Following what many Brownites and members of ABH Literary and Debating Society described as a “ridiculous” adjudication at the semi finals of Jawwar 2018, there have been speculations that THE SOCIETY may pull out of the (central) Literary and Debating Society (TLDS) of the university in protest. The semi final matches held at the faculty of Veterinary Medicine Auditorium witnessed the contests between ABH and Tedder, Mellanby and Bello, Faculty of Technology against Faculty of Law and Arts against Education.

While the results of other matches seemed as expected, the match between ABH vs Tedder however took a dramatic turn (in what seemed a replay of JawWar2017 ) and Tedder lords were pronounced winners; a development that visibly brought tears to the eyes of many Brownites present who considered it a trample on them and a robbery of their victory. Earlier before the announcement, the chief judge and deputy Dean of student of the university, Dr Demola Lewis had come up for a brief comment on the matches (I.e. Tedder vs ABH); one he gave in a way that was noticed as quite unusual of him. He started with his usual banters like asking a speaker of faculty of education to change his suit and correcting a mispronounced word of Alufa temijuopelo (a popular speaker of the faculty of law).

Thereafter he moved to the debate in question and despite noticeable flaws in Tedder hall’s debate such as poor time management, misrepresentation (e.g. listing alcohol and tobacco as hard drugs and building their argument on it), drifting off the topic (which simply asked whether a ban on hard drugs is justified), coming back to mention an already rebutted term in the rebuttal session and using more than 2 minutes for a one minute rebuttal, he (i.e. chief judge) surprisingly did not pick on any of these. The chief judge in a way perceived to hide his personal relationship with the TLDS president who was the chief speaker of Tedder hall, referred to him saying “..and what is the name of the (Tedder hall’s) first speaker” and only remarked that save few pronunciation, it was very nice a presentation.

Perhaps in a way to also give the audience a reason to accept the result, he as well stressed the only clear point of the second speaker (for Tedder hall) and expressed how much he liked it. He however had no compliment for the side most considered the better save that one of the three rebuttals the (ABH’s) first speaker gave at the rebuttal session seemed to contradict a statement she had made in her earlier speech; a claim found not to be true on investigation.

The first speaker (Nwaezuoke Anastasia) had said in her speech that the debate was about the whether a ban on hard drugs is justified and not about it’s effectiveness so, her opponents should stick to that. While the opponents (Tedder hall) fell victim of this and emphasized their error, she came back at the rebuttal session to assert that if her opponents even argue ineffectiveness of a ban, it is due to its sub-optimal level and a stricter ban is the solution to the ineffectiveness they complain. She concluded that since they agree that there is a problem only a ban would solve, they agree that it is a necessary solution and “a solution is definitely justified”.

After the announcement, anger and gloom followed the members of ABH L&D to the hall where they had a closed meeting that extended into the early hours of Saturday. Reactions from members after this meeting suggested that a good number of the society’s orators are in support of leaving the TLDS although the leadership seems not to have arrived at any conclusion yet.

Speaking with one of the members who was visibly fuming with anger, she said
“They are treating us like trash. We’re being trampled upon. What else do they want? I feel this Jawwar is theonly thing that seriously connects us with TLDS and this is where they are treating us like distant learning students. The main goal of this society is to build public speakers not Jawwar anyways and we’re doing it without them and we can always do it without them”
Another orator of the society who sounded calmer said “we don’t know what else we would have done. We put our all into this. It is not easy to stab classes, stab postings, miss signatures in medical school only for them to treat you like that. Was it because we don’t have a TLDS president in ABH or because we’re not friends with most of the judges? It is bad and sadly we cannot do anything”
Another orator who seemed so disgusted also lamented, “How will you ask uncle Demola to judge Sadik? It is like asking me to judge my son in a competition that was well contested and expecting him not to win”

The famous speaker of the society and a Journalist, Ridwan Ojewale, was also present at the meeting. After the meeting, looking depressed and sad, he said “Tedder is good, Sadik is a great speaker and I have lots of respect for him, his second speaker also did well but I mean we won that debate! To God who made me, we won. We invested so much, we put so much at stake and this is how it turned out. Although, we’re confident enough to ask that renowned public speaking judges from outside UI be invited to review that debate. If only Tedder can also be this confident. It’s no problem, even if it turned out this way, we know what we are worth and everyone knows that we are not boasting. It’s just personally unfortunate that it’s my last chance at Jawwar, I wanted Bello so badly, I wanted to give my last and best performance but sadly, this is what I’ll remember Jawwar for”
Asking about the idea of leaving TLDS, he said, “Nothing is concluded yet. Some orators were of that opinion. We’ll have our meeting in like two weeks time and we’ll decide based on what our orators say”

Nwaezuoke Anastasia and Dibia Ernesto represented ABH at the semi finals. The former was the most outstanding speaker at the 2017 edition and the latter made his debut (originally set for the first round but delayed due to illness) at Jawwar with an outstanding performance. They were scored 77. 14%; an impressive one for a Jawwar debate.

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