It is pertinent to know that before and after Nigeria’s Independence, Lagos being its first capital city, has witnessed the highest concentration of social clubs mainly on the Lagos Island axis. After several decades, many of these clubs are still full of various activities as their membership continues to grow in leaps and bounds, despite their high entry level.
Ikoyi Club 1938
Ikoyi Club which is one of the renowned recreational clubs in Africa was founded 85 years ago. On September 29, 1938, Ikoyi Club 1938 officially came into being through the merger of the European Club and Lagos Golf Club. The Incorporation was entrusted to three nominated trustees namely Sir Donald Kingdom, Henry Stewart and David Duncan Gibb. The European Club was first located on the site of what was later known as the Ikoyi Hotel which was then Ikoyi Government Guest House, also known as the Catering Rest House. The Lagos Golf Club moved from 18, Race Course Road to the present location in 1927, and at one time occupied the land on which the old Federal Secretariat Ikoyi now stands. Long after the amalgamation of the European Club and the Lagos Golf Club, the Ikoyi Club 1938 remained essentially an “expatriates club” run by top European Civil Servants and members of the business communities. The Ikoyi Club 1938 has metamorphosed from its European only membership into one of the best examples of multiracial clubs in the world with membership drawn worldwide. The establishment policy formulation of the Club is carried out by the Trustees and the General Committee. Members of the General Committee are elected annually at meetings of all the sporting sections and the floor of the General House. In addition, at the head of the General committee is the Chairman of the Club. The Club Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Entertainment Chairman are elected on the floor of the Main House at the Annual General Meeting. The Golf Captain and Sectional Chairmen are elected at the sectional Annual General Meetings. All elections are held in February.
One of the unique Clubs in Africa is the Island Club. It is one of the oldest multinational clubs and was brought into existence 80 years ago in Nigeria. Established on Friday, October 29, 1943 on Lagos Island, the club began as a cosmopolitan club comprising members of different nationalities, races, religions and political orientations. Sir Adeyemo Alakija was the first president. The Island Club started with 50 Nigerians and foreign gentlemen, one of whom was the British Governor-General of Nigeria, Sir Arthur Richards. In its early stages of development, the club included such members of the Lagos elite as politicians, lawyers, captains of industry, soldiers and other professionals. It is important to know that Island Club Lagos is a leading social club with international and local influence notable for the contribution of its founding members towards Nigerian Independence Movement. It was also established to create and promote interracial harmony in an otherwise discriminatory Lagos, growing from its original 50 members to over 7,000 members spread all over Nigeria. It has welcomed a lot of prominent entities from Presidents to Commissioners and Diplomats.
The Metropolitan Club
The Metropolitan Club, Victoria Island, Lagos is about 62 years old. One can say that it is young compared to other social clubs in Nigeria. It is one of the leading social clubs in Lagos and its membership rules and regulations govern strict requirement measures. It has established for itself a recognized and enviable reputation as a gentlemen’s club, offering its members one of the best facilities in dining privately in any social functions. The “Met Club” is located on Kofo Abayomi Street, in Victoria Island, although there is no signage indicating where Met Club is located. However, there is an “M” which looks more like an envelope, on the gate of the club. To be a member of the Met club, you must be an eminent, respected and admired individual in career, profession and business, and have a deep pocket.
The successful remodeling and construction of the club’s magnificent large and massive structures were made possible by its members’ contributions and support. The Club had a good start with its early members being among the successful, respected and celebrated in the social circles in Lagos. Some of them included its first President, the late Sir Adetokunbo Ademola, who was the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and the late Hon. Justice A. Fatayi-Williams, a former Justice of the Supreme among others.
Yoruba Tennis Club
Like all great human achievements, the Yoruba Tennis Club, the oldest indigenous Club in Nigeria, had a humble, informal but sincere beginning. For friendly, lively, well-lubricated evenings with businessmen and socialites, Yoruba Tennis Club is the place to be. It is where you have everything at your beck and call. Also, the club, recently marked its 97th anniversary, it’s a unique club governed in values, beliefs, customs, norms, ethics and constitutions. That the Chairman is absolutely trustworthy, incapable of errors or can do no wrong is not written in the constitution, but it is understood by all members from the first day they set their foot in the club’s premises.
