We are indeed at a point of re-birth. Nigeria strayed for most of its past years since inception and was known for most things not too good. We had very little to be proud of and our national pledges and anthems were jokes to us. Bearing a corruption brand, we were ashamed to say we were from Nigeria and reluctantly pulled out our green passports when we travelled.
We achieved firsts in the worst scourges: world kidnapping capital, most corrupt nation, worst level of accountability, most oil-spill polluted shore, 419 capital, worst governments in the world, most poor per population, most looted nation, highest high sea piracy, most deadly terror group, worst country to be born… you name it.
What’s in a name? Everything. The Bible says, “1 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. 2 Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:1-2.
In Islam they say, choose a name that bestows virtue, do not name your child something meaningless like Bumblebee, then your child will end up so. The Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “You will be called on the Day of Resurrection by your names and the names of your fathers, so have good names.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)
In fact, interestingly the (potential) child in Islam has fundamental rights over the father, three of them are; 1. A right to a good mother, i.e. a man violates his unborn child’s right when he selects a worthless woman as his wife. 2. A right to a good name. And 3. A right to good education.
Culturally our names all had meanings. They praised where we were coming from, they recalled our past heroes, they characterized virtues and predicted character for us. They also revered our creator. A son of a Kenyan man, Obama was christened, “Barack,” meaning blessing. It was no accident he got blessed to become the president of the United States.
Likewise it is by no accident that a man they chose to name “Goodluck,” had the luck of his master-governor being arrested and the luck of his master-president dying, to ascend both steps to the number one position in Nigeria. Had he been named Clueliow, Lord knows, he may have remained the lecturer at college of education and the best he would have achieved would have been completing that his suspended PhD. Well let’s not deviate.
It is not in our culture to adopt meaningless or perhaps even evil names.
Nigeria: A Name That Promotes A Lie, A Theft Of Heritage
Again, looking at the foundation of our name, the same name neighbor “Niger” was christened but the English version; Nigeria I believe connotes River Niger, the river that the colonialist falsely claimed to have discovered. Hence our name continues to propagate the lie. In a past 2013 article, “Mungo Park Did Not Discover River Niger…But Mansa Abubakari II Discovered America,” I described the many other names and symbolisms we attributed to river Egerew Nigerewen, or Isa Ber, or Orimili, or Kwara and Oya as were the many beautiful names by which we knew it. Perhaps promoting this lie as our name is part of our crippling burden.
Our fortune has perhaps been tied to us having a bad name and/or/in any case has become tied to it. Either way, at this point in our history; as change has at last come and we as a people have grown together, suffered together and decided together to here-on-out, ensure our revolution and quest for excellence is never waylaid; I believe it is time we shed our perhaps bad name.
Reading Buhari’s opinion editorial on WashingtonPost today, it is clear our President embarked on a full system overhaul. He delayed appointment of Ministers to first create what a real Ministry should be, an integrity-based template, then employ true civil servants to fulfill the established obligations due. He is decided on restarting Nigeria from the scratch.
Let’s really rebrand Nigeria. Let this change be complete. All that’s left that is a drag to this country is that shameless N150 billion guzzling legislative covetous NASS sect, the 469 of them and the country’s name.
I suggest we all pick names…perhaps we can use a hashtag, #NigeriaNameChange and tweet our suggestions. The ones that are retweeted most would make the cut?
Lord knows what the wicked colonialist was thinking when he chose Nigeria. Probably something sinister. Probably some evil colonialists were making jest of us in a room, sitting on the backs of our ancestors on their fours (being used as stools) and pulled out the name, “Nigeria” from their back parts. Do you trust them? I don’t. So let’s do away with that and usher in a new future on a clean slate.