By Godwin Adindu
Did you come across Mark Twain, the American ace humourist? I did. I read his Huckleberry Finn. One element that runs through the work is humour. Twain so perfectly deploys the device of humour in this work that he remains one outstanding referral in the use of humour in advancing plots in literature. Many great writers like Chinua Achebe consciously apply humour to bring out an important aspect of the human nature and human life.
Humour is a tool to make the audience laugh. It is funny, amusing and comical. The aim of humour is to break the monotony of officialdom and reduce serious situations to ridiculous situations. It raises laughter in order to reduce the tension associated with life. Humour is used in the written and spoken word. It comes in the form of satire or mock-heroics, where the user approaches persons and events by being sarcastic and witty, with the intension to make a mockery of such situations or make humour out of such situations.
Humour is uniquely human. There is the softer, unserious side of life. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu plays in this cubicle of the human nature. Also, the tendency to bring a touch of humour to everything, to see the comic side of every situation is also a natural flair, an endowment, a unique talent. Okezie (permission to address him with his first name), is born with this trait. It is a trait that is obviously the personality of Okezie.
Apart from having the gift of gab, Okezie has the rare knack, or call it talent, of interspersing his speeches with the spice of humour. It is a well-known personality of his. And, since psychologist say that personality is consistent across situations, Okezie is the same person as Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. On the question as to why the flyover has lingered, Okezie retorted: Ogbasara unu? (Does it concern you?) A resort to humour.
Significantly, this attribute of humour and speech have been a great strength in his work as a ruler and leader of men. I once wrote about the governor’s power of deploying words as a leader. So, when he got into his characterisitic mood in his interview with the Magic FM Radio, Igbo Achorman, Dee Mike, and tried to reduce the anxiety and pressure over the flyover to humour, many people not at home with his idiosyncracies have badly misconstrued him. They have stood on this misunderstanding of the man to lash at him.
But Okezie, frankly, was just being Okezie in his drift into humour to humanize the condition of the Osisioma Flyover. Yet, his message was clear: Though the speed has been stunted due to the flow of funds, the Osisioma Flyover will be completed. I took this assurance to heart and commended my boss for his frankness and sincerity of purpose. Like Governor Okezie, satire are often misunderstood. You will have to read in-between the lines before you can discern the message of the great satirist because the message is hidden and shrouded in humour. I trained under a great and master satirist, Ndaeyo Uko. He once told me of a top northerner calling him and thanking him for a piece he did on him, not knowing that the piece actually castigated him.
Humour is life. Life is so serious and tension-packed that man looks for a means of escape. The battle for survival could come with so much pressure that man naturally craves for a moment of laughter and amusement. This is the function that comedies, comic videos and shows, escapist literature and recreation parks play in our lives.
There are also born humour merchants. Humour flows from them naturally and they transmit it freely to us. It’s in their nature. It’s their personality. They see the comic side in everything; they speak in such a manner as to make us laugh and relax; they bring a touch of fun and reduce every situation to a funny situation. Okezie is still the same person as Governor Okezie.
•Adindu is director-general of Abia State Orientation Agency