Since Wednesday evening, Ibrahim Idris, the Inspector General of Police, has been the butt of social-media jokes following the emergence of a video exposing his speech reading inadequacies.
In the now-viral video, Idris, speaking at an event, struggled embarrassingly with his speech, muttering “I mean, transmission, I mean effort, that the transmission cooperation to transmission, I mean transmission to have effect, ehm, apprehend, I mean, apprehensive towards the recommendation…” before finally apologizing to his audience.
“Sorry; I’m sorry, please,” he said but soon slipped into another round of “transmission I mean, apprehensive at the transmission of…and transmission and transmission for the effective in the police command.”
Painstaking viewing of the video will reveal that it was edited such that the IGP’s words were repeated, thereby accentuating his weakness. But the editing is not even the problem. The real problem is that Idris is likely suffering from a medical condition called Dyslexia.
According to the English Oxford Living Dictionaries, Dyslexia is “a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence”. The term was coined in German from dys- ‘difficult’ + Greek lexis ‘speech’ (apparently by confusion of Greek legein ‘to speak’ and Latin legere ‘to read’).
Not a determinant of intelligence
The IGP’s condition — as well as others closely related, like dysarthria, dyspraxia or apraxia — says Akeem Olowofela, a medical doctor who spoke with SaharaReporter.
“Some abilities — such as the ability to read, to articulate speeches and respond to sound (like dancing) — are controlled by the parietal lobe,” Olowofela explains.
“Now, the parietal lobe is not the seat of functions like memory and intelligence; that belongs to the frontal lobe. So, if nothing is wrong with the frontal lobe, then the IGP’s speech problem is of no concern. In fact, it doesn’t mean anything.”
Compatible with life
However, he said this cannot be known for certain until tests have been carried out.
“Only IQ tests can show that the speech problem is part of a larger cerebral dysfunction, which can be multi-lobal; that is affecting both parietal and frontal lobes.
“But that somebody has dyslexia, dysarthria, dyspraxia or even apraxia itself does not mean the person is unintelligent. It is very possible to have these conditions and still be very intelligent.
“To be honest, it is not a medically solvable problem. It can only be managed. People suffering these conditions should visit speech therapists for management. However, let me reiterate that these conditions are compatible with life. They do not determine the extent to which anyone will go in life; they do not determine reasoning or intelligence at all.”
Therefore, until the IGP has undergone IQ tests, those writing him off as unintelligent may want to momentarily hold on. In the end, it may turn out that they are right. But there’s also a chance they’re not!