Nigerians should stop referring to their country by hip appellations and misnomers or else the coming generation will forget the name of their fatherland.
Garba Abari, the director-general, National Orientation Agency (NOA), on Tuesday made this appeal to Nigerians to stop referring to the giant of Africa as Naija.
The adulterated name is an offshoot of music revolution in Nigeria over two decades ago. Artistes like Sir Shina Peters and others were the earlier exponents of the funky moniker.
Tuface Idibia, Sound Sultan, and other rough-and-ready musicians in the hip-hop boom later popularised the name.
It got bigger upticks with deeper internet penetration in the early 2000s, and the current robust ICT era now enables bloggers and anybody to crunch and juggle letters to create more names with the root word “Naija”
There are now online portals going by Naija Update, Naija News, and other clones.
According to Abari, the new trend of making funky the original name of Nigeria was worrisome and not in the best interest of the country.
The DG said his agency has been trying in all its advocacy visits to insist that Nigeria must be referred to as Nigeria and not Naija.
“So, our schools have a role to play in this; the media itself has also got a very fundamental role to play because it is the media that helps in the propagation of this kind of misnomer.
“All of us, as individuals, as corporate organisations, as media, whether broadcast, print or online, must wake up to the reality.
“That the more we use these misnomers referring to our country, the fallout of it is that, a significant percentage of our younger ones will not even remember that Nigeria is the original name of our country,” he said.
“I want to appeal to all Nigerians, young and old to always refer to our country as Nigeria.
He also urged parents to key into the efforts to preserve the country’s original name by discouraging their children and wards from referring to it in any other way.