Published January 11, 2020Forty-five-year-old Salisu Mohammed, popularly known as Salisu Matagwa of Kumbiya-Kumbiya quarters in Gombe metropolis, recently changed his son’s name from Buhari to Rabiu Kwankwaso. He said the decision became necessary in order to save his son from embarrassment, humiliation and attacks by people who thought he was named after Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), whose regime he said had become unpopular because of his “poor performance and unfavourable policies”. Matagwa, who delights in naming his children after his role models, including Dino Melaye, tells CHIMA AZUBUIKEabout his habit of naming his children after popular persons
What do you do?
I’m a businessman. I sell domestic gas for a living. I’m a one-time Special Assistant to the immediate former Governor of Gombe State, Hassan Dankwambo. I’m doing fine as a person. My business is going on well. I have four wives and 18 children – nine boys and nine girls.
You recently changed the name of one of your sons from Buhari to Kwankwaso, so what is his name now?
Buhari’s popularity has not only dwindled, it is as low as 20 per cent. Nobody admires him or his style of politics in my area. When Buhari was popular, my son was loved, and everyone played with him. But despite the admiration he enjoyed, I was still not pleased because deep down, I knew the President would disgrace his admirers and supporters, and it might bounce back on my son. Then when people saw my son, they would hold him. They would call him President Buhari; he really enjoyed the warmth.
Did the name bring your son any benefits when Buhari was popular?
As you know, there were people who could not afford to see the President but when they saw my son, they were really pleased. Some would buy him gifts, show him love and honour him. When people saw me and my son, they would simply say, ‘Mugode’ (Thank you), although I didn’t vote for him. No one gave me anything. What we enjoyed was the love and salute people gave us, but I didn’t really like it because my son’s namesake was Salisu Buhari and not Muhammadu Buhari.
Now that Buhari is no longer popular, according to you, how did your child’s experience change?
They kept calling the young boy ‘General Buhari’ everywhere he went. Once they heard his name, they would shout ‘General President’, thinking he was named after the President. I didn’t like the boy then, even as the father because I was not pleased with the person people thought the he was named after. I didn’t show the boy adequate love; I regretted naming him Buhari because of the negative perceptions attached to the name