NewsReel 23/12/13 - Why Do We Name Our Kids Death?

[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. James C. Agazie reports ] - Why would someone leave the comfort of his home, travel thousands of miles by Delta Airline, brave blistering pot-holed roads fraught with highwaymen, live through “ime ego” and “igba nkwu” to marry a girl, and finally give his newborn child a name that begins with death? Put the other way, why do we celebrate death so much? Why does death always grab headlines in the media, in our conversations and social events? Must we crown death Mr. Big Shot? Just yesterday, the telephone rang and someone in Nigeria was playing “onwu zuru uwa.” He was preparing for a trip that would take him to the village for the funeral of an 86-year-old man named Chief Onwuchekwa. As we talked, I couldn’t resist being annoyed with “onwu zuru uwa” playing in the background. That Igbo music extols and romanticizes death as if the singer had just won 700 Naira NNPC lottery. What is so great about death that we seem to name our children after it, to venerate or idolize death? I called up my homeboy Sir Onwuka to lambast his surname. His wife picked up and I said: “Nwanyi, from now on your name is Mrs. Nduka, no more Onwuka”. The husband called back to tell me what a beautiful name he has. I hung up when he asked: “Won’t you die someday?”   Hardly a month goes by without someone calling with a disheartening news that starts with “we are at ‘ulo onwu’” (house of death) or some man or woman is groaning “onwu, onwu, onwu, hia, onwu, onwu, hia……”
 
 
I am tired of being tired of death. The last time I saw classmate Chief Onwuama on a Lagos road, I avoided him as you would an Egyptian plague, even refusing to make eye contact. Can’t someone give me some happy, good news that goes like: “Congratulations. We hear you are going to be having dinner with Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu ”? Or “My dear brother, how did you enjoy riding in the bullet-proof BMW with Sister Stella Odua.?” It is better than “we have just returned from burying Mr. Onwudinjo .” Igbo names that start with Onwu (Death) rub me the wrong way for some reasons. The Igbo name  Onwuamaka (death is good) is the worst offender. The others include Onwuka (death is supreme), Onwumere (death is the doer), Onwuemerie (death is winning), Onwurapum (Death, please leave me alone) or Onwuegbulam (Death, plesse don’t kill me). I do not like these Igbo names and these are reasons why they may strike fear in any heart. 
 
 
Onwuamaibe: Death knows no peers (death has no friends) –who told you I want death for a friend? I don’t for sure.
Onwuanu-mba: Death does not heed or death rebukes – We rebuke death and that’s why we are still around.
Onwuaso: Death does not respect – would you expect respect from person who steals from you? No, you don’t .
Onwuatuegwu/Onwuatu: Death does not fear – Death fears a little when you refuse to abuse your body with drugs and when you take good care of the system you are housed in.
Onwubiko: Please, Death! - We have nothing to beg death for except that it should get away and leave us alone.
Onwubuariri/Onwubualili: Death is terrible sorrow- how can death be terrible when we are more terrible, treating our bodies in death-producing ways ,such as kidnapping, overeating, drug abuse, armed robberies, and using assault weapons?
Onwuchekwa: Death should wait- death is a thief and you’re asking it to wait in the shadows until everyone is unaware of its movements before it strikes.
Onwudinjo: Death is bad/evil – death is worse than evil, more evil than boko haram that bombs harmless babies in the wombs.
 Onwudiwe: Death makes one furious or has done an evil thing- death isn’t bad if it is a time for a well-deserved rest from troubles.
Onwueme: Death has done it again – please tell Death we do not want its favors.
Onwuka: Death is greater – there’s nothing great about some rascal who destroys and/or steals the property of another.
 Onwuma: Death knows or can please itself – how can Death please itself when it is trespassing on property of another and is unable create anything of value? 
Onwumechili: … Death closes- death cannot close the case because it does not have the last laugh, according to the Holy Scriptures.
Onwurapu, Onwurah, Onwughalu: Death should leave us out- since death’s purpose it to cause pain, sufferings, and confusions, it does not know when to leave enough alone or to let the sleeping dog lie.
Onwutalobi Death has eaten the kingdom – death was cast out of the Kingdom of Heaven for disobedience so it officiates over the kingdom of this world where it moves to and fro, seeking something to destroy.
Onwuzulu: Death is everywhere – death is not in all places; it is not in heaven. Only God and saved souls are there.
Onwuzuluigbo/Onwuzuruigbo: death has reached all Igbo land- did anyone tell you that the Igbos have invited death in their midst or that the world is limited only to Alaigbo? What of Alayoruba and Alaawusa?
Onwuzuluike: Death should rest – rest for what? Death hasn’t done any work to deserve a rest
Onwuamaka- Death is good – Chai! How can this man be good when everything he does is too crazy; you can’t even have a wake or funeral without the committees of friends without eating bitter kola nuts, or without consuming large quantities of Heinekens.
 
 
Dr. James C. Agazie ( Email: jamesagazie@yahoo.com ).
 
 
*Photo Caption – A grave in a cemetery
 
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