Abuja – Some Nigerians have expressed their views on the craze for titles among Nigerians, saying that such titles, whether professional or social, confer a feeling of importance and relevance.
Correspondents of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) spoke to a cross-section of Nigerians in Abuja on Wednesday on why Nigerians love titles and insist on affixing them to their names.
Mrs Nancy Oghenekaro, a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, said that Nigerians like titles because of the feeling of success and greatness derived from bearing such titles.
“Nigerians like titles for various reasons. The most important reason is that it gives them the feeling that they have arrived .To say I have achieved greatness; to say l am better than my neighbour.
“Nigerians also like others to respect and honour them. Nigerians like vanity.
“I also think it is a cultural thing. It is our way of life, even at the grassroots. That is why in the South we have acquired social names we give ourselves or people give us in our social groups.
“In Isoko and Urhobo for instance, we call it `Odeova’. It is also part of what the Yorubas call `Oriki’.’’
Oghenekaro, however, said that there were Nigerians who normally would not want titles given to them or affix titles to their name, but the society influenced them to do it.
She said such people agreed to be addressed by such titles in order not to be looked down upon by people who were less endowed.
“I believe people abroad do not do titles. A doctor or a professor is simply called by Mr. or Mrs.
“ The society there does not live by high titles because it is all about what they can do for their society with whatever they have achieved in life, not what society can do for them as is the case in Nigeria.”
Mr Tunde Bello said that in the Engineering profession where he belongs, only registered engineers had the right to officially attach Engineer title to their names.
Bello, however, said that some registered engineers may personally decide not to attach the title to their names but professionally, they would have to be addressed by the title.
“If you are a registered engineer, it is required that you attach the title engineer to your name. Just like in the law profession, not until you are called to the bar would you be addressed as a Barrister.
“This Engineer title started over 50 years ago; so we just continued with the tradition. Now, you see other professions like the surveyors attaching the title surveyor to their names once they are registered.”
On why Nigerians attach so much importance to titles, he said that professionally, the titles distinguish a person.
Bello also added that one of the requirements for job seekers within various professions was being a registered member of a professional institute or body.
He, however, observed that in the western world, they do not attach so much importance to titles as is the case in Nigeria.
Mr Sunday Chima, a Public Servant, said that affixing titles to names was gradually becoming a norm in Nigeria.
Chima observed that Nigerians generally like to feel important, adding that such titles, either professional or social, gave them a sense of self-worth.
“A titled Chief in Nigeria will insist you address him as Chief; you dare not call him Mr. whereas abroad, they are not crazy about titles; they usually do not insist.
“ I find it funny when you hear one person being addressed as Chief, Doctor, Barrister so and so. ‘’
“Nigerians like to imitate; once someone starts a trend, it spreads like wildfire.
“The titles we were used to hearing were Doctor and Barrister now the Pharmacists, Architects, Engineers and even Surveyors are being addressed by the titles of their professions.
“Do not be surprised that other professions will begin to agitate for their professional titles to be affixed to their names,” Chima said.
According to Mrs Titilayo Amusu, a Civil Servant, it is out of place to celebrate titles, noting that in the developed world, people do not attach much importance to titles.
“It is out of place; we don’t need to celebrate all these titles; imagine somebody adding more than three titles to his or her name.
“Some Nigerians are so crazy about titles that they pick offence when you address them without their titles. I feel it is uncalled for,” She said.
Mr Adeyemi Adebayo, a trader, said that people use titles to boost their ego, adding that it was more of an African mentality.
Adebayo said that one did not need all the titles to let people know his/her status, adding that one’s work should speak for one much more than the title.
“Nigerians use titles that they do not merit, once a person gets to one stage in his career, he will award a title to himself to attract attention.” he said
On the contrary, Mr Obinna Ifedi, a Civil Servant, said that there was nothing wrong with one adding a title to one’s name if he /she had worked for it.
According to him, adding titles to names shows the height one has attained in life and which should earn one respect from people.
“If I have any title, I will add them to my name because I worked for it; I need to be accorded that respect,” he said. (NAN)