A delegate representing Federal Government and Lagos based lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome has proposed that the name Nigeria should be changed to “Airegin”.
Chief Ozekhome made the proposal while contributing to the debate on the report of the Committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government co-chaired by retired General Ike Nwachukwu and Hon. Umaru Kumaila.
The Edo State born legal luminary said that it was imperative to wash Nigeria of the colonial legacy saying that it was a colonial imposed name which should be changed to reflect originality.
Continuing, Ozekhome moved that old National anthem as was writen by Mr. Akinwumi and the old flag which was designed with the rising sun on it should be reintroduced as it is peculiar with all parts of the country.
“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”. He said that the country was known formally as the Northern and Southern Protectorates before being changed to Nigeria, meaning Niger Area or areas within the River Niger by Lady Flora Shaw. “The country was known formally as the Southern and Northern Protectorates before the name change. It was changed because they said it was too long for them to pronounce” he said. Ozekhome, however, suggested that the name should be changed from Nigeria to Airegin to make a clean brake from the past.
“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 geo-political zone, while disagreeing with a delegate representing Federal Government and Environmental activist, Mr. 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 lend his support to the Committee’s recommendation for States to serve as federating units stressing the need for states to have their own constitution to reflect their peculiarities.