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YES!

What is good for the goose may not be so for the gander – ANON

My lords, like a leitmotif in a literary work of art, Jaw War has been recurring through various stages for about a month. It has been proffering answers to global questions, and as well, been leaving some local ones unanswered. Such local questions that attack the basic fundamentals, which have got many ranting, and some, disinterested. But amidst all these chronicles of the aftermath, and parables of the dissatisfied, Jaw War 2017 has been good, regardless of how far some see it from satisfaction.

Firstly, in everything such as a competition that involves people being judged by a set of qualified individuals, it is dire certain that not everyone would win. But that is not the problem just yet. The real problem is that affected people will always never be satisfied by the results. The reason for this is not far-fetched: a man is always his best judge; he is never too far from right, even when he is apparently wrong. Jaw War as a competition has also fallen into this pit quite a number of times. Results have been contested, partialities have been presumed, and even quality of judges, doubted. However, in spite of these seeming challenges, Jaw War still stands up as an intellectual competition.

In a public speaking competition, the underlying motive is the education of the audience on certain things they may not have ordinarily learnt. A speaker brings home the concept of a topic to the understanding of the audience, such that they do not leave the arena without having learnt something. This, in fact, is what makes it public speaking: that you are not just talking, but also communicating, and that they are not just listening, but also understanding. My lords, in this area, Jaw War has done well enough. To intellectual members of the audience – not just punchline starved ones – Jaw War has, to a large extent, done justice to a number of the topics that have been entertained. From the viability of secession to the justifiability of racial profiling, things have reasonably and logically been learnt, as to “why” and “why not’s”, and this, of all things, remain vital to the intellectuality of the competition.

Furthermore, in life, there is a time for everyone to speak, a time for some to stand, and a time for others to shut. Yes! Jaw War 17 has taken many by surprise, as the usual bigwigs have found themselves gunned out of the competition in no time. Some have proved to be above the law, while some have blown the Sultan out of limelight. Dark horses have been winning in daylight, and first timers galloping towards the trophy. All these outline another essence of competition; that despite the loss of some the year before, they do not relent, but come back more prepared. This, in a way, adds more quality to this year’s competition, as such improvement from certain teams is a reflection of all-round development among constituencies. Hence, my lords, when the question is so far? Then the answer is so good.

Furthermore, Jaw War has undoubtedly received a wider publicity this year. It has featured live streaming of videos, thereby enlarging the scope of the competition’s coverage. So has it featured change of venue and environment; from University of Ibadan (UI) to University College Hospital (UCH). In fact, as light an issue as it may be, the Instagram followers of Jaw War have reached the mark of a thousand, and still counting, thereby reflecting how much appreciated it is. My lords, Jaw War has journeyed to places far and wide, and yet, the journey has been good.

In conclusion, this year’s competition may be compared with those of the pasts, and certain things may be brought out to fault the former. In fact, to fault, the Opposing Counsel may point to the relatively low turn-out at the semi-final stage, which I believe is simply because of awareness and change of venue of the preceding the stage. But even at that, Jaw War 17 has continued to answer global questions, and you can only anticipate for what the final answer is equal to on December 5.

NOT AT ALL!

“If you have no critics you will likely have no success” – Elhadj Malik Shabazz, Malcolm X.

I am elated to be a Nigerian. For me, it is a greater feeling of elation and unbridled joy to be among the crop of students of the University of Ibadan in this era. An era where many doubt the possibility of a great Nigeria. Sincerely, I must say, any iota of such inclination that ever survived till this week in me has been diffused out of me. I mean, Nigeria has a future to her name. Nigerian youths have prospect. Jaw War is a vindication to that. In fact, it is a great thing to be alive in this era.

My job today is not to appraise the Nigerian youths or the prospect Nigeria has. Neither is it to undermine the essence of Jaw War. That is no brainer. Rather, I am here to evaluate whether from the first rounds through the quarterfinal to the semi-final, the battle has been commendable; to see whether anything has been done wrong so far. Of course, only a liar would say everything has gone well thus far. Have I lied too? Why not flow with my thoughts?

