What’s in a name?

    It’s a well know fact that there are no streets that go by one name in whole of Lagos… probably. I came upon this fact when driving to my friend’s house. She used to live on Temple Street in Ikoyi but has since relocated to Olu Holloway. All without the inconvenience of packing a suitcase. And thus they retired one of the few remaining streets that went by one name. The unwritten rule that requires one name also stipulates that it be a person’s name. While it is not the newest way to suck up. It has proved effective over the years. Marwa gardens anyone? Oh I’m sorry I meant MKO Abiola gardens. When your usefulness has run its course the streets simply get assigned another name, much like Diddy.
    I particularly mean to offend when I ask ‘who are these people?’ I believe that if you are so great just one of your names will suffice. I sometimes feel sorry for those American girls whose African boyfriends claime to be princes. In reality most of these guys are at best (the equivalent of ) a duke or sir with a bought title from a village and not an empire. Bringing me back to another difficult question for street namers everywhere. How do you decide if a street should go by a man’s first and last name, his title and last name or his first and last name preceded by his title? What next, should we create more states for this purpose? “Now boarding the 10am flight from Lagos to Seun Adekunbi.” This is why GPS doesn’t work, every upgrade would have to cover all name changes.
    As for all you numbered and lettered streets in developing areas be warned, some apparently great man is walking around with your name on him. I say man because there are fewer streets named so egotistically after women. Then again I am female and therefore biased on this matter.
    As a people we have a history of badly naming and abbreviating things. [e.g. BRAS: A car dealership, PISS: Plateau Institute of Secretarial Studies, Assfood primary school (I wish I was kidding)] I personally went to a school that was named from a composition of the first two letters of names of our principal’s kids. I’ve been thinking of starting a company that simply names products and other companies. Seriously, when we fail at original badness (see above) we branch into knockoff badness. [e.g Noreas: chocolate cookies with cream filling, Saddidas and Nikke: the joy of rhyming sports gear, TFC: Tastee Fried Chicken. Only in Nigiera.
    Ironically we have deep and meaningful names with traditional roots. The problems arose when we attempted to speak only English in the quest to be modern. The names are still meaningful but lack cultural flavor. Hence the surprisingly fitting President Goodluck and First lady Patience. His luck and her patience brought them to office. Thought I think their names would have sounded a whole lot sweeter in their native tongue.

2 thoughts on “What’s in a name?

  1. What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet wouldn’t it? But, honestly, I get what you are saying. This dis-ease with our culturalnames is worse in East Africa where the traditional names have all but disappeared.

  2. Pingback: Top 10 election vexations « Yamika's Blog

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