History books taught that a British journalist and writer, Flora Louise Shaw, popularly known as Lady Lugard, is credited with having coined the name “Nigeria” in 1897.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko called on the Senate to consider a new name for the country in its proposed constitutional amendment.
HURIWA said ‘Nigeria’ has no root in the country since it was coined by a white lady who gave the name after taking a cup or two of ogogoro (local gin).
The group noted that the name is one of the major reasons why people like Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), addresses Nigeria as a zoo.
“Another proposition I want to make is about the name ‘Nigeria’. In amending the constitution, the name Nigeria should be scrapped. It is a foreign contraption given to us by a girl from Briton.
“None of our ancestors gave us that name Nigeria. Are we saying that we don’t have …we in HURIWA we can give the National Assembly one hundred names if they are looking for a name to give Nigeria.
“Nigeria is not our name. Nigeria is a name that was imposed on us by…don’t look at it like I’m talking down on the girl, a girl who sat down somewhere after taking a cup or two of ogogoro(local gin) and just said, ‘Nigeria’ and we just accepted it.
“My father was not there. Our ancestors were not there. So how can we accept a baptismal name that was imposed on us? You cannot name a child in its absence. Did any Nigerian give Britain the name ‘Great Britain’?
“We cannot continue with a name given to us by a girl who came all the way from Britain to visit her boyfriend and sat somewhere and say Nigeria. We should first of all reject the name Nigeria and carve a name for ourselves.
“Other countries all over Africa decided to do that some of them they gave Gold Coast and they rejected it because we’re not doing slave trade here. They carved a new name for themselves.
“We’re all aware that most of the countries in Africa changed their names, so why not we change ours. Let’s change this name. This name has become problematic to us.
“That’s why a mad man is somewhere saying Nigeria is a zoo. Maybe once we change the name they’ll stop calling us zoo. We’re no longer in the zoo.
“When someone keeps calling you a zoo if you don’t take time you’ll start behaving like someone in the zoo. So let us change this name Nigeria.”
KanyiDaily recalls that Ohanaeze Ndigbo had also called for an urgent change of the name of Nigeria to a better and positive one.
Ohanaeze said the change became necessary “as the name, Nigeria, connotes lack of progress, corruption, and darkness.”