Posted by News Express | 7 September 2013 | 6,166 times
Patrick Obahiagbon, former federal lawmaker and incumbent Chief of Staff to the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, is famous for his bombastic English. In this interview excerpted from Saturday Punch, Obahiagbon gives a peep into his world and reveals how he gets the verbal bombs he drops with ease. He also reveals why he Obahiagbon pulls his trousers up beyond the waist and speaks on his 2015 plans.
I am by the grace of the celestial choir, a legal practitioner, a public administrator, an international historian and a diplomat. I earned a degree in Law and was called to the Nigerian Bar as a solicitor and advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria about 25 years ago and I do also have a double-barreled Master’s degree in Public Administration and in International History and Diplomacy.
Why he always speaks ‘big grammar’.
I am not really consensus ad idem with those who opine that my idiolect is advertently obfuscative. No . . . no . . . no, it’s just that I am in my elements when the colloquy has to do with the pax nigeriana of our dreams and one necessarily needs to fulminate against the alcibiadian modus vivendi of our prebendal political class.
How he talks to his wife, children and even friends.
I relate with my family and friends very warmly and in an atmosphere of camaraderie, stripped of my confutational habiliment and gladiatorial homilies. I am a very peaceful, calm, level-headed and celestially attuned soul personality.
Is this the way he proposed to his wife, speaking high tech grammar?
Of course, the business of the day when I interfaced with my wife on matters of the heart had to be in plain Caeser’s language and you can decipher why that had to be so. The matter in view did not permit itself of sphinxian conundrum.
It’s a long time ago, so I can’t remember the exact words I used. We had a relationship for ten years before we got married. We’re looking at close to 20 years ago.
How does his family understand his English?
My family and friends understand me perfectly just the same way you understand me now though, I must admit that it depends on the issues on the piazza.
Is this the way he spoke in his school days?
I’m sure if you confer with my school mates they will tell you that I no longer speak what those who just know me now call “grammar.” I could speak for about 20 minutes when I was in the university and you won’t understand one word of what I said. I must say I have deteriorated in my grammatical construct.
How did he start speaking in this manner?
It all happened when my father brought me a teaser which stated that good orators had ruled the world and you must have to be a feisty orator if you must rule the world. As an impressionable young man, I alacritously threw myself into the whirligig of improving my usage of words by amassing new words on a daily basis.
Did he write exams in school in these big words?
I used such words very-very freely in my exams both at the secondary school and in my university and little wonder I had the misfortune of my English results being seized intermittently in my O’ Levels.
WAEC released my results for the other subjects and withheld my English result. This happened for about three years. Twice, I passed the University Matriculation Examination but I could not proceed to the university because of my English results that were not released. At the end of the day, it was released after the third attempt.
Didn’t he have problems with his teachers?
It no doubt gave me serious issues at the university and that is because some, if not most of my lecturers, ran away with the erroneous impression that my attitudinal predilection had a deprecable tinge of academic braggadocio and intellectual megalomania. But this assumption was both mendacious and a fallacious ad hominem. I could not but take solace in that Latin apothegm which states that O Tempora! O Mores.
Was English his best subject?
My best subject in secondary school was government and religion and am sure that I was drawn to religion because, I now know as a student of Rosicrucian mysticism, that I was a student of divine light in my last incarnation. As for government, I just fell in love with the subject due to my early attraction in life to issues of political-economy.
So what did he score in English Language?
English Language was of course my hobbyhorse and passion but like I earlier asseverated, my results were constantly guillotined to my utter chagrin that I had to lapse into a jeremiad of lachrymoseim for a period of aeon. I would need to check the result again to be sure of my score.
Does he pray the same way he speaks?
God understands all languages, my brother, and I pray to God using any word that pops up. May I posit that the key points in prayers are your sincerity, purity of heart, walking within the compass and to what extent are you ready and worthy of receiving the benediction of the cosmic and the cosmic masters because as we say in mysticism “when the students are ready, the masters would appear.”
Take my words my brother that more than 70 per cent of humanity don’t know how to pray but that is a matter for another day.
Are there other names he calls God?
God is variously known as Jehovah, Yaweh, The Great Grand Architect of the Universe, The Cosmic Host and several other names known alone to heirophants but which names are so ineffable for me to mention here.
Do he know that many people don’t take him too seriously when he talks because they think he is not communicating?
