Lagos House Of Assembly New Look: A Dress code, That Is Worthy Of Emulation

(By Polycarp Onwubiko)

In international conferences, 99 per cent of the delegates appear in modern suits.  African presidents and their senior officials, those from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe as examples, appear in suits. It is only Nigerian delegates who appear in amorphous, voluptuous, archaic and ridiculous attires, making them a butt of jokes in international fora. The very relevant question is: How many countries have copied the so-called “rich cultural attires” of the ethnic groups in Nigeria?

A MAJOR landmark has been recorded in the long drawn struggle to emancipate the psyche of some Nigerians from decadent and misleading consciousness in the name of “rich cultural heritage” and fervency for its rejuvenation. The initiative of the executive and legislative arms of Lagos State government on a dress code for the staff of the House of Assembly is a civilised pace setting worthy of emulation by other states in the federation. Nigerians who have been weaned from the grip of anti-civilisation and anti-modern mode of doing things, all in the name of showcasing the so-called Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, were fascinated by the state government’s dress code for public servants.

According to a publication on July 11, 2013, shirt, tie and suit for men and a modern designed outfit for the women would “make their appearance unique and attractive and be in line with global standards in terms of legislation, decency and human development in consonance with what goes on the corporate world”.

  The Lagos State government must be commended for displaying the rare courage to call a spade a spade in terms of the imperative of being conscious of the ever changing trends in civilised countries with respect to good governance and modern dressing found among public officials and international businessmen. Going by the conservative mindset of some people, the supposed “rich cultural dress code” or deep-rooted culture of Yoruba ethnic group would have been advocated and preferred.

  It is the wish of this writer that the respectable and admirable dress code will be extended to the state television station to make the news casters key into the global standards with ripple effects getting to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) news casters and state governments as well as private television stations.

  In the naïve notion of showcasing the supposedly “rich cultural attires of ethnic groups in Nigeria, the news casters in the NTA have been appearing in amorphous, voluptuous and archaic dress code showcasing the discriminately selected three ethnic groups namely Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba; and faith-based mode of dressing for women.

  States owned television stations, without knowing the hidden reason behind the rule, have been impervious to suggestions by discerning and civilised-minded people who abhor the content of the dress code invented by Nigerians hundreds of years ago which are no longer in tune with modernity and creativity in dress code the world over. The ludicrous impressions which the rule seeks to create are that shirt with tie and with or without suit are relics of colonialism and should be abhorred as abominable.

   The fact is that shirt with tie or complete suit is the best code in the world; it is never archaic since the styles have been undergoing changes to reflect creativity and societal dynamics.

  In international conferences, 99 per cent of the delegates appear in modern suits.  African presidents and their senior officials, those from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe as examples, appear in suits. It is only Nigerian delegates who appear in amorphous, voluptuous, archaic and ridiculous attires, making them a butt of jokes in international fora. The very relevant question is: How many countries have copied the so-called “rich cultural attires” of the ethnic groups in Nigeria?

   It is important to make a case for wearing shirt with tie or a complete suit for television newscasters. About 99 per cent of the television components are the ingenuity, science and technology of the Whiteman. It is, therefore, naïve to perceive the Whiteman’s attire (suit, shirt with tie) as an abomination for the television newscasters in the studio.

  The dress code of newscasters of Igbo extraction is archaic, displeasing and uninspiring to the children and youths—all in the name of showcasing the supposedly “rich Igbo cultural dress”. These newscasters put on the dress and traditional chieftain’s attire which were fashionable in the 1930s, and also velvet clothe with lion and elephant inscription with a red cap to match which historically originated from North Africa (and other repulsive caps) which were fashionable at the end of 1970s.  At times, they naïvely put on Hausa-Fulani caftan, babaringa with caps peculiar to the North, Benue and River states. These make them to look like cynical old village folks. But when you see them in shirts, tie, suit and designer wears without cap while covering news at public events, they look enlightened, elegant, handsome and cute.  Pray, who is that in Nigeria that does not admire lawyers, bankers, insurance staff and pastors who are always in shirt with tie or suit?

  Why should we meekly succumb to the subtle propaganda or presumptuous posturing of ethno-religious irredentists to swallow line, hook and sinker their value system in dress by wearing caps always? The wearing of cap is not indigenous to any ethnic group in Nigeria; and Igbos, being Christians, do not put on caps at public occasions because caps are not permitted in the church.  It is, therefore, improper to compel all the newscasters to put on caps and spinsters to put on the attire of married women.

Onwubiko, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Anambra State.

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

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