The most common, interesting Nigerian surnames and their meanings

‘Naija’ is popularly known for its booming movie industry. What’s more, the country’s naming system is rich and grounded in firm cultural beliefs. Nigerian surnames give one their identity, and also help them to claim ownership to a community or family.

An elderly woman poses with a baby. Photo: @RobertNakin
Source: Getty Images

Nigerians hold a naming ceremony known as ”Igu Afa” eight days after a child is born. The Nigerian family names given to a child come from each side of the family. Only one name is retained for later in life. There are several factors considered when giving a name, including place of origin, occupation, and physical traits, among others.

Nigerian surnames and meanings

Nigerian last names are reflective of a person’s background, family, or clan. They give an individual his or her identity. Many of these names have a story behind them, which has helped the Nigerian people maintain the naming culture to date.

Common Nigerian last names

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What is the most common surname in Nigeria? Some names are held by a large number of people. These names are preferred because of the deep meanings attached to them. The following are some popular Nigerian last names;

  • Ibrahim – Father of nations
  • Abdullahi – The servant of God
  • Abubakar – Noble
  • Musa – Mercy
  • Mohammed – Messenger of Islam
  • Sani – Brilliant
  • Adamu – Of the earth
  • Usman – The chosen one
  • Umar – Long life
  • Nwaike – Child of a strong lineage
  • Ama – Compound
  • Agu – Force of nature
  • Arsal – The one who was sent
  • Adedeji – One crown has become two
  • Abimola – Born in honour and wealth
  • Eze – King
  • Nwaeze – Child of the king
  • Obianagha – He came to fight
  • Lawal – First
  • Azih – Unending
  • Adeoye – Crown
  • Baba – Father, wise man, or elder.
  • Aguta – To have many
  • Ahmed – To thank someone
  • Agwuegbo – The hardship is over
  • Ejiofor – One who acts in good faith
  • Akinyemi – Fated to be a warrior
  • Aku – Wealth
  • Alison – Light
  • Alaneme – The land is active

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Nigerian surnames
Photo: @LWillinger
Source: Getty Images
  • Kporaro – Move forward or progress
  • Aliu – Remarkable and distinctive
  • Aliyu – The most high
  • Garba – From the South
  • Sunday – Born on Sunday
  • Amaechi – Who knows tomorrow?
  • Ikande – Full of love
  • Achebe – Goddess protects
  • Umunakwe – My siblings agree
  • Asaju – Leader of warriors
  • Nenge – See
  • Ugwushie – To rise above enmity
  • Babangida – The master of the house
  • Yusuf – God increases
  • Bolaji – Wake up with wealth
  • Odomene – Yellow reluctance
  • Akpan – Most important. Of great worth
  • Olayunji – Wealth awakes again
  • Bello – Beautiful or handsome
  • Onyilogwu – He who is invulnerable to dark magic
  • Kalu – God of thunder
  • Haruna – Spring flower
  • Kazah – Origin of light
  • Orelias – The golden
  • Njoku – The guardian deity of the yam
  • Kikelomo – Pampered or cherished
  • Nwadike – Son of the hero
  • Oyawale – The river goddess came home
  • Okpara – Man of wealth
  • Amadi – Free man
  • Okusanya – God has rewarded me for my suffering
  • Danjuma – Born on Friday
  • Olowe – The one who can call for help from many people
  • Oyinvwi – Strength
  • Egbe – Kite
  • Osondu Run for life
  • Etienam – The one who does good deeds
  • Tyjani – Gift
  • Uthman – Wise, most powerful
  • Tersoo – Father’s love
  • Uche – A person of will and intention
  • Umunna – Children of the father
  • Zabu – Gold
  • Agrinya – Warrior
  • Emem – Peace
  • Otueome – Says and does as he claims
  • Ibeh – Friend, family, or acquaintance
  • Bala – Child
  • Uwem – Life
  • Idris – Smart or studious. An interpreter
  • Rabiu – Meaningful
  • Umaru – Long-lived, eloquent or gifted speaker
  • Shehu – Someone from authority

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Nigerian surnames
Photo: @MarcusValance
Source: Getty Images
  • Okeke – Born on Eke, which is one of the days of the Igbo week
  • Audu – An animal that can endure stress like a donkey
  • Dauda – Analytical
  • Ojo – Splendour, shine, vigour
  • Adebayo – The crown meets joy or happiness
  • Okon – Born in the night
  • Udo – Peace
  • Balogun – Warlord
  • Igwe- Sky or heaven. A title of honour
  • Obi – Heart
  • Nwankwo – Born on Nkwo, the fourth and last day of the Igbo week. Also Okonkwo
  • Taiwo – The first twin to taste the world. Also, Taye, Taiye
  • Aminu – Secure, and at peace
  • Salisu – Generous and extroverted
  • Iheme – Things happen
  • Saidu – Happy
  • Ajayi – Born face-down
  • Jimoh – The congregation
  • Saleh – Righteous or virtuous
  • Bankole – Build my house for me
  • Osondu – To race for life
  • Obinna – Father’s heart
  • Gbadamosi – Introspective and philosophical
  • Akintola – Being brave is as good as wealth
  • Okoye – Patient and strong-willed. Strength.
  • Adenkule – Royalty filled the house
  • Akenzua – Urge for independence
  • Akerele – Humility with increase
  • Uba – Father, Lord

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Nigerian surnames list based on religion

Nigerian surnames
Photo: @PerAndersPettersson
Source: Getty Images

The Nigerian population is split in half between Christians and Muslims. One of the influencing factors of the surnames that they give is religion. Christians, refer to the Bible, while Muslims areinfluenced by Arabic culture. Some of these are as follows:

  • Oni – Born on holy ground
  • Yakubu – Supplanter
  • Muhammed – The most praised one. Also a prophet in Islam
  • Chidubem – Guided by God
  • Iwuchukwu – God’s covenant is unwavering
  • Umburter – Remember the Father, in the context of God
  • Folorunsho – Under God’s protection
  • Agbani – Praise God
  • Obasanjo – Gift of God
  • Ugochukwu – God’s eagle
  • Guh – Gift of God
  • Hassan – Handsome, strong, and manly
  • Emmanuel – God with us
  • Joseph – He shall increase
  • Yahaya – God is gracious. Also Yahya
  • Uduike – Fullness of power
  • Samuel – Heard or asked of God
  • Mustapha – The chosen one
  • Okoro – Child of the free-born man
  • Suleiman – Man of peace. Also Sulaiman, Solomon
  • Nwachukwu – God’s child
  • Shaibu – God’s grace
  • Abara – Spirit
  • Edem – God has delivered me
  • Nnadi – My God is alive, my father lives
  • Hassan – Doer of good
  • Chukwu – God is great
  • Isa – Jesus
  • Ali – Champion or elevated
  • Uchenna – God’s thought
  • Onyema – Who can predict the mind of God?
  • Bassey – God

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The naming culture and belief system of the Nigerian people has remained a core part of their lives to date. Even outside Nigerian borders, more people are embracing Nigerian surnames for their children, moving away from the traditional naming systems.

Tuko.co.ke in December this year published a list of Kenyan boy names that parents-to-be can explore while naming their children. There are numerous available options, including Christian names.

Other parents may prefer to go the Swahili way. There are various beautiful names, with profound meanings as well. Finally, parents can choose a name from the various tribes of Kenya.

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Source: Kenyan Breaking News

View more information: https://www.tuko.co.ke/396765-most-common-nigerian-surnames-meanings.html

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