Dear Yomi: Nigerians need to chill with the age thing

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Age doesn't necessarily mean respect

There really shouldn't be any fuss about addressing someone older than you by his first name.

Age is nothing but a number. The Assistant Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Abayomi Shogunle has found that out.

Today, Thursday, August 10, 2017, he made a tweet that went viral and has both the old and young talking. His tweet was basically on how a young person referred to him by his first name.

 

In Nigeria, age goes along with respect so this was sort of an issue. Twitter NG wasted no time in jumping on the issue. Here are some of the reactions below;

 

Even though Nigeria is one of the most multi-tribal nations in the world, there is one thing that they all have in common, respect of elders. We do not joke with this. The older a person, the more respect you accord to that person.

It's common for a young person to refer to someone older than him as uncle or aunty even though they are not related at all. Putting a prefix is a mark of respect. In some cases, pa and ma are used to address people way older than you. It is regarded as a sign of respect, a mark of recognition that the person before you is old enough to be more your parent or at the very least your uncle or aunt.

 

Even in some homes, kids refer to their older brother and sister as uncle or aunty. Yeah, we don't play with respect around here. It is sacred.

In the work place, respect is not forgotten at home. You kneel or bow in front of your superiors in some offices.

Western influence doesn't care about all this. Over there, age doesn't determine how much respect you get. More importantly, respect doesn't come with a prefix. No one has to address you as sir or ma before you are respected.

If you work in some certain multi-national companies in Nigeria, calling your boss or superior by his first name is no big deal. The absence of a prefix doesn't mean you don't respect your boss.

As Nigerians, we are big on titles and prefixes. The more attachments you have before your name, the higher your respect in the society. This is definitely a cultural thing. I bet in Facebook, the new intern fresh from high school calls Mark Zuckerberg by his first name. The skies won't fall. I don't think you can do that for a Dangote or Adenuga.

 

We are in 2017 and Nigerians should take a chill pill. Addressing someone older than you is not a sin. It doesn't mean you don't respect the person.

You can call someone older than you sir or ma and not respect them. It is the truth but the truth has never been popular so I guess we will stick with the titles until we evolve our thinking.



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