What is someone from the United African Republic called? Uranium or Urea?
The answer is keeping many Nigerians awake as they chew over a proposal to change the name of the country.
For two weeks, federal lawmakers have been traversing the country collating citizens' views to amend the constitution.
The idea was to gather suggestions for amendments such as electoral reforms and the system of government.
But citizen Adeleye Jokotoye, a tax consultant, dropped something of a bombshell at the hearing in Lagos.
He wants the name of the country changed as it was an imposition by Nigeria's past colonial masters.
The name Nigeria was suggested in the late 19th Century by British journalist Flora Shaw, who would later marry the British colonial administrator Lord Frederick Lugard.
It is derived from the River Niger which enters the country from the north-west and flows down to the Niger Delta where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean through its many tributaries.
But Mr Jokotoye wants the name changed and his choice of United African Republic - to reflect the hundreds of ethnic groups that comprise the country - has blown a storm.
These Twitter users have a theory where the idea for United African Republic, or UAR, came from:
United Arab Emirates - UAE— This Girl is Blessed (@Girl_isBlessed) June 2, 2021
United African Republic - UAR
Ladies and gentlemen, our country is just an “E” away from being like Dubai pic.twitter.com/SctxMWxWTZ
Must have thought United in the name makes the country rich. United African Republic (UAR) like the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, United States. Lol. Someone spent weeks working on that idea. Probably even got a grant. Lol. I am tired.— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) June 2, 2021
There is already a new anthem, which isn't entirely new but a remix of the "old" Nigeria's:
Arise, O compatriots,— Biodun (@xatbiodam) June 2, 2021
United African Republic call obey
To serve our Fatherland
With love and strength and faith.
The labour of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain,
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity. pic.twitter.com/mwhvy1hJAs
A new country needs a new currency, so:
I'm now the official currency to the United African Republic new note. You guys will see shege! pic.twitter.com/cmrHCEeyMi— Gucci icecream 🍦 (@EvansTed101) June 3, 2021
Which made musician Timi Dakolo, famous for his patriotic Great Nation song which is a staple at some official events, wonder what becomes of his music. Maybe a remix, Mr Dakolo?:
Now that you people are planning to change Nigeria’s name to United African Republic, What will I do with My Great nation song?!— Timi Dakolo (@timidakolo) June 2, 2021
Una Dey stress me too much.
And there was a reminder of the small matter of the loans Nigeria owes the World Bank, IMF and China. Some figured that a new name means a clean slate:
China: Nigeria we've come to collect our money.— Ogechukwu (@benedictaee) June 2, 2021
World Bank: Nigerians arrange our money, we will be collecting it soon
IMF: Nigeria our money ooo
Nigerians: b...b...but we are United African Republic Na pic.twitter.com/ZCf0BLuePc
But not everyone saw the joke in Mr Jokotoye's proposal and some were quick to set the country's priorities right:
United African Republic??— TACHA🔱🇳🇬🇬🇭 (@Symply_Tacha) June 2, 2021
Renaming Nigeria is not Nigerians PROBLEM!! Give us GOOD ROADS, SECURITY, ELECTRICITY, HEALTH CARE.. Just give us BASIC AMENITIES❕
But what is someone from the UAR called? The idea of Uranium - which Nigeria does not have - seems to have come from this comedian:
So when Nigeria is finally changed to "United African Republic", The citizen will now be called Uranium 😂😂 sense will not kill me pic.twitter.com/oXEfhHg7lG— Amazing Tv ❁ (@officialarole1) June 2, 2021
And others piled in:
Slept as a citizen of Nigeria, and woke up as a Uranium. pic.twitter.com/9yCNx5lDgX— Sammy (@SaRmuelWithanR) June 3, 2021
I pledge to UAR my country. To be faithful loyal and honest. To serve as an Uranium with all my strength. Abeg those that collected national id card of Nigeria. You better go change it to Uranium pic.twitter.com/3LjWNHoywH— Alhaji Beardless Smallie wife🧕 (@benoni2341) June 3, 2021
And the small matter of radiation connected to Uranium:
If I'm an active radio listener from UAR, does that make me a Radioactive Uranium? pic.twitter.com/BKn0YZWuP0— Daniel Extraordinary (@danxtraordinary) June 3, 2021
As if he knew that some of his compatriots would not be impressed by his choice, Mr Jokotoye came armed with an alternative - the United Alkebulan Republic (meaning: United Mother of Mankind Republic), which quite frankly doesn't sound as pan-African as the first, but does have the same initials.
He also made other suggestions for the constitution, such as proposing amendments to the structure of governance, and taxation control - but for some reason these have not excited the popular imagination in the same way.
In the coming weeks as lawmakers sift through the bags of suggestions from Nigerians, no-one is sure what other ideas will bubble out.
But it is unlikely that we will see a United African Republic on these shores.
Which is a shame, as I quite like the idea of being addressed as a Uranium - it has a powerful ring to it.