Demonising wonderful Igbo names out of ignorance
By Azuka Onwuka
As a way to garner comments and engagement, For The Love of Anambra page asked people to mention the Igbo names they would not like to give their children.
Expectedly, names like Azuka, Anayo, Ekwutosi, Obumneme, etc featured prominently on the list because many don’t know their meanings.
But the inclusion of a plain but good name like Ndidi(amaka) – Patience(is a virtue) pointed at the deep-seated wrong orientation that has been done to our people in recent years. That many young people hate to be identified with the virtue of patience is scary. It shows the ozigbo-ozigbo (now-now, sharp-sharp) mindset popularized by some religious leaders from the late 80s onwards. Patience is no longer seen as a virtue but a vice.
From saying that the patient dog eats the fattest bone, the saying was changed to: The patient dog eats no bone! You are told not to wait but to grab it and run with it.
The Igbo belief in patience is encapsulated in the saying: Oge onye jiri teta ụra bụ ụtụtụ ya (Whenever a person wakes up is the person’s morning. This teaches that three people may be born the same day, but one may achieve success at 35, another at 45, and the other at 55.)
The Igbo people also say that onye ndidi na-eri azụ ukpoo – the patient person eats the fish caught with a fishing hook. It is not the fish k!lled by dangerous chemicals.
This is why the name Ogechukwu(ka mma) – God’s time(is the best) – used to be a popular name.
We still have much work to do. Our people have been damaged with some dangerous messages from prosperity preachers, ritual-killing film producers, and praise-singing musicians and power-flaunting politicians and celebrities.
Whatever efforts you have been making should be doubled to ensure that more enlightenment is shared. This can be done through the social media. But blogs and websites are also very important. Videos on YouTube, Instagram, Tiktok, WhatsApp and Facebook, and X (Twitter) are also very important.
Even though this is “ọlụ Mbadiwe, ọlụ akwụ ụgwọ,” biko let us intensify our efforts.
Ike agaghị agwu anyi! Anyị ga-enwe mmeri. No retreat, no surrender! Ya gazie!