First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu
The people who argue are like the people who fall in love. The two groups are populated by fools and mugus. These are the ones who go into war without a guarantee of the spoils of war. Behold the foolish risk-takers on a hiding to nothing. Now if you do not agree with me, welcome to the club for you argue in your heart.
Imagine this. You visit your cardiologist friend and find him arguing loudly with his cook about how many chambers lie in the human heart. The cook insists on three chambers. Next thing your host screams, “Who are you?” promptly followed by “Do you know who I am?” (Where is Sinach when you need her?)
The angry Nigerian’s answer to the aforementioned questions flies out of the cook’s mouth.
“I do not care who you are, but the heart has three chambers!”
The spirit of Donald Trump and Alan Sugar descends and we all know what the cardiologist says next.
Why argue anyway?
Partaking in arguments is similar to smoking Ganja. Everybody feels justified to indulge in the habit. But why partake in habits popular with hoodlums? The need to be right, the desire to make others believe what you believe by force when reason fails, the threat to self-esteem and plain old egotism are some of the reasons people argue. These are also those with nothing to do and who are in conflict with themselves. The types whose lips write cheques their work ethic cannot fund. When a man cannot agree with himself, what chance do you have of arriving at an agreement with the tortured soul?
Everybody will unavoidably argue both in private or public but it should be the exception not the norm. True, we might argue as a way of fighting back when we feel our opinions are not being taken seriously, or if we are being dealt with unjustly or even being exploited but there is a limit to contention beyond with anger and fighting ensues.
Spoils of war
There are benefits in some kind of arguments.
- When an academic argument is in progress, the wise observer has an educational experience
- In social settings two people having a go at each other with jokes and put downs can be terribly entertaining for everyone. Batter between Arsenal and Chelsea supporters is a case in point
- In political debates, contestants argue on who is better suited for office with the aim of swaying the public to their way of thinking
- In the court of law, having a lawyer on your side with good arguments is a God send.
Surviving in a world of arguments
The best way to survive is to
- Avoid arguments at all costs
- Be willing to lose arguments and do so very quickly
Sometimes you walk into arguments as I did so many years at Federal Government College Kaduna. I had wandered into one of the dormitories, perhaps Niger House (or was it Limpopo?) and met a few lads arguing animatedly. As was the habit of the day, I asked what the contention was and was told by the leader of one of the two small groups that the question was this, “Is Bim Cusbie White or Black?” I said “Black of course” and the Black group rejoiced with raised hands and rushed to welcome me to their fold with hugs. The other group kept on arguing, led by a mixed race kid whose main point was that his family owned an album entitled White Christmas. I told him his glasses needed changing for I watched ‘Bim Cusbie’ on TV in the series called I Spy. His detective partner; Robert Culp was white but he was black. And so it went on. People heard the noise and joined a group based on their convictions. The centre of the dorm was buzzing as lads took sides. Each new recruit shook hands animatedly with older members ending each handshake with a flourish; the ritual snapping of fingers to denote brotherhood. With the passage of time the dorm had morphed into a two-party state, with each party containing about 15 lads. Suddenly in walked an ‘ajebuta’ with superior insight. He came to our group and we told him about the I Spy TV series and he said he was a fan. We rejoiced and hugged him. Then he walked over to the other group and agreed with them about the White Christmas album. We didn’t mind having opponents but traitors were abhorred. He had done the equivalent of leaving the PDP for APC. Our opponents were glad to have him. He soon called both groups together to explain to us politely that we were all foolish Nigerians. ‘Bim Cusbie’ was just the way our accents went. He explained that Bill Cosby was Black and Bing Crosby was White and that finally ‘Bim Cusbie’ was a figment of our mugu-ness.
Just do it (The chore). It takes 10 minutes to take the bins out so why argue about whose turn it is to take them out for 60 minutes?
This disarms all would-be debaters. Even when challenged in your field of expertise by the half educated, let it ride. Never cast your pearls of wisdom before swine. They will trample it under foot and come after you next. The wise will solicit expert opinions. The fools will be meddling fully assured that they know it all.
Be interested in foolishness
Rather than argue, study your opponents and learn their flaws. The cardiologist mentioned earlier, if interested, might have found out that the cook only learnt amphibian heart physiology before dropping out of school.
Growing up, my British friends asked who was the greatest Beatle and my USA friends asked who killed JFK? In Nigeria it was who stole the money? Nigeria’s enduring argument for the mugus!
Time to relax with Fela’s Authority Stealing!