The Ran Ka Ya Dade/Chairman/Oga/Big Man Syndrome

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These being the words of one Gaius Emir Sultan Oba Igwe Engineer Chairman General Doctor Barrister Pastor Bishop Sir Farouk Ibn Caliph, heir to the throne of vanity GCFR MNI SSS DOC AIDS and your role model’s role model. The Otemkpu number 1 of Africa, the only asamkpokoto, Sarkin Sarakuna, Omo L’owo international, Imminent ruler of the domain of Zamunda, he who should be swooned upon by maidens far and wide. The quintessence of the aspiring good man. It is he who speaketh to you dear reader, open thine eyes and let the words percolate in your mind and soul that we may converse as writer to reader in a melting of minds and thoughts. These are my intentions whereupon I present my thoughts for your perusal.

There is a disease going around that is infecting our youth and no I am not talking about the HIV/AIDS problem, believe me that is important too. I am talking about the cult of the “big” man. The cult of the voltron, the cult of people who support that and whom which they know is wrong or which they have convinced themselves is right. Our youth suffer from ignorance and this type of ignorance is of the most dangerous type and without precedent it is the danger of failing to recognize that all men and women at the barest minimum of existence are equal. It does not matter their wealth, power, strength or level of janded-ness, they are all equal. If their poop/shit/excrement/faeces smell then they are bound by the rules of human equality and hence they do not deserve your adulation and subservience.

Who are these men and women that seek the turn us to slaves in our own nation? They are you, me, the alhaji that you hail on the street, the chief with his traditional title that he bought in the village, it is the musician, nollywood actor or actress that treats his fans like shit not realizing that a star without fans is not a star at all, it is the youth whose pretentions and haughtiness prevent him from relating with his peers who he or she sees as beneath him, it is the myopic individual that treats his or her fellow human being at the face value of their present circumstances and hence creates a cycle where people when they eventually make it treat their subordinates with contempt. It is the Nigerian attitude of big man-ism, the unfriendly and unapproachable behavior of I pass my neighbor, it is the behavior that says I shall treat anyone who does not dress flashy, drive an expensive car, have the latest electronic gadget/phone, live in an affluent neighborhood, speak with a foreign accent or who has been abroad like shit.

Sometimes I find it hilarious when people complain about government not treating the people right when they cannot treat their house maids/boys/girls, cooks, gardeners, drivers with common human decency. Jesus was right when he said that do unto others as you want others to do unto you. Do we as a nation deserve to be treated right when we cannot treat ourselves right when we glorify those in higher positions of wealth, power and prestige well and denigrate those below us?

I am from northern Nigeria and I know that some of the root of the current problems that are facing that region today is the Ran ka ya dade (May you have long life) attitude of the people. Ran ka ya dade is a phrase often used to address a person higher than you in the social structure, it was originally used for traditional rulers but now anyone wealthier than you or in a position of power is addressed as Ran ka ya dade. You see, for the longest time and going by accounts of history, the people of the region venerate and give undue respect to their leaders and while these leaders have continually worked to leave the region underdeveloped.

Why? Well the syndrome in the region which applies to a lot of people in Nigeria is to keep the people beneath you and keep them coming back to pay respect to you so they expect money or favors from you and you give them this money or favor and give them just enough that they come back for me in the near future. You never give them enough to be independent or provide them with a means to be independent because if these people become independent of the leadership and so on they will be able to educate themselves and their eyes will open to the looting going on and the underdevelopment in their areas. It is this insistence on keeping the people underdeveloped and dependent that provided an avenue for the terrorist group boko haram to gain a foothold. The group gave the people who joined it some form of independence and open their eyes to the poor moral standards of the northern leaders, it gave them a misguided religious mindset to feed upon in place of the rightful development that should have taken place if the leaders of the region hadn’t been pre-occupied with being called Ran Ka Ya Dade and actually done something for the people.

