Professor emeritus Sam Ukala, of Delta State University, Abraka has revealed that some names in Ika language were used as amulets to protect the bearer from evil or death.
Prof. Ukala made this revelation in his lecture titled “What is in a Name” delivered during the 21st Ogwa Ika, organized by Onu-Ika Nigeria, held at Abavo Civic Centre, Abavo in Ika South LGA, on Saturday, August 17, 2019.
Professor Ukala stated that one hardly sees Ika names that have no meaning, adding that a namer usually has something in mind before naming a child, while pointing out that in Ika land some names were given as a form of protection for a child from evil or death.
Prof. Ukala gave an example of a king in Ika land who was named Nshinohuhu (chicken droppings) by his late father with the belief that death would not take the child, further revealing that the late King in question had lost three male children immediately they were born and was advised by a traditional doctor to take the pregnant wife to a far away land if the child was to survive.
He added that on delivery, when the late King visited to see the child, he named him Nshinohuhu with the belief that death would not bother about one who is worthless, and that the name was given with the sole aim of discouraging death from looking the child’s way.
Prof. Ukala noted that the principle behind the name was that the late Monarch at that time believed that death is a sadist who kills highly valued persons because he enjoys seeing the bereaved in excruciating pain; while he often spares useless persons because he enjoys seeing their relatives suffer the shame and pain of their uselessness for long.
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Continuing he said, the belief was that death can be deceived when one names a valued person, “useless chicken shit” or any other name that connotes valuelessness.
The guest lecturer maintained that there are nine principles used when giving a name in Ika and that the principles are, to comment on the appearance or behavior of the newborn, respond to circumstances of the child’s birth, show reverence to a great personality whom the namer wishes the child to be in resemblance or a deity in whom he has faith for protection, appreciate God for the gift of a child and also extol the benefit of children or lament the pains of having them.
Continuing Prof. Ukala said, other principles are to comment on human behavior, or on the world into which the child was born, or to God for a desired future, shield the child from harm, especially from death and lastly make a philosophical statement or give general advice, he concluded.