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Fola Daniel Adelesi: The Arrogance of Ignorance



When you see someone who wants to brag, you will at least expect that the person has something really tangible and probably intimidating to brag about. That way, you will understand what the person is bragging about. It could be a piece of valued possession that the person is flaunting or some achievements in the past. Even at that you still expect them to be modest with their achievements and possessions.

What do you now say to someone who is ignorant and still arrogant? From time to time I come across a few people like this and for a long while I have thought about how best to describe them. The only way to now describe them is that they are ignorant and arrogant.

It’s okay if you do not know and no one will even blame you for not knowing everything. Regardless of where you have gone to study around the world, you still cannot know everything under this earth. There will always be someone who knows more than you. Those people are positioned to teach you a few things if only you will be willing to learn from such people.

When some people, especially employers, say that graduates are not employable, I often do not agree totally with them. I know they may have seen a few terrible experiences but when I now see the kind of terrible or poorly written messages that people are trying to pass across on social media, I am forced to have a rethink on my stand.

In the work places, there are bosses who also think that they have arrived. There are so many things they do not know but they will always want to prove to you that they are the boss. Since they are the boss they may not want it to be obvious that you are teaching them something about the work, so they never let you teach them. A few of them go outside to pay for trainings and learn those things on their own. They may now come back to prove to you that they know. At least those ones have gone to train. There are those who will not go anywhere to train and the lack of that knowledge is affecting their productivity.

Some are so arrogant that they know those who are very good at something and can get those things done. Because they are in charge of giving approvals for who does what, they will never allow the right person to do it. All they claim is that the person is showing off. He or she knows too much.

Maybe you have not witnessed this before, but I was going to ask if you have seen someone who is looking for an answer. He or she knows the person who can provide that answer but will never go to that person. He or she keeps going to those who do not have the answer or are not sure and all of them are point to that one person he or she is refusing to go and meet. That’s arrogance of ignorance.

Another way it happens is that you refuse to go to the person who has the right answer and the person you have gone to now wants to bring in the right person to answer the question. As soon as you notice the right person is about to be invited into the conversation you just shut the person down and ask them not to worry. Why would you do that? Why would you shut someone out of your conversation when you know that this person can provide the answer? Why can’t you bury your pride and learn?

There are people who also secretly wish to learn something from those who are considered inferior or subordinates to them. They make that person show how exactly he or she did everything without admitting that they are learning from that person. Sometimes when you see that someone is trying to learn or wishes to learn and you offer to make known something to them, they will ask you not to worry that they know it.

Whoever you are and wherever you are, there is no reason whatsoever to be ignorant and still be arrogant. When you hold your head high and there is nothing in it, it will soon fall off! It is when you keep equipping your head with great stuff that you can become very productive and you can also hold it high without any breeze taking it away.

Those who are truly going to become wise also know that wisdom can be hidden in any form and it can also come in any package. It can come from someone who looks like trash and it can be someone who looks young enough to be your grandchild. So long as it is wisdom, you can’t discard it. What you should discard is that arrogance that keeps retaining your ignorance.

Photo Credit:
Fola Daniel Adelesi is a professional public speaker who also trains other speakers, an author, business consultant and highly skilled master of ceremony with excellent poise and diction. He was on the Debaters TV reality show season 1, presented ‘You Can’ on Radio Continental in 2011, did motivational segments on Galaxy TV from Dec 2008 to August 2009 and has authored 3 books including Writing Business Proposal

Fola Daniel Adelesi (also Fola Daniel Speaks) is a Professional Public Speaker, Learning & Development Expert, Communications Professional, and an author of more than 13 books. He's a highly engaging training facilitator who holds his audience spellbound when speaking at gatherings. Apart from his several platforms which include banks, insurance companies, and religious organizations, he has been part of some national television shows and he spoke so intelligently. Some of his published books include: - Get Up and Hit That Goal - Basic Skills for Outstanding Leadership - Breaking Grounds Despite Backgrounds - Writing Business Proposals - Indebted to Ignorance He's also a highly skilled master of ceremony with excellent poise and diction who is endeared to many corporate clients. He was on the Debaters TV reality show Season 1, he presented 'You Can' on Radio Continental in 2011 and he did motivational segments on Galaxy Television from Dec. 2008 to August 2009. He currently features consistently on Channels Television and Television Continental, two of the leading TV stations in Nigeria to discuss national and youth issues. He keeps a vlog at and his books are available on or


  1. pynk

    May 1, 2014 at 10:54 am

    I know someone who is arrogant, ignorant and illiterate. Even when she doesnt know she always wants to talk. And I usually just want to scream at her to shut up and shut up. But I get up and walk away from the convo. She is family so she has to be tolerated.

    • Fola Daniel Adelesi

      May 1, 2014 at 10:35 pm

      That’s the wise things to do o! Sometimes I think they also know that they do not know but they don’t just want to be intimidated

  2. Kemi

    May 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

    God bless you for this, Fola. A while back, I wrote a piece about how what you have so aptly tagged as arrogance of ignorance plays into our relationships, seeing as some men believe a female should not speak where men are seated, regardless of the fact that she might have substantial knowledge of the object of discourse, to talk would be deemed as disrespectful and would make her to be seen as not good and an I too know or Oversabi. Meanwhile could someone give me a definition for those two words; Oversabi and “I too know”?

  3. Kili

    May 1, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    It is just plain INTMIDATION. Those kind of people are insecure.
    Never be ashamed to ask questions. Especially if it is to make you better. JUST ASK IT WONT KILL ANYWAY!! (I dont advise begging. I hate to beg, I ll rather save up and starve that go begging, it drives me nuts).
    Remember to say thankyou and give credit to who taught you.
    Especially in the work place. Say Thankyou. Not when after being put through and someone asks u oh how did u do this, this is brilliant and then you go oh it’s something I learnt from sec. School. It is pretty easy.
    Lastly I think lastly before going round and round asking questions. Think about it, does it require just common sense ( Only God knows how many problems i have solved by just sparing a moment to think about it)? How complex is it? Exhuast all your personal options.
    If no headway then by all means ask ( google inclusive lol ) just ask.

    On the flipside, can we talk about those who hoard knowledge too?
    Classic example was when I was in Uni I wasnt understanding all the math jargon we were doing in 100 level and 200level. I would cry and cry, look for who to tutorcme amongst my guru peers when I saw how condescending these guys became,realized that I would be doing math till 500level,
    I figured I needed to dedicate more time to studying and paying a lot more attention in class and my grades became better.
    We also need to upgrade oursleve from time to time.
    Finally, what you don’t know you don’t know. Just ask.

  4. Kili

    May 1, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Pardon any other typo that may come your way.

  5. Dr. N

    May 1, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    He who does not know and does not know that he does not know………

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