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06-Feb-2017 09:43

In Britain, from where we copied it, “honorable,” often rendered as “the Hon.,” is used with the first name for the children of viscounts, barons, and life peers and peeresses, and for the younger sons of earls. In speech, government officials entitled to the honor of using the title are addressed simply as “Mr.,” “Mrs.” or “Ms.” Most importantly, the title is never used self-referentially, that is, people who are entitled to use it never refer to themselves by the title, such as is common in Nigeria where members of the House of Representatives, for example, introduce themselves as, “I am Honorable (First name) (Last name.)” “Right Honorable”: I see that the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria styles himself “Right Honorable.” Well, in the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives does not use that title.

The formal title prefixed to the name of the Speaker is just “Honorable,” and he or she is formally addressed as “Mr.

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For instance, during Nigeria’s First Republic, there was a “ceremonial president” in the person of Nnamdi Azikiwe who had no substantive powers.

New Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha struck at the core of the titular conceit of Nigerian politicians when he said last Thursday that he didn’t want to be burdened with silly honorific prefixes like “Your Excellency,” “Honorable,” etc., which he said were unconstitutional and unnecessary.

“I will make a passionate appeal: I don’t know where you people get this ‘Your Excellency’ from,” he said. I often hear people say ‘Executive Governor.’ I say look at the constitution; there is nothing like executive governor. I want to simply be addressed as SGF, please.” Former Jigawa State governor Sule Lamido also famously rejected Nigeria’s exhibitionistic titular conventions for governors when he told journalists that he didn’t want to be addressed as “Your Excellency” or described as an “Executive Governor.” He said he wanted to be addressed simply as “Governor Sule Lamido.” I don’t know if this panned out during his governorship, but it’s refreshing that there are what one might call oases of sanity and titular modesty in Nigeria’s desert of inflated, title-crazed, oversized egos.

If you pay attention to American politics and culture, you will notice that Americans don’t address their president as “His Excellency” or “Your Excellency.” He is simply “Mr.

President” (a female president would be called “Madam President”), and only “President” is prefixed to his name.In America, whose presidential system we have adopted, the president is never referred to as an “executive president” because it goes without saying that he is the head of the executive branch of government.