Let's Talk About It


It is becoming increasingly confusing to separate a sitting senator of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from those who had once served in the same capacity in the past.

Same applies to former members of the Local Government Councils and legislators who prefix their names with the Hon (ourable) title that ought to belong only to those currently in the legislative houses.

Why should somebody who had served and left or had been voted out of office continue to appropriate the title of an office which he or she no longer holds?

One is not being ignorant of our people’s proclivity for titles.

Ours is a country in which the universal prefix of?Mr”, for a man is going extinct because nobody is satisfied with that title any longer.

For many people now the prefix ?Dr” appears to be the most popular. A young clergyman just out of the theological school would rather answer?Rev Dr˝ as soon as he can establish his own church, to enhance the proprietor’s accolade of?General Overseer”. This makes him the Managing Director of what the late Methodist Church Archbishop Dr. Rogers Uwadi, once described as ?Jesus Christ Plc”, a searing damnation of the sprouting businesses that are irreverently called churches these days. But let’s look at the more serious titles that senior political and even military veterans continue to wear. Have these men and women no other designations to identify themselves than titles that are meant to address people who are currently occupying such important offices as?senator˝, Honourable or even ?Excellency˝. The country should have a means of streamlining these confusing titles by all and sundry.

My suggestion is that a professional who gets elected into the legislature for a specific tenure should be properly designated in the manner protocol dictates.

When he is no more a law maker, he should revert to whatever he was before becoming a member the House of Assembly, House of Representatives or Senate. In other words, nobody should continue to be addressed as senator when he is not any longer one. It is patently wrong. Likewise, a former councilor or member of a State or Federal Legislature, who was called ?Hon˝, should drop that title immediately after leaving office.

If this bad habit persists, we may end up one day having more  ?Honourables˝ and  ? Senators˝ outside the Legislative Houses than those currently making the laws and who ought to bear the titles.

What of retired army officers who die with their ranks, decades after they had retired?. The untidy suffix ?Major (rtd)˝ ?Lt-col(rtd) are very irrelevant to a successful farmer or even politician who should be ?simply Mr˝ or Chief if he has no regular profession like ?Pharm˝ or ?Dr˝ or ?Arc˝.orSurv.

These are titles of pride because those who use them are qualified and are allowed to be so designated. It is even more ridiculous in the case of generals who refuse to indicate with ?rtd˝ that they are no longer in active service. As far as they are concerned  ?once a General, always a General˝.

Methinks they are wrong to continue to prefix  ?General˝ to their names. Even when they add the suffix?(rtd) ˝, it is no less intimidating in their normal daily civilian transactions. Why should everything about us be different and convoluted? The top politicians and industrialists abroad, who interact with our leaders that are flocking there all the time, do not dangle their military medals and epaulets after they had left their own armed forces. Or is it not known to our leaders that nearly every European or American politician or businessman that attends to them had served in their own army, navy or air force? And yet they go by the natural title of ?Mr˝, if men or ?Mrs˝ if women, though the ˝Ms˝ is gaining more ground by women activists. The difficult-to-pronounce prefix, to them, is a lot better than ?Mrs˝ that shows they are married or ?Miss˝ that means they are still available for men to approach them.

In their quixotic struggle to be equal with men, these funny feminist heroines argue that the prefix tittle of ˝Mr˝ for a man does not reveal the man’s marital status. Why should that of a woman be different? Can you beat that logic in its absurdity?

When last did you encounter an Israeli Major, Colonel or General? They don’t bother themselves with such frivolities. And yet, every one of them, male and female, is a fighter from the cot.

Their little ?sword-shaped˝ country is completely surrounded by enemies whose credo is to annihilate and wipe Israel from the map of the world.

We should begin to worry about our strange ways of doing things vis-à-vis the rest of mankind. When we address a person as ?Ambassador˝ in his own country, what exactly do we intend to project? A man has completed his assignment abroad as the envoy of his country. He returns home and continues to parade the title of ?Ambassador˝. Let our media take up the gauntlet and redirect the thinking of our politicians and businessmen and women. The Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE and in deed reporters and broadcasters should stop calling past legislators Honourables and Senators. The media should set the pace in this regard and stop our country from being laughed at in the comity of nations.

The title prefix of ?Mr˝ cannot be wished away?. By the way, do you know that German- speaking nations like Austria, Germany and parts of Switzerland address their professionals as ?Mr. Dr XYZ˝ or even ˝Mr Professor ABC˝. That should be a lesson to all those who feel almost anonymous or non-existent if and when called ?Mr˝.


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Christian Voice