We all know the expression ‘what’s in a name. In Africa, names mean everything, thus the biggest celebration of a newborn after seven days in Africa is the naming ceremony. For Africans, there is a lot in a name. There is a reason that most spiritual traditions attach huge importance to naming – be it at the time of birth, adoption, or religious conversion.
According to historians, the name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined on January 8, 1897, by British journalist Mrs. Flora Macaulay who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator. River Niger was the most revered physical feature in Nigeria during the colonial era. However, historians that disagree with this version of history contend that the name Nigeria was borne out of a racist term: Nigger- Area.
Whatever the true origin of Nigeria may be, millions of Nigerians worldwide now believe that it’s time to reject all aspects of colonial ties and legacies in Africa. Renaming Nigeria will be a step in the right direction. This is not a novel idea in Africa and around the world.