Achievement Vs Ascription: the Nigerian Experience

In today’s industrialised and nanosecond-paced world, people who control the distribution of wealth are of various shades and sizes, backgrounds and pasts. However, from any perspective we may want to view it, some excel more than the others with a particular socioeconomic background. Before we go further: let us operationally define ACHIEVEMENT and ASCRIPTION.

Achievement versus Ascription – what you have done versus who you are. The importance of the right school in France (Ascription) versus the importance of what you did yesterday (US – achievement). In other words, those with negative ascription sometimes become those with positive achievements. But those with negative achievements may not necessarily be people with positive ascription.

Putting it vividly: OBAMA vs BUSH (immediate past). A lot of big, multinational companies are headed by heirs of founding owners in the same way as some countries were ruled by offsprings of past presidents or prime ministers. However, more achievements have been tilted in favour of one side of the diad. But while growing up, I saw kids of the affluent who crossed over to the Boys Quarters (BQ) of the gardener’s kids and tried to mix with the latter and learn one or two tricks about ‘jungle life’ or whatever. Their parents dare not find them mingling with aje-pakos (those without ability to afford the good things of life). These kids of the affluent (the aje-butters) who crossed over to the BQ’s to play, got to know life the hard way. especially when they were left off to boarding schools.

Nigerian footballers are a good example in this regard. More than 90% had aje-pako upbringings. Even the 10% aje-butters either had coaches as their dads, or crossed over to BQ’s to play five-a-side with the pakos! Some aje-butter parents actually take their sons into military schools then to toughen them up 4 the eventualities of the reality of life

My dear friends, is there any reason to believe that achievement-oriented personalities tend to do better than ascription-oriented people in leadership tasks? have you noticed anything around you or around history?

PS. One who is from an affluent background, who ran away from home and became an achiever by himself or herself cannot clearly fall into the ascription category (except of course he/she used his/her name to open doors).

Coming to America, by Eddie Murphy is a good instance here – ascription hiding its identity in order to achieve.

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