Your Honour, the competition till date is still only visually present but virtually absent. Imagine, in a 21st century world where we don’t go online but live online. The coverage of the competition is below par. Save for the live streaming feature on Instagram, the original delivery of each speech is lost to the hot air in the Faculty of The Social Sciences LLT. Now tell me, the competition has been themed solutions to global questions; how can such solutions be useful when there is no one who is a someone that has seen the powerful solutions that have been proffered so far? No YouTube video is available for viewing by bigwigs, far and wide. No trending hashtag on Twitter. It cannot get bad than that.

Aside the fact that the virtual world knows little to nothing of our speakers and their speeches, the visually arena is nothing to write home about. Even though it is called Large Lecture Theatre, the venue of the competition is still not conducive for not just the audience but also the speakers. I’ve heard from people who would rather sit at home and sleep than come for Jaw War only to perspire like a noon worker. The most recurring reason is that the Hall is not conducive; I cannot afford to suffocate, they often lament. The Hall can be likened to the Brazilian Baracoon in Badagary where a room for 20 is stuffed with 100 persons. So, it is not even a case of who comes early or who doesn’t; everyone is soaked to the panties. And shall we because of solving the world’s problem absorb problems for ourselves? It cannot get bad than that.

In the same vein, the use of faulty apparatus cannot be overlooked. Of concern, however, is the Public Address System. We’ve had cases of speakers being tortured by the Public Address System. This, coupled with the audience’s vociferousness and the tension soaked podium put such speakers off balance. The rest is story because the result can be guessed. Abah, Jaw War! The arguably biggest public speaking event in Africa fa? Save for the semi-final round, the use of ‘Maintenance-thirsty’ microphone never stopped poking its ugly head. It cannot get bad than that.

Nothing would pass for not mentioning the questionable pronouncements by the Judges than injustice. Oh my! This seems to be one of the most painful part. Your Honour, we’ve had a nursing mother as the Chief Judge; a Judge who struggled between tendering her kid and listening to speakers. We need not be a psychologist to know where her attention would be more focused. We’ve had Judges whose inclination is more to a consistency than another. We’ve had Judges who were caught fingering their phones while speakers delivered their speeches. It is certain that when we have the attention of our Judges – who are supposed to be all-attentive, all-concentrated – stolen away, results would be questionable. A distracted Judge is bound to give random scores; and random scores are the aftermath of biased judgements. Jaw War 2017 has shown plethora of such judgements. It cannot get bad than that.

In addendum, each round’s matchups are usually slated for 4pm. Your Honour, never – and I mean, never – have the organizers’ 4 been 4. It is either 5 or even more. In fact, the semi-final round didn’t start until minutes past five (the exact time quite eludes me now). We’ve had the course to move from the LLT, Faculty of the Social Sciences to Faculty of Law then to FLT, Faculty of Science. We need not be told why the attendance level dropped in the last round. Perhaps Sam Wilton knew this would happen when he observed that, “there is only one boss – the customer – and he can fire everybody from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” The audience, playing the role of the customers in this context, simply spent their time somewhere else when they were met with time wastage. It cannot get bad than that.

For the records, Your Honour, I am not an agent of denigration. But to get things right, we have to put things right. And let us not be forgetful of the remark of Aristotle: “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” And I am sure we cannot afford to do any of that. Or would we? If we do, then, our condition cannot get worse than that. I bow out!

 

CONCLUSION: This column is about you; it presents the two sides of a case courtesy of two writers from different schools of thought. “Audi alteram partem” means hear the other side before passing your judgment. Take the gavel, make your decision and slam because you are the Judge in this courtroom. You can vote for the scribe whose argument you adJudge better by using the poll option below.
JAW WAR 2017 SO FAR: SO GOOD?
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