Wednesday, February 1, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Re: Princes, Not Kings, Are Called "His Royal Highness

I myself do not understand what the fuss is about.

Both His Royal Highness and His Royal Majesty are monarchic titles that the English exported to British colonies. It is logical that these titles would have their local equivalents in several of the foreign cultures that they annexed (e.g. Kabiyesi in Nigeria among the Yoruba). Still, they remain words that describe honorific titles for the English Royal Family. This being the case, what could be wrong in pointing out that, in our adoption and use of these borrowed English robes to describe our local rulers, we oftentimes wear the apron as gown?

Even if we were to adopt Farooq's point and use the titles the way they were constituted by the originators, does my local Igwe become less of a king if I henceforth address him as His Majesty rather than His Royal Highness? At any rate, where did Farooq decree that we should henceforth address our local kings as His Royal Majesty? Was he not merely pointing out one more instance of where we mixed things up in our deployment of English grammar and terms to our everyday life? I recall that in my secondary school days, I did come across a book that was solely devoted to the titles of various personages – from noblemen, kings, religious leaders and such likes. The first time I visited the Ooni of Ife palace, the group I travelled with was taken to one side and tutored on how to greet the king. Unless there are such lessons taught in every household in Ile-Ife, is there no likelihood that an indigene can mix up the several titles drilled into us on that day?

And then, what accounts for this readiness to launch into personal abuses whenever someone says something that another does not agree with, even when the matter does not affect another personally? One would think, from the outpouring of venom that we have seen from a couple of persons who have intervened so far, that Farooq's column is either a petition to or a magisterial imposition on the various ethnic Councils of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria! Shouldn't we simply state our point of view to dispute the position that was canvassed? How is it possible that personal abuses can ever devalue a valid proposition, rather than fact-based or logical counterpoint?

I tire.


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