A member of the ongoing National Conference suggested to change the name of the country from Nigeria to ‘Naijiria’ in order to spare the country further “setbacks and embarrassment” in the international arena.
During a press briefing at the venue of National Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the founder of Okali Seminal Ideas Foundation for Africa (OSIFA), Dr Agwu Ukiwe Okali, proposed to rename the country.
According to him, Nigeria is being badly hurt in the international arena by the constant and recurring confusion between the country’s name and that of Niger Republic. He added that there is confusion also between what is ‘Nigerian’ pertaining to Nigeria and what is ‘Nigerien’ pertaining to Niger.
Okali said this confusion, often coming to the fore at major international events, manifested again at the ongoing FIFA world cup in Brazil where Niger was mistaken for Nigeria during the opening ceremony.
“As reported by Yahoo Sports, the flag of Niger was displayed in place of that of Nigeria, thereby subjecting us to acute embarrassment, if not humiliation, at this most-watched and most-anticipated event on the planet, he stated.
He further said the confusion is not the only problem with the name ‘Nigeria’ as it can be associated with the racially derogatory term “Nigger” and also anti-African with colonial connotation.
“We at OSIFA call on the National Conference to do the country and posterity a favour, and in the process enhance its own legacy, by initiating this much-needed change that will spare the country further set-backs and embarrassment in the international arena,” Okali said.