Since the birth of education in Africa and the adverse use of English and other foreign languages, the common natives or ‘village man’ has ceaselessly intensify his in-born prom to suit the dynamics of these languages for the simple purpose of expressing thoughts,
ideas and even emotions thereby forming new words.
Efforts by both parents and government alike have been geared towards ensuring a well-read nation in Nigeria but situations and circumstances continues to halt and tranquil these efforts thereby making room for its neglectedness for quick money (Efe okpakpa).
The term ‘monkey-handed‘ is a common adjective used by individuals to qualify anyone who is unwilling to spend. People of this nature are often compared to monkeys who in their nature, do not open up to giving but wants to receive from humans and add to what they have already.
The words ‘monkey‘ and ‘hand’ in ‘monkey-handed’ are negative conominees connoting unwillingness to give.
‘Aka-gum‘ on the other part, is a locally made gum that has the ability to hold together not only smooth surfaces like paper or leather but rough surfaces like wood and when done cannot be undone or separated to its initial state unless scathe.
Both the later and former, when joined in one sentence, is to connote the extreme form of stinginess. This concept is often used by individuals who are age-grades, parents to children in their everyday discussions, gossips and in description of a person with higher status.
These terms cannot be traced to any individual or social group as its originator but it’s widely used by both the educated and non-educated alike. Though, monkey-handed and aka-gum are phrases that surface in mostly discussion of Southerners and Easterners in Nigeria.
- He is too monkey-handed for my liking.
- He uses aka-gum to glue his hand to his pocket.
- He too get monkey-hand.
- Na aka-gum Nazi dem take gum he hand.
- The guy too dey monkey-handed and aka-gum.
- Na you be monkey-hand.
The sentences above are perfect usage of the terms in both English language and in pidgin (Nigerian) English.
Sentences 1 and 2 above are illustrations of its usage in active communication in Nigerian English. While sentence 3, 4, 5 and 6 are strong examples of its usage in Nigerian pidgin English.
In evaluation of the sentences in 1 and 2, sentence 1: He is too monkey-handed for my liking.
“Monkey-handed” here paints the picture of a person who wants to receive but will never give out hence he is stingy.
Sentence 2: He uses aka-gum to glue his hand to his pocket.
“aka-gum” as seen in sentence 2 suggests that nothing comes out and in the world view of people from these regions of Nigeria shows that it is only money that is found in a man’s pocket hence he does not give money to anybody for any reason. Only saving.
We do not say that when one asks and he is not given then the other person becomes an aka-gum or monkey-hand but for extreme stinginess.
From sentences 3, 4, 5 and 6 sentences, we will examine only two.
Sentence 3: He too get monkey-hand.
Sentence 6: Na you be monkey-hand.
The two sentences above are perfect example of what and how extreme stinginess looks like. In sentence 3, his hands are always close and only open to collect or receive from others.
In sentence 6, “monkey-handed” is used in ridiculing the person’s character.
The above examples and evaluations, makes one to draw a conclusion that the concept of monkey-hand and aka-gum is gradually becoming a universally accepted idiom.
(c) Ufuoma Kelvinson Ighomuaye 2016
Ufuoma Kelvinson Ighomuaye also known as Piercez De Gr8 is a graduate of Linguistics/Urhobo from Delta State University, Abraka. He is a humourist and also among the Certified Mugu Comedy (CMC) crew. He is one person who believes “nothing” is impossible as long as focus and determination is there.