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Reuben Abati

Reuben Abati

Reuben Abati

Nigerians love events and ceremonies. The engine of governance in fact runs on this special fuel, which in many ways has become an occasional excuse for waste and idleness. I have in the course of work attended and compered many of such events; one thing that I find curious is the obsession with acknowledgements. If you are the compere at any typical Nigerian event, the organizers are bound to give you what they call a protocol list, usually a long list of persons whose presence must be acknowledged. You are also expected to recognize persons, especially if they are government officials, according to an established ranking order.

This means you can’t recognize a Member of a State House of Assembly before a Member of the House of Representatives, and you can’t “acknowledge the presence (as it were) of” a Minister before a Senator. Any slight mix up is likely to fetch you a reprimand and complaints about how you are such an insensitive compere who wants to ruin an event that had been so well planned. Getting the pecking social order right is not even enough, you must be politically correct when you deploy such egoistic phrases as Your Excellency, The Distinguished, The Most Honourable, Your Honour, Your Worship, My Lord, Your Grace, Your Eminence…Only God knows what these honorifics do to the Nigerian big man or big woman’s mind. When you get it right, you can see the person actually believing the myth about he or she being so excellent, distinguished or honourable. Some would even rise and wave to the crowd.

The institutionalized flattery involved, is of course not limited to the special guests, sorry special guests of honour (!) who occupy the …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper