Post Top Ad

Monday, 27 February 2017

DIARY OF AN ADVOCATE (EPISODE 1 - THE BENCH WARMER) by Ebi Robert







Everyone has a story to tell about his or her life’s experiences. Some have sad stories full of some regrets and rejoicing. But no matter the nature of the story, there is always something to learn from, whether good or bad. For me, life has only begun, but the little I have experienced is good enough for me to tell little of my story. This is why I have embarked on this project. In my report concerning the success of the staging of AN EMPTY KINGDOM, I revealed that Law was never an option for me as a young boy coming up, I actually wanted to be an actor, hence my love for the theatre. But one thing I did not say is why I accepted to study Law at the end, and also having a deep passion for it at the end of the day. This Diary will reveal it all. I shall tell those who care to listen how my advocacy journey began, starting from my secondary school days to my university days.

EPISODE 1: (THE BENCH WARMER)

I attended the S.T Mary Catholic Primary School at Lagos Bus Stop in Port Harcourt, Rivers state of Nigeria, after which I attended the National Professional Secondary School (NPSS) at 218 Victoria Street, Port Harcourt where I was schooled up to the Senior Secondary 1. I was taught in my juvenile days in the hand of one James Blue who happened to be one of the best disciplinarians I have ever known in my life so far. I grew up in a place called Old Gbundu one of the most dangerous Ghetto in Port Harcourt. But for the coaching of James Blue, myself and some privileged few were guarded. My Love for Literature was James’s making. Then he use to give his pupils Lamb Tales from Shakespeare, Sugar Girl and Story my mother told me to peruse and the end of the term ask us questions which then was so difficult for us. But that difficulty trained me to fall in love with complex academic tasks as I grew with this undying love for the literary world. Hence I was not shocked when I made up my mind to be an actor someday. Early 2005, I had left Port Harcourt for Yenagoa to continue my education with my dream of becoming an actor intact. While in the Community Comprehensive Secondary School Biogbolo/Yenegue Gene, I got myself involved in all acting opportunities in School and outside, in other to improve and make my dream come through. I started acting in the Mountain of Fire Miracle Ministries teenager’s class and in school and small production houses, even to the extent of being featured in the Local NTA in Yenagoa in a Television drama series named “Search Yourself”. Despite that, I felt, I could do more, I can explore the more, drive into other aspect of academics and make my ability manifest. By Late 2006, an opportunity presented itself. Alas, I could prove myself. A debate competition that was broadcasted on NTA, Yenagoa, began. The Debate Topic about “Technology has done more harm than good”, I guess something like that. I can’t vividly remember, but I think an announcement was made in my school of which I indicated interest. By then I was in SS 2, and a bit naive. Students had to go home to do their research for and against the topic and argue at the next meeting. I was also made to be part of a group that would prepare for the topic. I was kind of tensed with much stage fright because I had never done debate before in my life. I got myself prepared and did my little research. There was this senior of ours who was asked to oppose our arguments. He was actually not a speaker though, he was just a sideway student asked to counter our very points. The day came and we all presented our arguments before the selected panel. As a first timer, I made a lot of mistakes, but it was quite okay for a learner that I was. At that point I was the third favourite and I was sure of making it to represent my school against FACIS, A Private secondary school in Yenagoa, since the debate was using the Karl Popper Format. We finished our presentations severally and at last, the Senior I spoke about whose name I can’t remember anymore, made his countering. It was after he presented his argument that the panel fell in love with his argument. Immediately, he was chosen in place of me, and I was made a BENCH WARMER, part of the team though, but to do the supporting thing like clapping hand and having the privilege of going to the Local NTA and meeting with academics. In my mind, I was like: “Can an opportunity ever come for me to represent my school and argue?” That question could not get the required answers then.
We reached the NTA premises to argue against FACIS which we did. Yes, we won. We were so happy having won a private school. This is because it is the general notion that private schools students are better than the government school students. So it was indeed big to us having beaten a school as big as FACIS. Of course, FACIS is one of the biggest and popular Private schools in Yenagoa. We were happy making it to the semi finals, but there we were full of fear because of one opponent we saw during the debate. We had seen this team argue. One youngster by name “OSUNDU BEN”, yes, I can never forget that name, OSUNDU BEN of Gate Way Success Group of Schools got us all afraid. Three schools remained with a remainder because only two schools were to go to the finals. My school, the Gate Way Group of School and S.T Mathias Catholic School were the only schools remaining. The organizers had to cast a lot and lo, my school had to face Gate Way Success Group of Schools, with S.T Mathias automatically making it to the finals.
We had to prepare. We were full of fear because of what we saw. Gate way was no good opponent at all. Although we were happy we had won a private school but here was another private school that was very good. The day eventually came and we met with the school. Our first speaker, the chosen one ahead of me argued and sat down. He was quite good but not as good as BEN who took the floor and won the heart of the Panel. Our third speaker was stammering, probably he was frightened by the level of advocacy displaced by our opponents. Apart from our second speaker that was stable, the other speakers were afraid and so we lost. Gate Way group of school had the day.
I respected the gate way Group of School so much for their outing in the competition, but I was not happy that I wasn’t part of the advocates to face Gate Way. Another opportunity would come I thought. I marked the name; I marked the face, and only hoped I meet that face again. My chances were high because by 2007, that senior of mine and other seniors must have written their Senior WAEC and left. We longed to know how the competition ended, whether Gate Way won or Mathias did, although we didn’t see S.T Mathias Karl popper debate, Gate Way Success would flaw S.T Mathias so I thought, and indeed they did. A friend I met from S.T. Matthias told me.
STAR ADVOCATE OF THE EPISODE – OSUNDU BEN
Osundu Ben was feared so much because of his Eloquence. He was so accurate in Speech that he hardly produced any “Hums”. He was so confident. Ben should not be more than 14 years by then, he was an example of a promising Advocate. I respected him so much, but he was my point of challenge. I believed that if I could be able to face him and win a debate match against him, then I am a good advocate. So he was the measure then, because he was good. If there is one thing, you must learn from him, it is ELOQUENCE. I mentioned it earlier and I am mentioning it again. Let us call him ELOQUENCE. It is one thing a true advocate must have, and BEN had it in full.
(Suspense- Next week, you shall know whether I got into my School Karl Popper team and whether I was able to face Osundu Ben as anticipated)
WATCH OUT FOR EPISODE TWO

No comments: