The Psychology of Names

Benson said his real name was Nurudeen Kasali, that he changed it when it became a constant embarrassment to him after he had become an elite. No Fortune 500 CEO shall ever be called Nurudeen.

Fidelia kept her birth name because she loved the way it rolled off the tongue. She would imagine herself presenting News at 7 on national TV: “Good evening, this is the News at 7, I am Fidelia Macaulay. First the headlines...

Yakubu Baba became a Christian and got baptized as John Paul for double emphasis, he said. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, Yakubu Baba has passed away, behold local man is now John Paul. John for the beloved and Paul for the apostle.

Yesterday, I was checking an online course on FutureLearn and one of the course instructors was an Indian lady named Aditi. An aditi is a deaf person in Yoruba. I laughed.

Names, what a wonderful concept. It is amazing how much a person’s name can form the basis for an initial opinion before even meeting the person. And you are often expected to “act your name". If he is stubborn, he is an Emmanuel, playful, a David. Troublesome? A Samuel. Does she like boys? Is her name Mary? And Solomons are expected to be handsome and flirty. It will be really interesting if a thief is caught and his name happens to be Jesus. Rukayats and Rofiats are abusive people, Mumunis are complete idiots and no one can beat a Segun in a fight.

Of course, there is no psychology behind all these assumptions. It is the first most popular bearer of each name that are responsible. And so, if the first popular Anini was a thief, all other Aninis after him are hence of questionable character. Stellas are beautiful petite women because of Stella Obasanjo. And any Eunice that is not old is a witch, end of discussion.

Moral of the story: you too become great and famous (or notorious, anyone works), so that every other bearer of your name will forever be in your shadow. Period.

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Solomon Olumide Faniran

I read The Alchemist and my life has been fired up ever since. I am the shepherd boy on the journey of my life. I love to write about people.