I came across an article this morning that said Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State wants to rename the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) after Lagos. My first reaction was why but after reading his reasons, it seemed perfectly reasonable:
“I think the time has come for us to begin to look at the legislation that was passed during the military administration, that is decrees and acts. I think that was when the Lagos Stock Exchange became the Nigerian Stock Exchange, in unification for the country,” Fashola said.
The NSE was established in 1960 as the Lagos Stock Exchange but it was renamed in December 1977 as The Nigerian Stock Exchange. Put into context, this name change is understandable as it occurred seven years after Nigeria’s civil war (Biafra). This is why it’s likely Fashola was correct to say that the change in name occurred in an attempt to unify Nigeria.
Yet, when I looked at the comments for this story on Linda Ikeji’s blog, (I know, great source right…) I discovered most people didn’t seem to agree with Fashola and I:
“Story, Story. Why should we copy them.”
“Nigerian stock is better.. Sounds united.”
“Padi mi, calm down pls. Lagos is NOT everything.”
“Oga Fashola you are not the one to decide…leave dat one for our oga at d top Joe.”
Hmmm. These comments made me pause and take a moment to think about why people would oppose changing the NSE’s name to what is best global practice. After all, as the Governor rightly said,
“…we have the Johannesburg, Paris, New York and we don’t have the American Stock Exchange or German Stock Exchange while there is a Frankfurt Stock Exchange and so on.”
I asked a few colleagues what they thought about changing the NSE’s name to the Lagos Stock Exchange and the first thing they said was that it would spark controversy. Really?
I understand that many Nigerians feel there’s an ideological divide among those in the North and those in the South, so the timing of the name change isn’t great. Also, it is true that we are again in desperate need for policies to help unify our nation. BUT what’s in a name?
I mean this seriously.
What difference does it make if the NSE is called Naija Stock Tings (NST)? I’m being serious.
So, my questions to you (because I’m attempting to write shorter blog posts from now on), are:
- Is it actually rational to oppose changing the NSE’s name for sentimental reasons?
- Do we not have more important issue in Lagos to change like the terrible state of the water on the Island?
- What if any will the impact on the country be if the NSE’s name is changed to the Lagos Stock Exchange?
What’s clear to me is that Nigeria isn’t united BUT I’m not convinced changing the name of the NSE will change anything (for better or worse) other than its current name…