The Word-Smiths (TWS) is the general name for the the University of Lagos Debating Society (ULDS) which was inaugurated in 2015 as the official debating society of the University of Lagos. It was then solely for undergraduates of the university. Over time, the society grew and there was a need to widen the membership structure to harness the experience of graduates. The union was then restructured to include graduates from the University.
As part of the restructuring process, the society got registered with the Nigerian government and officially became The Word-Smiths in 2019. One year down the lane, the union has increased its membership base and has become a hub of speaking in the heart of Lagos.
The union still maintains its long time vision to be a leading debating union in Africa. That means, emphasis on quality training, creating a conducive environment for public discourse and facilitating opportunities for members remain core to the union.
If you ever find yourself studying at University of Lagos or perhaps, you were once a student, you are eligible to join this progressive union. You just have to make sure to reach out to the executive committee that are in charge of the day to day activities of the union. You can also check them out on Twitter and Instagram for more information.
The debate calendar at The Word-Smiths gets exciting every year. For now, weekly training workshops and occasional debate tournaments are internally organized for members to sharpen their debating skills. Promising members are given the privilege to represent the University in national and continental competitions. Throughout the year, members are encouraged to take part in some of the open competitions in West Africa to build themselves up.
The union is home to the Lagos Debate Open, a competition that started in 2018 and has become a household name in West Africa. Perhaps, the most important activity of the year is the Nigerian Secondary Schools Debate Championship that is hosted by the union. This is a real opportunity for members to give back their time and experience to groom the next generation of critical minds in Nigeria.
This union creates an environment for members to thrive. Thrive they did, when they won the 2015 national universities debate competition in the country. Since then, past and present members have gone on to win numerous awards in the areas of adjudication and debating across Africa. Some notable personalities have received appointments to facilitate debate tournaments in Africa including the Pan African Universities Debate Championship.
Current and past members of the union are already making huge leaps in life and contributing to Society. The likes of Nwaokoro Nzube, Temitope Ojelade, Nathan Odiase, Ayokunle Okungbowa etc. are respected names within the debating community and are also making real life progress.
After just 5 years of existence, the Word-Smiths are just beginning. Next time you are in Lagos, make a date to join one of their skills workshops. Lagos can be overwhelming and too fast paced, but hanging out with the Word-Smiths always brings a sense of clarity and deep understanding to the complexities of this world.
©Debate Union Series 2020