Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon is a Nigerian activist-politician with an idiosyncratic comedic streak. He acquired notoriety as a member of the House of Representatives for extended speeches filled with exotic "dictionary" words.
Obahiagbon was a former member of House of Representatives; former House Leader, Edo State House of Assembly; Supervisory Councillor, Oredo LGA and former chairman, Edo State Lawn Tennis Association.
Reactions to his straight-faced comedic performances of bombastic verbosity vary from bewilderment to amusement. You can't but ask yourself — is this guy joking or is he serious about this?
Obahiagbon is a popular politician with ordinary people who see his performances as calculated parody of the Nigerian elite class who deliberately take advantage of their higher education to confuse and exploit simple folk.
While he was a member of the House of representatives, he was seen by many as champion of the underprivileged and a rights activist. He was constant thorn in the flesh to his legislative colleagues because of his resolute opposition to legislative moves he considered selfishly motivated. He claims he was schemed out of the House of Representatives not because of his language but because he frustrated attempts to foist bad laws on Nigerians. Obahiagbon describes the hostility he endured as an activist in the House of Representatives:
"Of course...a concatenation of Machiavellian colloquy enveloped in punitive vendetta preceded my supposed parliamentary guillotine. Of course they were not in the mood for robust dialectics. I had dealt a mortal blow to their calculative solar plexus and I must be dealt with. 'Enough of the 'obahiagbonesse!'
"So, it was a mob reaction and when I made to [justify] my earlier position that the action of parliament amounted to legislative rascality, my justification indeed further added fuel to their anger [against me]..."
What is amazing about Obahiagbon is his ability to speak extempore while drawing without hesitation on a massive store of exotic words which fit the context of his intended meaning, even if too often awkwardly. He practically never uses an irrelevant "dictionary" word in any given context and almost never repeats the same word in a manner suggestive of a bounded vocabulary.
Nigerian journalists jut love interviewing this man for the comic relief, and he is always pleased to play along with a deadpan expression. When Vanguard asked about his popular nickname 'Igodomigodo,' he explained:
"Igodomigodo is a political sobriquet I have habilimented [to] togarise my identity for a period...to emblematize my culturico-spiritual fons et origo. It was an advertent stratagem to cosmopolitanize my genealogical matrix and arcane trajectory...IGODOMIGODO, being the pristine nomenclature of the Bini man, evokes in me the alacritous presence of the invisible 'gods' of my progenitors which, by itself, invokes a luxuriation in an ancestral egregore of pristine resurgimento."
A condolence message Obahiagbon sent to the family of Pa Anthony Enahoro, one of Nigeria's founding fathers, at his death, read:
"Certainly the fall of another titan. Chief Anthony Enahoro’s modus Vivendi, while he peregrinated through this will-o-the-wisp of a three dimensional world, resonated with a divine halo of an iconic personage who was propelled by the PIRKEAVOTHIAN apothegm which urges man to realize 'that the day is short and the work is great…'"
The last time the Nigerian government removed subsidy on petroleum products, Obahiagbon's angry reaction was:
"I have read with acatalectic disgust, governments asinine and puerile ratiocination attempting to [justify] the proposed removal of subsidies from petroleum products. It has asseverated that it’s intentions are guided by the need to checkmate the odoriferous excesses of a Machiavellian and mephistophelean cabal...what a shame?...What hocus-pocus? What an anathematous disdain for it’s citizenry? Must the people now bear the brunt for governments ineptitude...and pusillanimity in squaring up with these economic philistines and fat cows?"
Once, when Saturday Vanguard asked him why he "blows big grammar" in his speeches at the House of Representative, he swore that he was avoiding for the sake of intelligibility the bigger words in his vocabulary. The legal practitioner with two Masters degrees, said with apologies to the masses:
"The truth is that I do not deliberately set out to mystify...or to deposit my audience in a portmanteau of indecipherability..or conundrum...If you have the opportunity to listen to my speeches or debates...fifteen years ago, then it would have been a different kettle of fish...I am trying...to ensure that my idiolect is as limpid and as diaphanous as possible. But...I am an omnivorous reader and I put my nose on the grinding stone to read for more than 7 hours a day when most innocent men are sleeping, and night marauders are doing their business. I am on my table, in my library for 7 hours. I spend on the average not less than an hour a day referencing the dictionary for the past twenty to twenty-five years."Obahiaghon's comedy: A parody of the 'beauty of simplicity' lost in today's world
He was an active supporter of the Occupy Nigeria movement during the nationwide protests following the removal of fuel subsidy by the Nigerian federal government. In an interview, he "lambasted" Nigeria's ruling elite and introduced a new word describing Nigeria's system of government: Cabalocracy.
The eulogies on his Facebook page are endless. A fan on Facebooks says: "I enjoy ur comedy my dear Hon. I need it plenty!"
Another, lamenting Obahiagbon's ouster from the House of Representatives, posts on his Facebook page: "...erudite scholar, a philanthropist, activist, freedom fighter, man of the masses, hero. Nigerians at large miss ur vocabulary in the national assembly. 'Mr speaker sir,' it is a pitiable dismal pismal, it is very regrettable lugubrious..."
A Nigerian writer sums up the essence of Obahiagbon's comedy as parody of the "beauty of simplicity" lost in today's world.