Why will I be perturbed from ensconcing myself in the palatable arms of Morpheus because people have deprived themselves of the cultivation of the regime of the mental magnitude? I read all the farrago of baloneys and vacuous bunkum from pepper soup objurgators. The spirit of animadversion remains their fundamental human right. It also remains an indubitable fact that I get millions and millions of requests daily from people all over the world requesting for my verbal mentorship which positive cosmopolitan reactions have assisted my equipoise and righteous sense of pachydermatous garb. I cannot put my nose to the grindstone daily and expect to be understood by those luxuriating in a modus vivendi, verging on pepper souping, goat heading, suyaing, big stouting and isiewulising. Has a philosophical wag not once pontificated that things of the spirit are spiritually discerned and that it takes the deep to call the deep? We will speak more on this matter of critiques and chichi dodo another day.
How he felt when a teacher in his state couldn’t pronounce ‘solemnly’.
I was indeed sad that a teacher in Edo State could not pronounce a simple word as ‘solemn’. That was certainly one of my low moments in the service of Edo State but the eulogies must go to Comrade Adams Oshiomhole who put in place the infrastructure that made it possible to detect such an egregious ambience and this government would stop at nothing in cleansing the Augean stables.
Has he ever considered organising English classes in Edo State?
I would have loved to organise English classes, my brother, but you will agree with me that I am sufficiently busy just now.
Why he pulls his trousers up beyond the waist?
Hahahaha….That trousers style is called Yohji Yamamoto. It was my own audacious statement to remonstrate against the pervasive tendency of Nigerians especially our youths that took to the practice of putting on trousers exposing their lower anatomical contours and I will do it over and over again.
When he speaks to Caucasians of English origin, how do they react?
My friends that are whites simply marvel and sometimes get maniacally bewildered when we engage, most times to my consternation.
Does he think that he understands English better than the owners of the language?
I have never had the ambition to know the English Language more than the owners. However, I must mention that they are shocked most times to find out several words from me they never heard of that existed in the dictionary. Yet, those words are supposed to be theirs. Na so we see am.
Has he ever met with the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka? And what’s his opinion of him?
Professor Wole Soyinka is an international personality. It’s either you have met him personally or by reputation. He is a great man and I enjoy reading him anytime, any day.
Can he ever be caught speaking what many would consider as normal English?
I speak in plain Ceaser’s language or what you call the normal language and let me tell you that I will hold my own even in pidgin conversation. No just try me at all at all o.
Does he look forward to developing his own dictionary?
My own dictionary? I have never really given that a thought, but there is a young man in one of our universities who travelled all the way to meet me in Benin. His doctoral thesis is on “Obahiagbonism as a style of language.”
How many dictionaries does he read a day and how often does he read dictionaries?
I have read and still do read a vaudeville of dictionaries from Websters to Funk and Wagnalls, from Cambridge to Oxford dictionaries, from Black’s Law Dictionary to Encarta and from Encyclopedia Britannica to Foreignisms, etcetera. I developed my corpus of vocabulary by reading omnivorously. I have also spent nothing less than an hour daily on my dictionary for over 20 years. So, whereas the dictionary for most people is a mere occasional reference point, it is for, me a vade-mecum. It may also interest you to know that there is much to learn from our daily newspapers.
He seems to mix English with other languages…
On mixing of languages, that comes with reading omnivorously. You cannot but pick these words here and there if you have an audacious reading culture.
Is any of his children like him?
My children are still growing but I petition the celestial choir and cosmic hosts to give them the gift of kissing the hybla bee.
His your favourite quote.
One of my favorite quotes is from the sapiential mind of the late Ikene philosopher, Papa Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo, when he was quoted as saying that, “the greatest glory is not in never falling but to rise up after a fall.”
Is he planning to contest in 2015?
I always feel flattered and smile with delight when I hear positive commentary on my tenure at the National Assembly and the wish of Nigerians to see me back at the National Assembly. I am humbled but as a student of mysticism, nothing happens in my life by accident. I am a robot in the hands of God and from that point of view therefore, 2015 would take care of itself. All my efforts just now my brother is geared towards complementing the efforts of the comrade governor in the total transmogrification of Edo State which is enough to chew at the moment. Let me however use this opportunity of your question to appreciate my numerous admirers all over the world.
How he is coping with the Governor of Edo State, knowing that the two of them have strong personalities?
When two or more personages are united only by the bonds of rendering service, that in itself becomes an agglutinating fragrance. In any case, I am very clear that Comrade Oshio Baba is the Governor of Edo State and I am his privileged Chief of Staff. So we are working together very harmoniously and in an ambience of conviviality in our unstoppable desire in taking Edo State to the next level.
•Photo shows Obahiagbon.
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