Thursday, August 02, 2007

Dr Mrs Chief Engineer

Article on the Nigerian love affair for titles, courtesy of the Beeb.


Anonymous,  11:47 am  

This teaser is too irrisistable--like to think of myself as somewhat of an intellectual, too high minded for some of the the more obvious blogs, but brothaman...this one too good. Flight boarding alas. Arriverderci, from Chief (Dr.) Mrs.________. (The truly unforgivable titles are ones that begin "Barrister", or "Architect" or "Engineer", because these people SHOULD KNOW BETTER!!! Help!

negresse adoree,  12:03 pm  

Pathetic how desperate people can be to prove at all costs that they are "somebody". Virtual illiterates want to be called "Dr" by hook or by crook. Think of the years of rigorous study it takes to get a genuine medical degree or PhD... Would love to lock the money-miss-road morons up and force them to read "War and Peace" from cover to cover.

Anonymous,  1:36 pm  

Actually, that article gives a sweeping generalization, methinks. It's one thing for an idiot off the streets to call himself Chief-of-Nowhereville, but it is another issue entirely to be, say, the Ooni of Ife, or the Areonokankafo of Yoruba land, or the Sultan of Sokoto, Emir of Katsina, etc. So having a title of "nowhereville" may not bring any respect (and indeed any wealthy man can have a small title), but holding a renowned title in Yorubaland (where I am from) means a lot to us, particularly rural folk, not the disillusioned Westernized city-dwellers. I am from Ibadan, where the Olubadan of Ibadan has little money (he lives in a house that looks like a mud-hut), but was recently instrumental in "solving" the Adedibu problem we had in the town, and he maintains enormous power in Ibadan, particularly over issues such as land disputes. And when I think that the Bashorun of Ibadan is not wealthy either (nor is the Alaafin of Oyo), or that only one of three families (Aderibigbe, Omisore or Sijuwade) can produce Oonis of Ife, I am a bit disappointed that this article does not make it clear that small titles can be given to wealthy men, but well-respected titles are reserved for worthy men or those who fall in the blood line. And that the chiefs and kings wield enormous power, particularly in agrarian parts of Western Nigeria, where I normally live. And for those Yorubas who keep their ears close to the ground, they will remember that the Ife/Modakeke crisis, which confounded even the Kill-and-Go military was only eventually solved when the Ooni of the time intervened in the dispute. In the end, only he had an answer to the crisis!

And just as an example of a contradiction of the article's claim that "any rich man can buy any title", despite Obasanjo being Balogun of Owu AND Ebora Owu (at the same time), the big title he wanted (The Aareonokankafo of Yorubaland - last held by the late MKO Abiola or the Bobagunwa of Egbaland) was not given to him, despite his enormous wealth and influence. He simply was not good enough. Nor was this title (Aareonokankafo) given to Wale Adenuga (head of Globacom) who - word has it - also wanted the title. The King Makers who choose the Aare have made it clear that they are yet to meet any man worthy of this title since Abiola's death, despite the incredibly wealthy Yoruba men that abound on Nigeria's streets. So I am glad the article has no comments by Yorubas in there - but I find it perplexing that the BBC has (yet again) swept a generalization over all of Nigeria. It is a lazy approach to journalism.

Having said that, and on a much lighter note, here is what I got in an email.

Olusegun Obasanjo is being addressed in public and this is the introduction:

The Nigerian of the Decade, The Emperor of Aso Rock, The Balogun of Owu, The Bashorun of Iddo, The Ebora Owu, The Kabiyesi of Otta, The Ekerin Egba, The Jagunmolu of Egbaland, Baba Iyabo, Oko Stella and the Father of modern Nigeria: Prof Dr. Chief King Kabiyesi Balogun Obaa-wa Oloye Oluwaa-wa Asiwaju President General Matthew Aremu Okikiola Olusegun Obasanjo.

ababoypart2 1:42 pm  

Read the post this morning....I still wouldn’t be put off buying a ‘doctorate’ degree from a college in Ireland or Singapore. Alistair Soyode (of BEN TV fame) and ‘Whatshisface’ (Bisi) Olatilo just got one recently. Alistair is now known as Dr Alistair Soyode – ‘CHAIRMAN’ Ben TV (CEO don reign finish?)

Anonymous,  1:53 pm  

Very true, esp the part where the guys said people have 'bastardised' titles these days! LOL!!
Was having that conversation with a friend the other day, the phenomenon continues even here in the states. The pressure is still on esp among igbo's to go all the way to attain their doctorate degrees and most times you have to question if its been done for the right reasons or just to be revered.

ijebuman 5:11 pm  

"To be addressed as a Mr, Mrs or Ms in Nigerian social circles means you are a nobody. To be a mover or shaker you need to be a chief - or to at least hold a doctorate."

The title craze is so entrenched in our society that when The (Nigerian) Guardian was launched in the 80s, the paper addressed everyone as 'Mr or Mrs', a lot of 'highly placed' Nigerians complained to the publisher (Alex Ibru) and eventually the paper had to drop the policy.

Anonymous,  8:51 pm  

practically all the Naijas in Toxteth go by Chief so and so!!

Nkem 1:45 pm  

Grrrr. Arrrgh. Don't get me started.

Opium,  2:35 pm  

I was recently "greeted" by a porter in the development where I live. He was doing the security rounds, said hello, asked if I was Nigerian to which I obliged, he then introduced himself to me as Chief sosoandso. I had to stop myself from laughing out loud. I understand that being Nigerian and as he was older he would not have introduced himself to me by name but the Chief part just threw me.

negresse adoree,  6:32 pm  

Keeping it real - how many of us, if offered an honorary title or other accolade which we have not sought, would refuse?

t 9:25 pm  

In my recollection, "Mrs." is usually last. Engineer, Doctor, Chief, Mrs - in Yoruba at least. There's a logic to the order...

Anonymous,  11:01 pm  

anon 1.36pm has educated me a lot. Especially how these titles work in yoruba land. I'll be saving your post.

Anonymous,  7:15 pm  

I believe the single worst title of all in Naijaspeak, and specifically the media, is "...and friend". aka, "...and Nobody". Can i get a high 5, or sorry, an igh 5, you City People and Ovation and sadly, This Day readers out out there?! You know what i'm talking about...

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