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The various uses of 'bros' and 'egbon' in Nigeria

In certain ways, it is a statement of camaraderie, other times, it connotes respect and other times

While some people manage to say call their families by their names, and it’s cool, the average Nigerian family with kids address each other with these signs of respect that become norm.

Even worse, some of our uncles, we call, “Daddy”. Nonetheless, as evolution became reality and style became necessary as it was evident that elite Nigerian families do not use those prefixes.

As a fix, Nigerians found replacements like “Bros” and “Egbon” as watered down respect, to retain respect without making the person being addressed feel awkward in public places.

Nonetheless, as the advent of pop culture became real and growth became truth, Nigerians created abuses from normal words like the British.

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The British use random words like mong, pipe, knob and so forth as weighty abuse that enter the bodies of victims like bullets from laced enabled sniper rifles.

The use of “Bros” and “Egbon” have now become a mainstay regular pop culture conversations with diverse meanings, while retaining the advent if it.

These days, regular people just want to be addressed by their names as prefixes of respect or their more catchy replacements like “Bros” and “Egbon” are considered unnecessary and archaic.

Addressing people by their names is considered elite and contemporary.

But basically, if it’s not about respect, it will definitely have the general sarcastic tone to it, but in that sarcasm lies that diverse uses of those two words.

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Thus, it seems pertinent to examine the various uses of “Bros” and “Egbon”

1.) Respect

Its use is usually genuine and meant to connote respect for older people. Sometimes, people say it just due to its normative value, without the atom of respect.

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In such circumstances, anger or hurt is the determinant factor. In such cases, you hear people say “Bros/Egbon…” before unloading a large curse or abuse.

Such instances are usually comical.

2.) Condescension

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Use: “Errmm, Bros/Egbon Ade, you nor go come down..”

It’s determinant factor is usually displeasure at such person. Even in some circumstances, older people sarcastically use it to address younger people, to convey the irony of their address.

Sometimes, these ways of address also make people feel less of themselves when the user wields it properly and adds a mad suffix to it as statement.

Imagine saying, “Bros/Egbon, you nor go go carry your potty wey you use pee?”

3.) Sycophancy for cheap privileges

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Use: “Bros/Egbon, please help me process this thing.”

At the root of this is desperation to get something done. It’s common in schools and places where a hustle is.

For example, a University admin building where people are rushing to submit documents or at a filling station during a scarcity of fuel.

It sometimes gets the job done, but it rarely stops the user of such words from giving you the sly Yoruba ‘Yimu’ when you turn your back, despite kneeling and prostrating before he got his stuff done.

Usually though, it is used for big headed people, big in respect before anything is done.

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Sometimes, it is genuine, but those times are outweighed by the times they are used to subtly derogate upon people.

4.) Derogation

At the root of every use of Bros/Egbon asides respect, there is a hint of derogation.

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But the most noticeable use of these words come in the manner Alonge said earlier. It usually lies with the person being addressed, who might feel pressed by the unnecessary respect.

When the addressee starts feeling this way, it just means he’s getting old or should simply shave his bald head which is misleading people.

Nonetheless, the game is the game. In the game, you can’t escape this respect thing… This is no sub to anybody! I repeat; this is no sub to anybody!

5.) Reverse insult — disguised as respect

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As from the narrative under “Derogation”, it happens when the addresser intentionally uses it to make the addressee/person being addressed uncomfortable, especially in a public place.

I promise you, only devil’s bastard spawns do this, and they have been cancelled, blocked and thrown out the imaginary window. Nobody shall rush them.

Other times, it is just plain old direct insult, public or private.

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6.) Street rep

Use: “Bros/Egbon yen…”

Basically, it is what it is under this heading. If you don’t have it, you don’t get it. If you have it, you have it. What it is; street credibility.

Your stance on the streets. A lot of people form it, but get called Egbon/Bros to their own faces and in there lies the discredit.

When you have real street cred, nobody will call you Egbon or Bros to your face because you will be too scary or unapproachable to be called such to your face.

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It usually comes with street reverence and pointed fingers as you pass. If you mistakenly flash then looks during any of these pointing sessions to describe you anybody who wants to know you, they just vanish faster than a horrible mess.

It is crazy.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

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