Why ‘righting’ the writing of my name? Which is the right way of writing a name? It is very likely that you, the reader, would be wondering what this odd caption is all about. This is an issue that has been of serious concern, to many. It is sometimes embarrassing as even those who are supposedly highly educated make this common mistake.

But, what is the issue here? The right way to introduce oneself in spoken or written forms. It is high time we stopped this common mistake by writing or calling names the right way. We wish to highlight aspects of calling or writing a name and any abbreviation, where applicable.

Let us start by way of self-introduction. “My name is Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma.” This means that Barclays is first name; Foubiri is the middle name; and Ayakoroma is the last name or surname. Note that I did not say: My names ARE; I said: My name is … because I am just one person.
The reason for the above? No matter the number of names a person has, they all form an identifier. Put simply, a name identifies a person, place, thing, and so on. It is a label that helps the ‘other’ to distinguish one person from another; one place or town from another; or one thing from another.

If you say to somebody: “John is incorrigible,” the response you would probably get is: “Which John?” This is because there is no specificity in the identifier. But say to that person: “John the Baptist,” “John Pepper Clark,” “John F. Kennedy,” and so on, the identities are clear and precise.

In relating the above to community, we have a place, called, One Man Village, on the Abuja motorway to Keffi, Nasarawa State. Let us assume that you went there to visit somebody. If you want to ascertain if you were in the right place, would you ask: “What are the names of this village?” Definitely, no!

Let me also cite another example, a name: Mablas Macaulay Akpuluma Jnr. He was an ace broadcaster in the 1980s and 1990s at Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation, Port Harcourt (Radio Rivers II 99.1 FM Stereo). Upon the creation of Bayelsa State on Tuesday, October 1, 1996, his service was transferred to Bayelsa State Broadcasting Corporation (Glory FM 97.1). He then prided himself as the OAP with the longest name. Even then, it was not a case of: “My names are Mablas Macaulay Akpuluma Jnr.”

Since I am from the academia, let me cite an ad hoc example. If a lecturer wants to know a student, for instance, they would most likely ask: “What is your name?” Or: “What is your matriculation number?”
The questions would not be: “What are your names?” Or: “What are your matriculation numbers?” Even the examination booklet makes provision for Name and Matriculation Numbers; not Names and Matriculation Numbers.

This brings us to the second aspect of ‘righting’ the writing of one’s name; writing names the right way. In essay writing, it is First name Middle name Surname so that it flows. But in listing, just like attendance or other such compilations, surnames are written first. The beauty of this is when the compilation is in alphabetical order.

In the light of the above, my name would be written thus: “Ayakoroma, Barclays Foubiri;” Or, “AYAKOROMA Barclays Foubiri.” Note that the comma (,) may (or may not) be added in the second instance. This form is the case in compiling admission, matriculation or graduation lists, just as it is the case in the compilation of recruitment lists, especially in military or paramilitary organisations.

Let us veer to a personal experience related to the foregoing. In the early 2000s, I had the privilege of going to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. I observed then that the Nigerian Christian Pilgrims Board had a standing policy on how to pair the pilgrims. Having compiled the names in alphabetical order, the accommodation was arranged in such a way that Nos. 1 and 2 pair; 3 and 4 next; and so on. The implication is that any person, whose name appears before or after your name could be your roommate.
Now, to the final point. There is this annoying way that students, even lecturers, deploy abbreviations when writing their names. In this context, one can write “Barclays F. Ayakoroma;” or: “Ayakoroma, Barclays F.” The emphasis here is the position of the full stop (.) in the name. Most times, you see people write something like: “Barclays .F. Ayakoroma;” or: “Ayakoroma, Barclays .F.” From where did we learn this nonsense? The abbreviation dey get hunchback, abi? Or, is this a new millennial approach?

Jokes apart, in all of the foregoing, the onus is on teachers and lecturers to help correct this anomaly when in class. If a student is introducing themselves in class, ensure that it follows the right order: First Name first before the Middle Name (where applicable) and the Surname (Family name). In writing, if it is surname first, then it should follow Surname comma (,) First name Middle name.

‘Righting’ the writing of name the right way in our educational system is imperative. It is a collective pregnancy that must be aborted. Saying: “My names are…” is definitely out of place. The arrant nonsense has to stop!

If you are against my position, then, Go to Court!

*Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma (BFA) writes from University of Africa, Toru-Orua (UAT), Bayelsa State, Nigeria


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