By Ebele Orakpo

O God! What is with Africans, especially Nigerians? We love titles so much. It is commonplace to see a man having over seven titles and all the titles must come before or after his name. For instance, you hear something like High Chief, Professor, Dr., AYZ,(OFR, GCFR, BA, BSc.,GCE, SSCE).

It’s so ridiculous,” noted a commuter by name, Azeez as the radio announcer reeled out the names of distinguished guests who attended an event, some with so many titles attached to their names.

“Maybe one day we will begin to hear of medium chief, low chief, triple chief, MSc, BRT,” commented Tunji. His comment sent everyone reeling with laughter.

Said Oby: “BRT indeed! Haba! You are exaggerating. At least I haven’t heard of GCE or SSCE. But I wouldn’t be surprised if anyone adds those to his titles. The longer, the better. It amuses me to no end any time I hear all that. I see it as pride.”

“Yes, but you must give honour to whom honour is due,” noted Joke.

“That is correct but we must not overdo it, otherwise, it will begin to sound ridiculous,” said Kenneth.
“Now, people who have gone to Jerusalem must add JP (Jerusalem Pilgrim) to their names. One of these days, I won’t be surprised if you start hearing things like Chief Justice, Dr, (Mrs) K, (MSc., Phd, USA, UK, Asia, Europe) to tell you where they have been,” stated Amaka.

“And some feel so offended if you address them without adding all the titles. Just call them Mr. So and So and they will tongue-lash you or worse still, ignore you completely as they see it as a slight on their person. I heard about a man who was called up to address a forum, everyone was clapping, waiting for him to come to the podium. But guess what? He refused to get out of his seat, reason being that he was not properly introduced! His personal assistant had to approach the compère to ask him to correct the error. Thereafter, he was introduced ‘correctly’ with all the titles in place,” narrated Toks.

“What nonsense! And people were there still waiting for the correction to be made? If I were there, I would simply have walked out. Let him keep whatever he had to say to himself. He is a very proud man and such people don’t last long. Pride goes before a fall,” fumed Kenneth.

“People did not know what happened initially, it was later they learnt why he refused to stand up,” replied Toks.

“Thank God for the ongoing re-branding scheme in Nigeria. I watched the re-branding campaign recently held in Asaba. There, the Information and Communications Minister, Prof. Dora Akunyili said one of the things they are trying to do is to teach Nigerians to keep it simple and avoid all those unnecessary protocols,” said Tunji. Continuing he said: “You hear ‘Your Excellency,’ ‘Honourable’, all over the place, used to address some people you know very well are dishonourable and not excellent by any stretch of imagination. That just makes a mockery of the whole thing.”

Noted Azeez: “Hasn’t it been said that empty vessels make the most noise? I’ve noticed that it’s mostly those with nothing upstairs that insist on all those appellations. Serious-minded people who have something to offer their people don’t bother about titles.

They know what they’ve got and they don’t need to make noise about it. In the medical profession, those with PhD in Medicine are addressed as ‘Mr.’

“In the Western world, you hear people address presidents as ‘Mr.’ You hear things like Mr. Obama, Mr. Blair, Mr. Clinton, Mr. Bush, Mr. Reagan, etc., but you dare not do that in Nigeria. Even if the president wouldn’t mind, his overzealous acolytes will call you to order for committing a sacrilege”.

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