The Yorubas know how to organize social events. When you attend their events you will marvel at the level of organization. If an Igbo and a Yoruba each spends 5 million naira on an event, you will see more order and organization in that held by the Yoruba: food and drinks will go round without one knowing someone among those in charge.
Our Igbo people will scoff and tell you that it is because the Yorubas love parties. Fa fa fa foul!
There is a reason for it: Professionalism.
Yes, professionalism is the secret. How? It is rare to find a Yoruba event that is not handled by an event manager. I have actually attended supposedly small child-naming parties held at the hosts’ home which were surprisingly handled by event managers.
When you attend a Yoruba party, the host or celebrant is well seated, enjoying the event with his/her guests while things are going on seamlessly. He or she may stand up once in a while and move around to greet people and ascertain that all is well.
But if you attend an Igbo event, things may not go well and guests may not adequately be attended to because of non use of professional event handlers. Most times friends and family members are used to attend to guests. These friends and family members end up taking food and drinks more to those they know. So some end up having too much, while some go home angry or sad. Then those friends and family members also come with bags/coolers for carting away drinks and food. Sadly the host must have provided more than enough for all the guests.
When an Igbo man or woman is hosting an event, he/she hardly sits down. He/she goes around serving people and ensuring that everything is in order. The host runs around, most times wearing slippers or even moving around barefooted, to ensure that all goes well. Why do we Igbos enjoy stress and suffering?
We had such a challenge in our village meetings here in Lagos. We would kill one or more cows for our end-of-the-year party. Our wives would be in charge of cooking the food with the meat. So they would have to sleep away from home on the Saturday night before the date preparing the meals at the location. The next day, they would be in charge of serving people food, while the men would serve drinks and take care of getting the venue ready.
Sadly, we would be wondering where all the foods and drinks went to, as things would not go round as expected. I spoke repeatedly against it. Why should people who have worked throughout the year to make the association tick not rest and enjoy their party at the end of the year? Why not stop this chest-thumping of killing cows and hand over the event to an event planner and sit back to enjoy ourselves? It sank and that was adopted. It became smoother and less frustrating. On such a day, men, women and children would dress up and attend the event, sit down and enjoy the party, rather than running up and down, sweating, quarreling, etc, on a day that should be a day of merriment.
The event planner also knows the activities to add to your event to make it livelier and richer as well as the order of protocol.
The thinking used to be that handing your event over to an event manager would cost you more money, the same way many used to think that walking into a shop owned by a company to buy your electronics would be more expensive than going to the market. It does not work like that. With a professional, you have someone to take away your burden, someone to hold responsible and even sue if your agreement is breached. You can sleep better before the event and smile a lot while the event is going on.
Happily, many of our Igbos brothers and sisters who have lived with the Yorubas are learning that aspect of organizing events.
Agunze Azuka Onwuka