sultan Bello hall were glad to have been in the lead. However, to the surprise of all, Kenneth Mellanby Hall and Alexander Brown Hall recovered from the defeat in the second round and also surpassed the points already recorded. This shows that you must not relent in a bid to achieve success. The contest between Kuti hall and Tedder Hall also shows the need for consistency in whatever you are doing.
FALL OF PREVIOUS GIANTS
One of the top surprises in the ongoing competition is the defeat of last year’s finalists for the halls of residence category. At Trenchard Hall, around this time last year, Kuti hall debated against Bello hall. While Bello Hall lost again for the third time consecutively, Kuti hall won the debate, moving them from the status of an ‘underdog’ to the seat of the defending champion. Unfortunately, this year’s event has taken an unexpected twist for both halls. While Kuti Hall lost against Tedder Hall, Bello Hall suffered a returning defeat from Alexander Brown Hall.
In conclusion, the contest between Kuti and Tedder hall shows the need for consistency in all we are doing. The contest between Mellanby hall and Awo hall, as well as that between Alexander Brown Hall and Bello Hall shows the need for unrelenting efforts in the course of achieving a goal. Dear reader, if you had poor results in the first half of the session, you can learn from Mellanby-Awo and Alexander Brown-Bello cases. And if you are on a high CGPA, learn from the case of Tedder-Kuti. In all, you can achieve greatness as long as you can play your cards right.
Jaw War 2017, just like its previous editions is no do or die affair. It is only a means of developing ourselves as intellectuals. Every speaker is great, it is important that we appreciate them, for it is easy to be in the crowd but takes a lot of work and sacrifice for you to stand up while mounting the podium, speak up and tell your opponents to……….
See you next week. Till then, stay focused, stay conscious.