A federal government delegate, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN yesterday called for change of the present name of Nigeria to a proposed one called “Airegin” because according to him, the name Nigeria was twisted by the colonialists and it would make a clean brake from the past.
Speaking yesterday while contributing at plenary during debate on report of committee on Political Restructuring and Forms of Government with Gen. Ike Nwachukwu and Mohammed Umara Kumalia as co- Chairmen, Ozekhome also called for a reversal from the present National Anthem to the former and older one which was written by Taiwo Akinwumi, adding that the old flag that was designed with the rising sun on it should be re-introduced against the backdrop that it was peculiar with all
parts of the country.
The delegate who noted that when the country replaces all these, it would then help Nigeria wash off the colonial legacy, adding, “It was a colonial imposed name which should be changed to reflect originality.
“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”.
According to him, prior to the change of name, Nigeria as a country was known as the Northern and Southern Protectorates meaning Niger Area or areas within the River Niger by Lady Flora Shaw, adding, “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.
“I suggested 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, 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 that there is need for states to have their own constitution to reflect their peculiarities.
Meanwhile, aides of delegates particularly drivers yesterday protested to the entrance of Andrews Otutu Obaseki hall, venue of plenary sessions of the on – going National Conference over what they termed ill- treatment, but were stopped from entering by men of the department of State Security Service, SSS.
According to the aides who were led by Egwuata Remigius, they were deprived of allowances, welfare ranging from food to accommodations adding that while the delegates whom they drive sleep in hotels, they sleep in their cars.
Their placards read, “many drivers sleep in cars at hotels and parks, have we lost our moral compass?
“Justice Kutigi please do justice to our matter. We are citizens of this great country, we are in this together. Take care of us please . There is God O Mama please intercede for your children OOO. Our mothers at the conference, please speak for your Children.
“Drivers and Aides unwatered for which way National Conference, 2014. We are degree holders as aides and drivers; we are no pushover. Obasanjo paid Aides and drivers at 2005 Political Conference whitter 2014 National Conference.
The protesting Aides were however stopped by the SSS led by Emmanuel Emordi who asked them to leave with their placards.
Kutigi admits Igbeke to replace Akunyili
Meanwhile, Senator Alphonsus Igbeke was yesterday announced by Chairman of the Conference, Justice Idris Kutigi as a replacement for a former Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili.
It would be recalled that the former Director-General of the National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration, NAFDAC and a delegate representing Anambra State, died Saturday June 7.
She was the third delegate to die since the inauguration of the confab by President Goodluck Jonathan 17 th March.
Igbeke’s name was announced to the plenary by Kutigi amidst applause and clapping of hands from fellow delegates.
The Senator who represented Anambra North Senatorial District on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP was earlier sited by on Tuesday evening when he came to finalize his documentation with the Conference Secretariat and later confirmed that he was at the Conference to replace Akunyili .