Over the past month, we spoke to several members of the Society and alumni. In the next series of articles, we will provide an insight into the LnD and the work that goes on behind the curtains.. 

In her most successful campaign in the seven years following the 2014 revival of Jaw-war, the Alexander Brown Hall Literary and Debating society is still reeking of unadulterated optimism as the 2021 edition heads into its final days. While most Brownites will fondly recall Wednesday 29th September as the day Jaw-War 2021 commenced, members of the ABH L&D society reckon that this year’s edition commenced in early-July when recruitment exercise and sorting of new intakes kicked off. After 4 months, 17 new members, 10 debates and 9 victories at Jaw-War 2021, ABH L&D society is in pole position to claim resounding victories on Monday 15th November at the International Conference Center, UI.

Although the most recent editions (2018 and 2019) have not dealt kindly with us, history recollects that ABH L&D society is neither new to fame nor victory. November 17th 2016 when the Faculty of Clinical sciences neatly dispatched the Faculty of Law in what is still remembered as a keenly contested final debate is still held dear by many.

The ABC of debating

Understanding your stance, anticipating your opponent’s perspective and doing quality research.

“The first thing that is quite important [after we receive a topic] is to research the topic so that one can understand it from all the possible perspectives. You want to understand your stance and your opponent’s stance and anticipate certain things your opponent’s would say. Also very important is to pick a perspective to your argument. At the end of the day, your perspective is the most important thing in the entire structure. If your perspective is very clear and the judges get it, the audience will likely get it and then it becomes very hard for your opponents to rebutt”; Mark Obeya explains what the first part of writing a speech for a debate is. No two debates mandate the same approach. “Some easy debates exist”; he confesses. “While debating the use of single use plastics against Indy hall in the first round of this year’s edition, we could easily anticipate all the points they will raise”

Mark Obeya

Too many hands spoil the broth is one axiom that appears not to hold in ABH L&D society. Preparing a speech for delivery requires as many hands on deck, including those of the alumni, ABH Press understands. “At the prerogative of the L&D president, particular members could be assigned to work on a speech or it could be thrown open to all members”; Dr Chinedu Nwaduru recalls. “After a speech has been worked on by a team, a first draft is presented to the house where remarks are made about the perspective applied, and the punchlines and analogies used. It’s not possible to keep track of the number of revisions or edits a speech undergoes. One thing we now try to do is to ensure that the final speech is ready in time so the speaker can begin to internalise it”; Mark Obeya responds.

President, ABH L&D

ABH press understands that there is no fixed duration to how long it takes to ready a speech. Working all night on consecutive days leading up to delivering a speech at jaw war is a routine practice. Generally, speeches get approved by the L&D society in conjunction with the alumni body through a rigorous process before it is delivered. “During the work-up, a speech draft is dissected into paragraphs and infused with facts and logic and is made relatable to the wider audience using metaphors, anaphoras, and alliterations”

Regardless of the outcome on next Monday, it is clear that the ABH L&D and her constituents have had an amazing run in Jaw War and winning both trophies would be adding two golden feathers to their cap.

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