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Left-handedness: Stakeholders task government on inclusiveness

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Cross section of left-handers during the celebration in Lagos.<br />

Convener of Lefthanders Project and Director, Active Projective Limited, Mrs. Adesola Oyinloye-Ndu, has appealed to the Nigerian government to provide infrastructure and formulate policies that would favour southpaws in the country.

She made the call in Lagos at a forum to enlighten and sensitise families and the public on the challenges facing left-handed people and the support they need. The forum was to mark the 2019 Left-handers Day.

Oyinloye-Ndu, who expressed frustration that lefthanders were still being looked down at, and considered as evil in some cultures, added that it is worse when they are forced to switch.

She said: “Many of such switched left-handers end up doing badly academically, and some grow with low self-esteem if they do not have good family support system as I did. Some even become slow in processing information. That happened to me because it is the central nervous system that is being impacted upon.”

She expressed delight at the huge support she got from her parents early in life, and urged, “ignorant parents, caregivers and teachers to be empathetic to left-handers because acts aimed at changing the status quo would ultimately affect their intelligence, lead to low self-esteem and sluggishness, among others. The cultural beliefs and negative reasons also affect left-handers.”

While warning that forcing left-handers to switch comes with dire consequences, she added that already, lefties have enough trouble battling to be proficient in the use of items designed and produced for right-handed people.

According to her, “it is so tough for a leftie to cut a straight line with a pair of scissors designed for righties. Being a southpaw can also have some subtle effects on our physical and mental health. In developed societies, special items like rulers, scissors, and desks are given to lefties all in a bid to ease their challenges.”

Another leftie, Issabella Jones regretted that, being left-handed in Africa is considered weird, and lefties have a lot to deal with. “Africans look at left-handers with disdain and quite often reject left-handed handshakes; receiving money from a left hand, and collecting things from an outstretched left hand. Left-handers are usually considered as evil people, who are up to no good. As a leftie myself, I’ve had to learn how to shake with my right hand, and I have been told that a left-handed slap is usually painful. Lots and lots of negative stuff are attributed to lefties. But the truth of the matter is that left-handed people have I.Qs of over 140 higher than right-handed people, which is in the genius bracket.”

Also recounting experiences as a leftie, Jones said: “I was lucky to have parents who didn’t stop my sister and me from using our left hands or attempting to make us use our right hands. What many do not know is the fact that lefties are intelligent people who can solve problems in a matter of seconds, thinking on their feet. I’m proud of being a leftie.”

Some researches claim that lefties are smarter and they make up a disproportionately large population of intelligent people.

A possible theory is that the use of both sides of the brain helps in processing a large amount of information. The left hemisphere processes analytic and verbal style of thinking and the right one is associated with a holistic, creative style.

Southpaws are also said to be better at multitasking. This is because the conversations between the left and right hemispheres seem to be processed faster in people who are left-handed and this ability has been found to increase with the increased dominance of the left hand.

Lefties can easily deal with a large, unorganised stream of information, alleged to have better memories and can remember the exact dates of events, and sometimes, even the exact words that were spoken. Better memories have been observed in people who are right-handed but belong to a family that has many lefties.

Additionally, lefties are said to have an advantage in interactive sports as most right-handed players practice against right-handed counterparts and when they face lefties, they are not ready. This is advantageous for left-handed players who can overcome right-handed and left-handed players easily.


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