Opinion: Naming your dog after anyone is not a crime

by Izuchukwu Aniagu Aguani

Names are used for identification and during introductions. It can also be used for canonization and reverence. And specifically for our dogs, names can be used to color what others think of them. For example, dog named Satan will invite a very different type of reaction than a dog named Angel.

Most people consider certain things in naming their dogs. Some observe his energy level or most loved activities, while others wait until his true personality comes through and then choose what is the right name for him.

We can find some great names from our favorite movies, books, or games. We can even pick the best fictional or non fictional hero or villain, depending on the personality and or look of our dog.

Interesting set of names are from famous and inspirational people, or historical figures. We can pick rulers such as Alexander the Great, Julius Cesar, Lord Lugard, Chavez, Taylor, Putin, Lincoln or Napoleon Bonaparte. We can pick innovators such as Edison, Einstein or DaVinci. We can also pick poets, writers, musicians, movie stars, or sports heroes.

In 2008, an English Bulldog was named after Napoleon Bonaparte and became the 8th in the list of 25 heroic dogs that ever lived. The dog defied the poor swimming skills of his breed to swim deep out into a lake and rescued a burlap sack containing 6 abandoned kittens! While two of the kittens didn’t make it, the other four were nursed back to health, leading to a hero’s welcome for Napoleon back at the local adoption center.

Everyday in Nigeria President Buhari in an uncommon bravery is defying the senility that goes with his age to confront some thugstars and the safecrackers of our collective means in order to save not just a burlap sack containing 6 abandoned kittens but objects worthing much more. For this, there is nothing wrong with an innocent objectification of him with a dog also known for similar bravery and commanding disposition.

On the other hand, it becomes a completely different set of dangerous ballgame when a juiced up citizen not only maliciously names his dog after a President in order to directly insult his person and office but also writes it boldly on the body of both sides of the dog parading same in the neighbourhood dominated by unbending loyalist of the President.

If you say that something like this does not matter, you mean that it doesn’t also matter if I buy a dog and name it after my neighbor Onwuegbu whom I rarely get along with. And each time I call Onwuegbu!! Onwuegbu! the dog will come swinging its tail.

In deed things are changing in Nigeria and I personally see the arrest, charge and granting of bail instead of wanton executive persecution against an accused person who named his pet dog to spite the President as a sign of maturing democracy in Nigeria. In the past, the leaders will be like ‘continue calling me Dog, we will continue our stealing’, especially if they feel that reacting against such thing will not work in their favour and also if it’s not worth taking the extra executive measures.

It is true that the haste in the prosecution of the young man who named his dog to insult the President is ridiculous considering scads of other issues that require similar haste. However it might not totally be a senseless exercise considering that years ago in Akwa Ibom, it was reported that one Odudu Ukpanah was imprisoned after his father’s constant criticism and insult on the then government.

In March 2014 his father was also allegedly assassinated by unknown gunmen, and several efforts to expedite his release was met with aggression and activists spreading word of his imprisonment constantly threatened with death by the unknown. That, exactly, sum up the fact that I’m making; that the era of the monkey is over and done in Nigeria.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

Izuchukwu Aniagu Aguani is a social commentator and a Law graduate from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka

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