10.06.2008 Feature Article

On My Agenda I Love My Title

On My Agenda I Love My Title
10.06.2008 LISTEN

“Introducing our august speaker to you, I've the singular honour to introduce to you His Royal Highness Chief Dr. Dr. Professor Barrister Long John Shortt as our Chairman for the occasion.

He is a man of many parts. He graduated from………..,” the list continues and by the time it gets to the end of that acclamation or what seems to be a citation, the applause sounds loudest.

Ghanaians and for that matter Africans love titles. No wonder in a radio interview where a member of the House of Honourables was subjected to what looked like a man before the Sahendrin by a radio host who asked; “Mr. Bungalowbii, what happened when your car knocked down Mr. Shiabii on the motorbike?” our member of the House of Honourables retorted; “Prease (please) if you don't address me 'Honourable' I won't answer your question.”

So our host had to refer to him as 'Honourable Mr. Bungalowbii” before he answered the question.

These days the title 'Honourable' has been so used and overused that it has lost its 'elasticity' of appreciation. If members of the House of Honourables would have to be competing with members of District Assemblies, including ex-officio members who have retired by virtue of being kicked out of the House through the power of the thumb, then one would have to ask what at all is in 'titles'?

His Royal Highness, the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in a display of some of the attributes of King Solomon decreed that in his Kingdom if you are a Nana, then you are a Nana! You can't be a Nana Doctor or Nana Professor.

You either choose to be a Nana or a Doctor or a Professor. This generated a lot of sentiment in our dear land with some Kokonsa Houses putting it before the public to debate. Debate what?

Debate the fact that the Asantehene had issued that 'decree' and therefore you subject it to public debate?

To me, it seemed like some of the 'arrogance of some Kokonsa people'.

It is good to have a chain of titles, especially if by dint of hard work you acquired those titles either through academic laurels or by some honours bestowed on you for your contribution towards doing something good for your community or nation.

The usage of those titles and where to display them need to be done with circumspection.

Sometimes you attend a function where both the main speaker and the Chairman of the occasion have to share the honours of having their profile spelt out at the function.

The chairman is introduced with his long chain of titles accompanied by another long chain of achievements.

Then the Chairman takes over and introduces the speaker who also doubles as Dr. Dr. Professor (Emeritus) 'Something'.

If one would notice, by the time the two 'most powerful' people are introduced, a greater chunk of the time would have elapsed.

It is good to have chains of titles but of what relevance are those titles to development?

Africa is still wallowing in its inability to convert most of its raw materials to finished products as a way of adding value to them but keeps on exporting such raw materials to advanced countries for processing.

They turn the same raw materials into different products and then send them to us to buy at high prices.

If we still have people with such titles as Dr. Dr. Professor and we continue to wallow in poverty, then we need to question the use of that title.

At least, I know that one does not just get up one day to assume the title of a Professor in an institution of higher learning.

If it is by the mere fact that your professorship hinges on your Ph.D then it is wise to drop the 'Doctorship' and keep the 'Professorship', period! We also need to avoid spending long hours introducing a man who has an 'avalanche' of titles to his credit.

It takes the shine out of the occasion as sometimes attention is shifted from the substantive issue onto that man of long titles.

Boxers who have won many world titles are at liberty to display their titles anytime they mount the ring but it is when they are about to get into another fight that they display the title belts that they have won in their career.

So you have a boxer who holds titles like World Boxing Authority (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and others. These are titles belts that are obvious and need to be seen.

In the field of entertainment, 'Bishop Apostle Reverend Dr. Professor Osagyefo Bob Okalla' comes to mind and as soon as he begins to mention his titles one cannot help letting out some 'noonoo scent' air.

It is good to have a chain of titles, especially if the mentioning of such titles would inspire the upcoming generation to strive for perfection or aspire to reach that height the august speaker has attained.

Titles are 'sweet' to be adorned with one or more, but if we spend time talking about one's achievement at a function without recourse to people who might have sat in the programme but because of lateness on the part of the organizer, for me is a 'travesty of justice'.

Those people, I'm sure are bullying 'shiabii' like us who are also aspiring to achieve 'big, big things' in our endeavours.

Let us use our titles to change the face of the world. Let us not be egocentric and feel 'big' in our shoes.

By Wisdom Peter Awuku, Email [email protected]