Etsako Club 81 was founded in 1981 by well-known Etsako descendants residing in Lagos. It is a sociocultural, apolitical, non-profit, and non-governmental organization. The perceived marginalization of people of Etsako heritage working in Federal institutions was the driving force behind the necessity to create this group. At the Christmas party he hosted at his home in Surulere for the elite of the Etsako population living in Lagos in December 1980, Chief J.O. Idornije initially floated the concept. Alhaji Azeez Garuba held the inaugural gathering in January 1981.
The name Etsako Club 81 was suggested by late Chief Aret Adams, and it was approved by the house. He also composed the Club anthem. According to Chief Idornije, what informed him to convene the gathering was the marginalization of some of Etsako children working in the Federal Parastatals and he said he felt Etsako needed a united front with a “strong” leader to fight this injustice.
The first President was Chief F.E. Imokhai who himself was a victim of the circumstance that led to the formation of the club. Mr. Aruna Bawa was the first General Secretary of the club. General Elections are usually held in December when the tenure of the incumbent executive terminates, and the tenure of the executive is usually two years. The administrative headquarters of the club has always been at Plot 46 Ishawu Adewale Street, Surulere Lagos, the corporate headquarters of SS Afemikhe Consulting (now SSAC Advisory & Professionals), owned by one of the founding fathers, Chief S.S Afemikhe. There is a branch of the club in Benin City and arrangements have been concluded to inaugurate a chapter in the Federal Capital Abuja in the second quarter of 2021. Work is in progress to open new chapters at Auchi, United Kingdom, and the USA. However, there are diaspora members in the UK and the USA. The club has been blessed with dedicated quality leadership and committed membership and this is what has led to its survival and growth for 40 years even though Etsako has been divided into three Local Government Areas of Etsako West with Auchi as its headquarters, Etsako Central with Fugar as its headquarters and Etsako East with Agenebode as its headquarters.
Over the years, the club has metamorphosed from a mere pressure group to a formidable Organization! Apart from promoting the general warfare of Etsako people all over the world, it has also contributed significantly to the area of education, health conflict resolution, and empowerment in Etsakoland. From the early days of the club, education has been its major thrust. Annual academic and indigent scholarships are given to students in higher institutions from across the various clans. Preference is usually given to sciences and to further emphasize our interest in sciences, we have also furnished physics, chemistry, and biology laboratories in three secondary schools strategically located in the three local government areas. In the third quarter of 2021, study centers for both former and vocational education will be opened by the club in strategic locations throughout the region.
On health, the club in collaboration with its youth wing “Etsako Youth Club” and other NGOs owned by its members, has periodically organized free healthcare missions to Etsako where free consultations, surgeries, and medications are given. The club has also periodically organized summits to address infrastructure development in the region. On an annual basis, the riverine communities in our land have always been involved in flood disasters.