Onwu emeh onwu za Abazi
As a little boy, my paternal grandmother gave me a pet name. Being given a pet name or an alias or even called after an older family member is quite common where I come from. The name was in my tribal dialect and just did not sound nice or cool in my ears – Onwu emeh onwu za Abazi.
In my mind I thought, does it mean there were no other cool derivatives from my legally given name? I mean, there were a lot of derivatives I could think of myself. Em, Emma (as my childhood friends called me), Emmax (as I later nicknamed myself in my teen-ages). Surely, there were other options. Or, if she wanted the name to be in my tribal language, were there no other names that was shorter or sound cooler? I pondered more.
So, after grudgingly bearing the name for a while, I summoned the courage to confront my grandma. “Mma Daddy” as we call her, “I do not like this name.” I was too young to care about her feelings or the consequences but I do remember she obliged to stop calling me the name and that was the end of it. Oh, the relief!
Over the years, as I reflect on so many things, this name plays in. And as I look at my journey so far; a small Port Harcourt boy with tribal affiliation with the Oron people, how I’ve grown. Grounds I’ve marched on, people I’ve met, places I’ve seen, achievements that are growing… mind you, this is not the crux.
I reflect on the name my grandmother used to call me and indeed it was a prophesy in itself. My journey, as much as it’s easy to mark it as an element of my smartness, intelligence, tenacity and sheer grit, there is an ingredient I will like to acknowledge – the God factor.
Everyday, somehow, the universe conspires to align me on a level higher, and the accumulation of that means each passing year finds me growing, rising above challenges, overcoming setbacks, failures and disappointments. Through it all, I prevail. Onwu emeh onwu za Abazi which means “nobody loves you more than God” highlights the God factor and its significance to my growing success.
Lord’s note: unlike most of my work, this piece is a true life reflection.
Image credit: Ancient Origins