According to Sigma Club, University of Ibadan press conference which held on September 14, 2018 at Kuti Hall Senior Common Room (SCR) by 5pm, the oldest surviving students’ organization in sub-Saharan Africa is set to play host to the majestic presence of His Royal Highness, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II – The Emir of Kano – the club which has since 1965 inducted 48 highly revered personalities into the Sigma Roll of Honor.
The release signed by the Sigma Chief, Igbonekwu Valentine disclosed that the luncheon commences on 6th October 2018 by 1:00 pm at John Paul II Centre of the Institution which is part of the activities to mark the 68th anniversary of the Club which was founded in 1950.
Speaking on the ideology behind the loyalty and reverence given to the Sigma chief, Loyalist Waheed Yusuf, the deputy Sigma chief commented that “every sigmite is under the authority of the Sigma chief. Whoever you may be answers to the Sigma chief.” He added that it is a tradition that has been held since the early days of the club. Furthermore, he said the homage and respect they (Loyal sigmites) pay to the Sigma chief is evident in their protocol of standing up before addressing him, and they also take permission from him before an action is taken.
In addition, the Sigma chief, Mr Valentine Igbonekwu, a 500l student of Law, U.I said the reason behind the reference of Loyal sigmites as Loyal sigmites, while he is not called as such(Loyal sigmite), is because “Loyal sigmites are loyal to the Sigma chief. And the Sigma chief is the Sigma club.” He added that loyalty to Sigma chief is a tradition that is expressed in the induction of honourary sigmites who “are meant to take oath of induction which will be administered by the Sigma chief.”
According to the Sigma Chief, Igbonekwu Valentine, “the last Sigma guest luncheon was held on Sunday, 5th June, 2016 at the Trenchard Hall of the University of Ibadan where two eminent personalities, Prince Deji Haastrup: Former General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs (PGPA) of Chevron Nigeria Limited and Current Executive Director; Jewels of Africa Foundation, Africa Chapter and Chief Bolaji Ayorinde, SAN, OFR, Principal partner and former Pro-Chancellor of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso were inducted into the Sigma Club as Honorary Sigmites.”
The Guest luncheon is to induct men who have “risen to eminence and prominence” into the Sigma Roll of Honor as “Honorary Sigmite” which would see the Emir of Kano, a renowned Economist, philanthropist, exemplary leader and a top class Emir in Nigeria inducted into the Roll of Honor of the Sigma Club.
The Emir will be opportune to take up the seat vacated by His Royal Highness (late) Ado Bayero, CFR who was inducted into the Roll of Honor in 1977 as the 12th Honorary Sigmite.
Speaking of tradition, Mr Valentine Igbonekwu, the Sigma chief explicitly stated that the beliefs, customs and practices of the club are not determined by a codified law or constitution but by traditions orally passed down to them, the successors by their predecessors. “We live by ideas and traditions and everybody(sigmites) here knows what is expected of him”, he added.
According to him, “Since 1968, Sigma Club has no constitution but operates on ideology and tradition.” “And we are not planning to have a constitution.”, he hinted. In his words, it is from this tradition and ideology that the supremacy of a Sigma chief is passed down to the next Sigma chief. According to him, “When I am handing over, I hand over everything about the club.”
On the reaction of the fraternity, Sigma club towards a truant member, Mr Valentine Igbonekwu commented that such Loyal sigmite “answers to the Sigma chief by writing an official letter of his absence to the Sigma chief through the Sigma scribe.” He further spoke on the importance of the approval of the Sigma chief on qualification as a sigmite.
According to him, “No one has the right to decide whether he is qualified to be a Loyal sigmite.” “It is the decision of the Sigma chief upon the recommendation of the executive committee.”, he added.
The Chief has therefore emphasized that attendance at the Sigma guest luncheon is strictly by invitation, saying, “While I charge our pressmen to partner with us in advancing good and notable landmark of Sigma Club, I also congratulate Sigmites all over the world. Nevertheless, we are moving towards the 70th anniversary with a renewed figure and determination that will reinvigorate the core mandate of the Club.”
While responding to the criteria for the invitation, he said, “It is an event that we are planning for 400 persons. Because of the quality and the personality of the people involved, we don’t make it so open in terms of including strict attendance for so many reasons including security reasons.”
“Now, in a situation where we’re going to have the Alaafin of Oyo, Ooni of Ife, Oba of Lagos, Soun of Ogbomoso, Sultan of Sokoto – these are Royal fathers, talk of politicians and so many of them who have confirmed their attendance. So considering the venue, the capacity for a luncheon or dinner at the venue is just 400. If we allow everybody who wants to attend, definitely the venue will be a factor that is going to work against them.”
“There is actually no criteria, but since it is Sigma event, Sigmites endeavour to attend. They would attend with their Sigma wives. A Sigma wife is a girlfriend of a Sigmite who has been presented to the Club (Sigma Chief). And their Sigma wives must be undergraduates of the University of Ibadan. If they are not Students of University of Ibadan, they are not Sigma wives.”
By: Adedokun Seyi