An aide to President Muhammadu Buhari has said the president is not responsible for the proposed change of Nigeria’s name to the United African Republic.
Bashir Ahmad, Buhari’s special assistant on new media, said a group or individual was responsible for proposing the United African Republic as a name for Nigeria.
“It’s not the Nigerian government, particularly, Pres Buhari that submitted the change of name proposal, it’s an individual or a group that submitted it,” Ahmad tweeted on Thursday.
“But a large number of people have already taken it to their head, accusing the President of something he absolutely no hand in.”
The presidential aide’s response came after Nigeria’s House of Representatives received a proposal to rename Nigeria to the United African Republic (UAR).
‘Why Nigeria should be renamed the United African Republic’
Adeleye Jokotoye, a tax consultant in Lagos state, who proposed that Nigeria should be renamed the United African Republic argued that the current name was not given to the country by its citizens but by Flora Shaw, wife of Lord Lugard, a colonialist, adding that it does not promote unity amongst citizens.
“First and foremost, I want to recommend a name change from Nigeria to the United Africans Republic (UAR),” the proposal reads.
“The significance of name change cannot be overemphasised. Even God our father, in the Holy books, changed names of prophets e.g. Saul to Paul, Jacob to Israel, etc. The reason for the name change is to physically and psychologically reflect a new beginning.”
Jokotoye submitted the proposal to the National Assembly committee in Lagos during a public hearing of altering the constitution and making amendments to it.
Jokotoye said, at the crossroads in Nigeria’s history, “it is mandatory that we change our name to reflect a new beginning which will be ushered in with a new constitution.”
“The word ‘Africa’ is a Greek word meaning ‘Without Cold’. Africa was originally called ‘Alkebulan’, meaning ‘Mother of Mankind’ (Garden of Eden),” Jokotoye said.
“Alkebulan is the oldest and the only word of indigenous origin used by Moors, Nubians, and Ethiopians. So, if we like, we can go a step further and name our nation, United Alkebulan Republic (meaning ‘United Mother of Mankind Republic).”
Nigerian to Uranium? Nigerians joke about proposed name
Nigerians on Twitter are already suggesting ways to brand their, maybe, soon-to-be country name – United African Republic – abbreviated UAR.
If Jokotoye’s proposal is approved, Nigeria will need a new national anthem to reflect the United African Republic – and that will not be a challenge, according to Afro-pop artiste Naira Marley.
While a citizen of Nigeria is globally recognised or addressed as a Nigerian, many citizens seem to fancy being called Uranium, same as a radioactive chemical element used in making bombs. Some other Nigerians can’t imagine being called Uranium.