One of the delegates to the National Conference, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), yesterday called for change of name of Nigeria name to “Airegin”, arguing that the name Nigeria was twisted by the colonialists
The lawyer said the change of the country’s name would make a clean brake from the past.
Speaking yesterday, while contributing at plenary during debate on report of the Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government with Gen. Ike Nwachukwu and Mohammed Umara Kumalia as co-Chairmen, Ozekhome also called for a reversal from the present National Anthem to the former and older one, which was written by Taiwo Akinwumi, adding that the old flag that was designed with the rising sun on it should be re-introduced against the backdrop that it was peculiar with all parts of the country.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the delegate, who noted that when the country replaces all these, it would then help Nigeria wash off the colonial legacy, adding, “It was a colonial imposed name, which should be changed to reflect originality.
“I want to move that this conference should consider changing the name of the country to reflect our originality. The name Nigeria was a colonial imposition, which must be corrected. The name was given to the country by Lady Flora Shaw who later became Lady Lugard”.
According to him, prior to the change of name, Nigeria as a country was known as the Northern and Southern Protectorates meaning Niger Area or areas within the River Niger by Lady Flora Shaw, adding, “The country was known formally as the Southern and Northern Protectorates before the name changed. It was changed because they said it was too long for them to pronounce.
“I suggest that the name should be changed from Nigeria to Airegin. It was just gotten when you write the name Nigeria from “right to left”.
On the additional one state given to the South-east zone, while disagreeing with a delegate representing federal government and environmental activist, Ledum Mitee who opposed the state, Ozekhome said that he supported the additional state, as it will integrate the zone into the system.
He also lent his support to the Committee’s recommendation for states to serve, as federating units, stressing that there was need for states to have their own constitution to reflect their peculiarities.