Weekly Column: The significance of names

By Omordia,  Efe Alexandra  – In this part of the world, names are very significant. The process that leads to the naming of a child is usually a family affair and when I say a family affair I don’t just mean the exclusive arrangement of a father and mother deciding over breakfast what to name their offspring no no no! It goes way beyond that; it goes as far as what grandma, grandpa and the whole clan think about the choice. Names bore by individuals are as diverse as the sub-continent’s ethnic groupings. However, the similarity in most of these choices lies in the fact that the names chosen depict an important event or the wishes of the adults for the newly born. Abstract Names like Blanket or Wind are seldom bore; one is more likely to come across a “GoodLuck” or even a ‘Saviour’. Well, before you start chuckling at such choices; let me quickly inform you that the Democratic President of Nigeria, ‘Goodluck’ Jonathan rose to his present position from that of a Deputy Governor without ever going through the hassles of standing for an election (to get more details about his peculiar story check his profile on the internet). His name seems to be working for him.

The name a person bears goes a long way in describing the culture that exists within his/her environment. Names of places and tangible items also have a lot to do with the culture and habits of a people. That is why it may seem strange to a first time visitor to Lagos, Nigeria to be invited to hang out in ‘Cocaine Avenue’ or to be given a jute bag that is popularly known as ‘Ghana-must-go’. If that first time visitor stays long enough with his hosts to experience Power Cuts (which are as sure as death), he/she will hear his hosts give instructions to the security  personnel to put on the ‘I’m better than my neighbour’ which by the way is the popular name of an electrical generating set. Over here names mean a whole lot more than one can ever imagine.