Dear Nigerians, can we ever get over our Obsession with Titles

Sarafina Ann Nneoha

Sarafina Ann Nneoha

Welcome to Nigeria, a country that would definitely win all the medals if there should ever be a World Championship for titles.

A country where everyone is so obessed with titles that we can exchange our birthright for it. The general mentality is that the more titles and designations you have, the more important you become in the society. You ask someone to introduce himself and he goes, “My name is Engr. Prof. Dr. Bar. Mr….” He would say all these with his shoulders high.

A friend once told me about a man who was called up to speak in an event. 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. Then he now walked majestically with his shoulders high to the podium. Lol. Funny.

Do these titles even matter? It’s like a taboo to introduce a governor without adding, “His Excellency, the executive governor of… ”

Speakers in each house of assembly are introduced as, “The Right Honourable speaker of.. ”

Every member of the Senate is a “Distinguished” senator, whether or not he or she has ever attended any sitting or even moved a motion, much less authored a bill. And then you wonder what makes them “Distinguished”.

Ordinary Jerusalem that someone would visit, they wouldn’t waste time adding “JP” (Jerusalem Pilgrim) to their names. Soon we would start hearing things like, “Chief Justice, Dr. Mr. Z(Msc.Phd. UK, USA, Asia) just to let you know the places they have been.

You see, I could go on and on. While I was still an undergraduate, one of my lecturers got really pissed because I had written his name without adding the numerous titles he had bagged in his life time. He got so offended that I thought I was going to fail the course.

It’s sad though; for someone’s sense of accomplishment to rely on something as trival as being addressed as this or that. Check out the famous, rich and influential people in the world today. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey, Chimamanda Adiche and a whole lot of others. None of them has any title attached to their names. Bill Gates isn’t addressed as “Engr. Dr. Bill Gates”. Yet it doesn’t change who he is or how the world sees him. People like this understand that their worth and accomplishment aren’t in the titles placed before their names. It all depends on who you are and what you have to offer.

But most Nigerians don’t even give a damn. If I wake up tomorrow and I meet someone who decides to add GCE or SSCE to their names, I won’t be surprised. Lol. You know the longer the title, the better

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