The Club started at Tokunbo Street, Lagos before moving to the old premises at Golf Links Road now occupied by the National Museum, and then was also at No. 2 Yoruba Tennis Club Road, Onikan, Lagos with an additional wing comprising the Dining Hall and the V. Ade Allen Hall, Now it is at 16 Awolowo Road, Lagos Island. Not only has the Club recorded giant developmental strides, since its establishment in 1926, it has also, through its previous annual lecture series, promoted discourse on contemporary national issues, thereby engendering peace and harmonious relationships in the polity. The wives of members are affectionately referred to as Sisters.
Lagos Polo Club
Lagos Polo Club has changed over the years, being among the premier clubs in Lagos. Lagos Polo Club no doubt retained its position as the premiere polo club in the country, since it came to limelight among the social clubs in Lagos. The club’s environs in Ikoyi have moved from being an essential residential area to a commercial centre with development and people increasing in the millions, thereby making the club’s infrastructure outdated and inadequate.
The club is strategically located within the cool ambience of Ribadu Road in Ikoyi, Lagos. What distinguishes the club from others is its geographical spread across the country. There is El Amin Polo Club in Kano, Kaduna and Port Harcourt.
Lagos Boat Club
The Lagos Boat Club, which is the only boat club in Lagos, was founded 67 years ago and has been the symbol of the city’s well-to-do. Housed in a white colonial-era building and boasting a view of the serene lagoon, the Lagos Motor Boat Club has an unmistakable nautical theme – the wood-panelled bar with a large boat wheel as its centre-piece. What other way would you have loved to relax after a hard day other than to sit in a serene environment with good music, good food, excellent service, game for the mature mind, guaranteed security and cool fresh air from the lagoon on your skin. Lagos Boat Club is a country within a state as people of all tribes, races, nationalities and culture make it tick regularly. Offering a world-class service with dedicated staff, the Club offers a restaurant with full service for lunch and dinner unlike other clubs. With a restaurant and V.I.P lounge upstairs, the club offers discreetness for those who love being unnoticed. The pool bar on both the V.I.P floor and downstairs with dart boards offers people a game that helps them relieve the tension they’ve had all day. Lagos country club.
Lagos Country Club
Lagos Country Club is one of the oldest family clubs in Nigeria. The club has over the years grown to be regarded as one of the top social, recreational and sporting clubs in Nigeria with over 2000 active members cutting across nationalities, tribes and religions. The club which is known for its rich sporting activities may not have large concentration of class personalities like other clubs, but some prominent people still love the place for relaxation. Located in the Government Reservation Area (GRA) in Ikeja, aside sports and other activities, the hangout offers nourishing local and international cuisines and a bar for drinks. Captains of industries, politicians, top businessmen and sports lovers are regular visitors there.
Apapa Boat Club
Apapa is arguably one of the finest mini-cities in Lagos due to its numerous creeks, islands and waterfronts. It is home to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) where all shipping businesses are handled. Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, a major producer of Nigerian foods, BUA Oil, a major company with interests in crude and petroleum and other important chains of business are located close to it. For fun lovers visiting the Apapa Boat Club is nothing short of the word ‘‘entertainment’’ because one gets the opportunity of participating in games like water skilling, boat racing, swimming etc. Another exciting thing in Apapa is the nightlife of its people. Nightlife in Apapa speaks for itself because of the club.
The listing of celebrity hangouts would be incomplete without mentioning Eko Club. The club, which is strictly for socialites of all hues, is located in the city of Surulere. The 42 year-old Club has mostly Lagosians as members charting the course of Lagos State and working in tandem with any governor for peaceful co-existence of the residents.
Lagos Yacht Club
Lagos Yacht Club is also one of the oldest social clubs in Lagos. Membership of the club has continued to grow. Over the years the Club has been fortunate enough to have good leaders and careful managers. Initially, the club’s only committees were the Main Committee and the Sailing Committee. As the Club Property became more substantial, facilities provided were expanded. Yacht racing is an exhilarating experience, but like most sports you need to know what you’re doing. If you have the ‘need for speed’ and water is your element, then the Lagos Yacht Club is the place for you. Becoming a member of the club is relatively cheaper than other clubs in this category.