Awo vs ọgberi

Mo ki yin o!

This greeting in Yorùbá means I salute you. It’s still a fresh year and I am looking forward to a great year. I will be using a lot of Yorùbá words which will not bore you but make you see things from the worldview of my culture.
As growing children, there are many professions that we desire to be a part of; some of these dreams materialize while some fail. Such professions include medical doctors, engineers, lawyers etc. These professions are guided by many rules, specialized training and technical jargons. For those who are trained, they are the professionals (awo) while the untrained are quacks (ọgberi).

Awo is someone who can decipher and communicate in a technical language (coded language). If two doctors want to converse on the best treatment in the patient’s presence; it is likely that the patient would not understand them because of the medical terms that they employ. That is one of the features that set the person apart from others. A professional is known through the training, language, expertise, associates and many more.

gberi is someone who cannot decode the language of the professional. An unskilled person might have an idea of what is being discussed in technical terms but would not be able operate at the level in which the experts are operating. Any attempt for ọgberi to practice a profession in which he is not skilled is in fact, manslaughter and this attracts grievous punishments.
This year, we should desire to move from the level of a quack to becoming a professional in all spheres of life. There are professions that allow people to function with the basic prerequisite of a degree but there are certifications that would enhance their technical know-how. Such people need to get tired of this present predicament and move on to the next height by being trained. Some sayings give more credence to the discourse ‘Knowledge is Power’ and ‘If you think education is expensive try ignorance’.
I want to end with a proverb that says, ‘ete awo, lete ọgberi’ which means once professionals fail; quacks are doomed.
Have a great week ahead.

(c)Olutayo IRAN-TIOLA, Lagos, Nigeria
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