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 How It Started 
Life in the early old colonial days was harsh and discriminatory for the indigenous inhabitants. This was more so especially in Lagos which was regarded then, rightly or wrongly, as being synonymous with Nigeria.

In social life and sporting activities, the European overlords segregated themselves into exclusive Clubs to which no Nigerian (or African) was considered fit for admission no matter his or her attainment in the academic or social field. Thus in the early twenties in Lagos, the Europeans had formed an exclusive Tennis Club, situated at the present site of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, to which even the most enthusiastic Nigerian players of the game were not admitted.




It was therefore, as an understandable reaction to this discrimination and more positively, to promote the spirit of brotherhood, fellowship and the healthy development of the mind and body, in a congenial social setting and through the playing of games especially that of Lawn Tennis, (which at that time was second in popularity to the game of football), that the idea of forming an indigenous Club was conceived.

Like all great human achievements, the Yoruba Tennis Club, the oldest indigenous Club in Nigeria, had a humble, informal but sincere beginning. The first meeting was held probably in the early part of 1926, and the second meeting (minutes of which are available) was held at 75, Tokunboh Street, Lagos on Thursday, 15th July 1926. At that time the Club was known as Orelodun Tennis Club.

From its inception, the Club devoted its attention and energy to the building of a Club House and the construction of Lawn Tennis Courts. To this end, an approach was made to the then Colonial Government, under the leadership of His Excellency the Governor, for the allocation of a piece of land. Fortunately, the prayer was granted and the pioneers were given a land at a location then known as 15, Old Golf Links, Onikan Lagos (later changed to 3, Onikan Road, Lagos) on which they built a Club House and two Tennis Courts. The first of the Tennis courts which was erected entirely from voluntary contributions in cash or in kind by members themselves, was informally opened on Wednesday, 15th December, 1926. The Tennis court was built then at a cost of Eighty Two Pounds, Eight Shillings and Two Pence (N164.82). The Club continued to hold its meetings and social activities at 75, Tokunboh Street, Lagos, the residence of Bro. Willie O. Fagbo until the first Club House was formally opened towards the latter part of 1936. Informal gatherings, especially after playing Tennis, were held under a tree in the Club’s premises.

In the early days, the members also devoted their attention to finding a befitting name for the Club – one which would reflect their twin objectives of promoting brotherliness and the healthy development of mind and body. Among the names suggested to qualify the Tennis Club were the following:- “Kinitalafia”, “Borokinni”, “Gbajumo”, “Yoruba”, “Saluga”, “Omoloju”, “Eko”, “Karaole”, “Oredun”, “Orelodun”. Finally at its monthly general meeting held on Friday, 15th September 1926, the name “Yoruba Tennis Club” was unanimously adopted and the Club as it is now known was inaugurated, Athough the Club was finally named “The Yoruba Tennis Club”, it was never the intention of the Founding Fathers to restrict its membership to those of Yoruba origin alone. They ensured that the outlook and activities of the Club reflected its cosmopolitan nature.

A review of the composition of its membership from its inception till date clearly shows that the Club has faithfully kept to this.
At the meeting of 15th September, 1926, the following were elected as the first officers of the Club:-
Mr. V. Ade Allen - Chairman
Mr. Willie O. Fagbo - Secretary
Mr. Agboola Tubi - Assistant Secretary
Mr. Jeariogbe Tubi - Treasurer
Mr. R. Adewole Randle - Captain
Mr. Ayo Williams - Sub-Captain

Committee Members:-
Mr. Gilbert C. Johnson
Mr. Chris A. Taylor
Mr. Abraham A. John

Apart from the above, the Founding Fathers of the Club also included the following:
Mr. A.W. Fanu - Mr. L.D. Emanuel
Mr. Moses Fashaye - Mr. B.A. Cole
Mr. J.A. Haastrup - Mr. F. Ade Adeniji
Mr. J. St. Ariori - Mr. Isaac O. John
Mr. L.L. Martins - Mr. C.J. Mensah
Mr. H.R. Harding - Mr. Akin Freeman
Mr. M.A. Sho-Silva - Mr. J. St. Daniel
Mr. K. Sikuade - Mr. O. Oduyoye
Mr. V.E. Johnson - Mr. M.S. Awolesi
Mr. Frank Odumosu - Mr. I.E.A. Adeleye
Mr. Victor O. Williams - Mr. D. Jordan
Mr. P.K. Sagoe - Mr. C.B. Thompson-John
Mr. H.S. Macaulay - Mr. H.M. Alli-Balogun
Mr. T.A. Savage - Mr. Isaac Silvanus John
Mr. G.I. Oni-Orisan

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You might also like to read about...     I Remember   |   Founding Fathers   |   Inside The Club   |   Club Anthem   |   Uniqueness of YTC   |   Membership
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