This advice came from two clerics, Monsignor Gabriel Osu and Imam Shuaib Abdullahi, following recommendation of the Chairman, Centenary Committee, Prof. Tekena Tamuno, that the name “Nigeria” be changed to “Commonwealth of Nigeria”. According to the clerics, a name change was not what Nigerians needed now, but how their challenges would be addressed.
Professor Tamuno had recommended that the change must take effect from the 1st of Jan. 2014, when the country will be marking the 100th anniversary, following the amalgamation of its northern and southern protectorates by the British in 1914. Tamuno, an Emeritus Professor, had made his call at an annual lecture of the Nigeria Academy of Letters organised to mark the nation’s centenary anniversary.
However, Osu, who is the Director of Communication, Catholic Diocese of Lagos, said that the government should address the challenges in the country rather than attempting to spend money on a name change: “Why should Nigeria’s name be changed? Is the change our problem? Our problem is hunger, poverty, no water, no electricity, high rate of unemployment and so on… Our name is very good, the problem is human beings that are Nigerians; they should not spend billions again in changing names, while the masses are living in abject poverty and dying of hunger,” he said.
On his part, Abdullahi, Executive Director, Zakat and Fadaqat Foundation, said that it would be irrelevant changing the name Nigeria as there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. Abdullahi said that it was the managers and leaders of the country Nigeria that needed a positive change and transformation: “There is nothing wrong with the name Nigeria, but there is something wrong with the leaders of Nigeria… The name Nigeria is our name, our brand and has become part and parcel of our lives. All we need is to improve on our dented image in terms of positive change in the style of leadership and total re-branding,” he said