The concept of respect in Nigeria is something that has ironically constituted a lot of disrespect for the atypical marginalised demographic, like the less affluent in society, women, children and sometimes the youths.
Almost everyone that grew up in Nigeria can narrate a story of how they had to face the wrath of an ‘elder’ or a guardian. Like when a lecturer feels the need to be derogatory with their students, or when some, like in private institutions decides to push it up a notch by physically punishing their students under the guise of instilling discipline and or respect.
Nigeria is rife with such experiences, and in this day and age where we ought to teach and empower the more historically marginalised demographics like women and children to be more independent and assertive. It’s a shame that some people still harbour ideas of radical discipline, which of course doesn’t seem to apply to them.
Unfortunately, such instances are still prevalent in today’s society and experiences that demean an individual all because of their age and gender still occur rapidly. Such a story was told on Twitter, where a lady was denied service because of her outfit which was deemed inappropriate, and no doubt it rattled some feathers.
It’s quite disappointing that even a public worker would use their position to in this case bully someone who in reality needs his/her services as opposed to needing a favor as they may have assumed.
This story highlights two problems with our culture. The first one is how elders and those in position of power abuse same to instill their idea of respect in those who they have been placed in charge of.
And the second is how public servants in Nigeria can’t deduce that doing their job is not a favor to citizens.
I once had an ugly incident with a dispatch rider where he dictated where we should meet for the delivery. I ended up moving all over town just to get my order and I had paid for home delivery.
When we finally met up, he played the I am an elder card, until I threatened to report him, before he apologised. Subsequently, while delivering the remaining packages, he was surprisingly courteous.