Yoruba 12Bro. Ayodele .O. Martins, the chairman of Yoruba Tennis Club, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, during a media briefing held at the Greetings Hall of the club in Onikan, Lagos itemized all the activities lined up to mark their 90th anniversary. His address:

 On behalf of the Vice Patrons, trustees, elders and members of the Yoruba Tennis Club, I welcome you all to this press briefing and interactive session with the media to flag off activities to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the founding of our great club, which is one of the oldest indigenous social clubs in Nigeria. The Yoruba Tennis Club was founded on the 15th of September, 1926. It is a private members club whose aims and objects are amongst others:

  1. To encourage all kinds of sports, particularly the game of Lawn Tennis among its members and the public.
  2. To inculcate the spirit of good sportsmanship among its members
  3. To promote social activities among its members
  4. To provide a common meeting ground for its members
  5. To promote education, international relations and concord among different nations.

Yoruba 11An Executive Committee under the leadership of the chairman oversees the day-to-day administration of the club. The Board to Trustees is the custodian of the traditions, usages, norms and customs of the club. They are indeed a positive and stabilizing force in the club.

Let me reiterate for the benefit of our friends from the media that although the name of the club bears “Yoruba”, membership has always been extended to our non-Yoruba friends. We continue to have non-Yoruba members who use the club regularly and heave contributed in no small measure to the growth of the club.

We have been consistently applauded for our courage in remaining what we are and bearing our founding name and for sustaining our tradition of orderly and rancor free succession through nine decades of existence.

Yoruba 13Gentlemen and ladies of the media, you may be wondering why the need for this elaboration. It is to underscore the fact that ours is a unique club governed more by traditions, customs, norms and usages than by a written constitution. That the chairman is “infallible” or can do no wrong” is not written in the constitution, but understood by all members from the first day they set foot on the club’s premises.

The club lays more emphasis on honesty, integrity and industry in our members as opinion leaders in our polity than on material wealth. As a club we maintain a non-partisan posture but individual members are free to express themselves politically. Our elders regularly and consistently sit to discuss contemporary state and national issues of concern and proffer possible solutions, which are transmitted to state and national leaders.  As we celebrate the 90th Anniversary of our great club, it is important to reflect and highlight some of the phases of the club’s evolution which include:

  1. The period of the club’s establishment at Tokunboh Street, Lagos.
  2. The period at the old premises at Golf Links Road now occupied by the National Museum
  3. The new clubhouse at the present site on 2 Yoruba Tennis Club Road, Onikan, Lagos
  4. The addition of a wing comprising the Dinning Hall and the V. Ade Allen Hall to the clubhouse
  5. The provision of the Tennis Courts with flood lighting
  6. The erection of the Norman-Williams Pavilion
  7. The construction of the Greetings Hall and its recent extension to include the Club’s Administrative wing
  8. The impending installation of a panoramic lift and the construction of a sports pavilion with standard changing rooms

Yoruba 10It is worth mentioning that not only has our club recorded giant developmental strides, since it was established in 1926, it has also through its annual lecture series promoted discourse on contemporary national issues, thereby engendering peace and harmonious relationships in the polity.

Permit me at this juncture to go through highlights of the programme of activities to commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the club. A copy of the programme is attached to this press briefing. The wives of our members who are affectionately referred to as Sisters are actively participating in the celebrations and, under their umbrella body called the ‘Lady Wing’, have organized a trade and fashion fair tagged ‘YTC Naija Fair’ which is scheduled to hold on Saturday 10th September  2016 and is designed to show case the wares and products of local entrepreneurs using local materials.

Yoruba 4The Fair will be fully sponsored by the club and is set to be declared open by the Lagos State Commissioner for Employment & Wealth Creation, Mr. Tunde Durosinmi-Etti with Her Excellency the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode and Her Excellency the Deputy Governor of Lagos State Dr. (Mrs.) Idiat Oluranti Adebule as special guests of honour. The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund and micro, small and medium enterprises financiers will also have a stand at the Fair.

An interfaith service to give thanks and glory to God is scheduled for Tuesday 13th, September 2016, which would be followed by an Anniversary Family Lunch and Abalabi Cultural display.

Yoruba 8The actual day of the 90th Anniversary is on Thursday, 15th September 2016, when a Distinguished Nigerian Entrepreneur and founder of Premier Lotto, Chief Dr. Sir Kessington Adebukola Adebutu will commission the refurbished Lawn Tennis Court, lay the foundation for the spectators gallery of the Lawn Tennis Court and launch Volume III of the Club History. The Royal Father of the day at the 90th Anniversary cocktail is His Royal Majesty Oba Adewale Sotobi, Adegorushen V, the Anayagburen of Ikorodu.

It’s worth mention that the updated history of the club includes priceless information on the origins and evolution of the club as well as explanations of the various traditions, rules and usages of the club. On Friday 16th September 2016 the club as well as explanations of the various traditions, rules and usages of the club.

Yoruba 2On Friday 16th September 2016 the club’s 90th Anniversary Lecture will be delivered by His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The 90th Anniversary celebrations will be rounded off with a Gala Night on Saturday 17th September 2016 with Faith Band on the Band Stand, cultural dances and other side attractions. All events apart from the visit to Charity Homes scheduled for Wednesday 14th September 2016 will take place on the Club Premises at Yoruba Tennis Club Road, Onikan, Lagos.

As we celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the club, we are also preparing for the challenges of the 21st century. We are committed to keeping our customs, norms, traditions and usages, as these are what make the Yoruba Tennis Club unique. In the past nine decades the various Chairmen, Trustees and Officers had been quite focused in their efforts to put the club on a very firm pedestal.

Yoruba 15On the occasion of the 90th Anniversary of our great club, my special appreciation goes to the Trustees of our Club for the special role they have continued to play in the life of the club and the tremendous support they have given to the successive Executive Committees.

To  our distinguished friends from the print, broadcast and on-line media, our bonds of fellowship shall know no bounds. Thank you all for coming and listening.

Long live the Vice-Patrons, Trustees, Elders, Brethren and Sisters of the Yoruba Tennis Club.

Long live our guests and friends from the media.


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