Not to free the rest of the country from the burden of blame, you have the chairman/oga/chief syndrome. This is characterized by the fawning and undue obsequiousness of people to people they perceive as big men and women. Have you ever seen a young man drive into a restaurant or nightclub in a Range Rover in Nigeria and observed the behavior of the security men towards him as opposed to the chap who drove in with his Japanese or Korean coupe? The man who came with the Range Rover gets a, “Ah Chairman/Oga, Shun Sir! Happy Weekend Sir! Your boys are loyal o, where you wan park even if na for on top our head we go make space, Anything for the boys? We dey hail o!” while the guy in the Kia gets, “Abeg my friend there is no parking here, you no fit read the sign?! Abeg go park for that side jo, this one wey you get na car? No be bicycle? Tscheww!” This creates a cycle in the psyche of the typical Nigerian and I m not excluded where we all aspire to be the man in the Range Rover, we all aspire to be fawned over by not only security people and bouncers but by ladies of all degrees of beauty even though we are butt ugly and as such everyone hustles to join this breed of chairmen/oga/ran ka ya dade and attempt to do it by hook or crook. They will steal, sleep with anyone, commit the right or wrong rituals (have sex with a tuber of yam that apparently will spit out money) , sell their brother, cheat their business partner or boss all in the hopes of “arriving”. In short the scenario above with the range rover, living in lekk/VI/Ikoyi/Maitama in abuja or GRA in PH is what characterizes the Nigerian Dream much like the American Dream but far less egalitarian.

Of course you also have people of my generation, the “future” of the nation. It is like everyone is so full of themselves. You’ll meet people you knew from when they were kids and they will pretend not to know you until they see you with a musician or someone they feel is important that is when the person who you knew from childhood and who you have been trying to wave to all this while finally notices you and makes his/her way across the room to come and say hello and of course with a fake foreign accent he/she honed on the streets of Mushin. Nonsense. Speak English jo. Honestly I can go on about the people of our generation and the pride and hubris being displayed daily on the streets of Lagos, Abuja or anywhere Nigerians are to be found. Is it that hard to be friendly, down to earth and approachable? Does it demean in anyway to be courteous? This search for gratification will lead us to be like the generations ahead of us, we will seek to be called chairman/oga/ran ka ya dade, treat those below us in the hierarchy despicably and refuse to help them develop and hence the problem called Nigeria shall continue.

“As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen”

Why does it seem that Nigerians can be the proudest set of people on God’s green earth yet we live in a proverbial hell hole of a country? Why do the people higher up and even those lower treat those beneath them so despicably? Why are many of our youth so proud, unfriendly and unapproachable? How can we change the Nigerian dream or are we all doomed to aspire to become and become chairmen, ogas, ran ka ya dades who don’t impact positively on our community but oppress others. I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

These were the words of His Royal Highness Farouk, purple star award recipient for valiant service in the cause of writing bullshit that could possibly make sense. Man of the people and all round shy and lovable guy.


6 thoughts on “The Ran Ka Ya Dade/Chairman/Oga/Big Man Syndrome

    African Mami (@afrikanmami12) said:
    June 30, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I am aspiring to be an ooga! We live in a pseudo classist society whose reality gets checked once you relocate to the West. In the words of one Sweet Brown “Ain’t nobody got time for dat”. But on a serious note, I aspire to become Chairwoman , but a friendly one who cares for the people. You either have power, or are powerless. Choose the path you want to follow!

      Sir Farouk responded:
      July 2, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Chairwoman, we are loyal ma! Lol. By God’s grace we shall become chairmen and women but not to oppress other people sha.

    ezigbo said:
    June 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    True talk all the way. Nigerians can be really subservient to those who put them down. Almost as if it’s part of our culture. Lol.

      Sir Farouk responded:
      July 2, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      Hopefully its a culture that will soon change.

    oguonuchehenry said:
    July 2, 2012 at 3:29 am

    This is a great post Sarkin Fali, HRH Farouk, my chairman, my oga lol…It is a big problem in Nigeria…a problem I personally think the solution is farfetched. But for exposed Nigerians, we personally have to change our attitudes. Thank God, I feel shy and awkward when I’m driving my fathers cars and someone old enough to give birth to me calls me SIR, I always call them SIR back. I aint here for self gratification. The depth of Nigeria’s problems is unphantomable. Only God can intervene *cliche*, the way trend is sailing, our generation is going to be worse. 1. Population is increasing and resources aren’t. God help us… Yours, Sir Henrique kenan.

      Sir Farouk responded:
      July 2, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      Thanks Sir, Na you be my chairman o. I loyal well well. Anything for your boy? Lol. Our generation is in big trouble.

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