The Nigerian social media space has been agog with the abbreviation UAR which is full means the United African Republic. The National assembly following its members decision to review the constitution has been holding townhall meetings across the country geopolitical zones to ascertain the grievances of the masses with the present 1999 constitution.
Adeleye Jokotoye, a tax consultant, submitted the proposal to the committee at the South West Zonal Public Hearing in Lagos on Wednesday, June 2, 2021.
While presenting the proposal, he said Nigeria’s current name was an imposition of its past colonial masters and should be changed.
He said a change of name for the country would physically and psychologically reflect a new beginning.
“At this crossroads in our history, it is mandatory that we change our name to reflect a new beginning which will be ushered in with a new constitution,” he said.
Explaining why he chose United African Republic, Jokotoye said Nigeria is made up of hundreds of ethnic groups that need to be united.
As an alternative, he suggested that Nigeria could also choose United Alkebulan Republic (meaning: United Mother of Mankind Republic) as its new name.
The tax consultant also suggested amendments to the constitution to reflect fiscal federalism, state or regional resource and taxation control, removal of immunity clause, and review of the Exclusive Legislative List.
History of the Name Nigeria:
The name Nigeria was taken from the Niger River running through the country. This name was coined on January 8, 1897, by British journalist Flora Shaw, who later married Lord Lugard, a British colonial administrator. The neighbouring Niger takes its name from the same river. The origin of the name Niger, which originally applied to only the middle reaches of the Niger River, is uncertain. The word is likely an alteration of the Tuareg name egerew n-igerewen used by inhabitants along the middle reaches of the river around Timbuktu prior to 19th-century European colonialism
While there are several opinions as to the rationality of the adoption of the new name and otherwise. Its pertinent to understand that several societies/countries got their names of other people, besides what is the meaning of the word African?
Afri was a Latin name used to refer to the inhabitants of then-known northern Africa to the west of the Nile river, and in its widest sense referred to all lands south of the Mediterranean (Ancient Libya). This name seems to have originally referred to a native Libyan tribe, an ancestor of modern Berbers; see Terence for discussion. The name had usually been connected with the Phoenician word ʿafar meaning “dust”, but a 1981 hypothesis has asserted that it stems from the Berber word ifri (plural ifran) meaning “cave”, in reference to cave dwellers. The same word may be found in the name of the Banu Ifran from Algeria and Tripolitania, a Berber tribe originally from Yafran (also known as Ifrane) in northwestern Libya, as well as the city of Ifrane in Morocco.
From the above, both Nigeria & African as names were coined by foreigners.