This story has been floating around for a while but it’s still disturbing and deserves to be talked about.
A new report from the Daily Heritage newspaper details a policy being enforced by the Births and Deaths Registry who refuse to register names of new babies which carry local prefixes like Nii, Naa, Nana, Togbe and others.
According to the Registry, those are not names but titles and therefore parents cannot use them to name their kids.
Not only are they stopping such names from being used, they are also insisting on the order on which parents can arrange their children’s names, which is another absurd authoritarian notion which somehow policy makers at this registry decided make sense.
From the Daily Heritage report…
The Births and Deaths Registry has said it does not allow certain prefix and suffixes deemed as titles to be registered as part of names on birth certificates.
In an interview, Mr John Agbeko, Registrar at the Births and Deaths outfit, explained that local names like “Nana, Nii and Togbe” are most used as stool names and title for leaders in the traditional setup.
According to him, parents choose these names (titles) to honour relatives who have played vital roles in their lives and do not want their names to be missing from their family.
Mr Agbeko suggested that such titles that the registry does not accept as part of names should only be used in the house and the community and not add them to name for birth registration.
He said “if we allow ourselves as a nation to give names the way we want because it is us who have got the child and we will want to name the child the way we want, there will come a time that we will have wonderful names in Ghana. So it is just a control measure to make sure that there are moderating factor on us citizens to direct how our naming should go.”The Registrar pointed out that it is not the case that his outfit is against only the local names (title) because it does not accept the English ones either as that is how their system operates.
“Nobody is against a local name. The only difference is that I have a baby and I want to name this baby by giving a name like for example where I come from, you have Dzibgordi, which is Patience and also using Mabel and you want to make Dzibgordi the first name, by our operations we tell you this cannot occupy the first name but Dzibgordi can be in the middle name to have Mabel Dzibgordi Abgeko,”he explained.
He further explained that “if you still want the Dzibgordi, then you can leave Mabel and we will use Dzibgordi for you as your first name but because we are English-speaking people, if you take Mabel and Dzibgordi together I do not know how it will look on paper if we do Dzibgordi Mabel Abgeko.”
But the registrar said they are not imposing names on people but just upholding measure and suggested that as a nation if Ghanaians prefer these names they can declassify and rectify them to be used.
Unless there’s a law to that effect it shouldn’t be legal to deny people choosing names for their children, especially on such a flimsy reasoning. So people can name their kids after white people but not after black people? King and Queen are legal names in Ghana, aren’t they?
Kanye West is naming his kids West and Chicago but some bureaucrats sitting in some office in Ghana has a say in what you name your kids. Glad we don’t have any serious issues to deal with in Ghana so we have to fix the epidemic of wrongly named kids.