A few examples of Igbo folk religious names primarily found as peoples surnames today.
Christian influence from the early 20th century altered many of these names and encouraged the proliferation of ‘Chi’ names, ‘Chi’ roughly means a life source but missionaries took it for the Christian God; a name like ‘Chioma’ which originally meant ‘good chi’ – ‘lucky’ became ‘God is good’. With Christian influence more names became centred on ‘God’, in the past names were related more with philosophy, dates, and circumstances at birth.
Names dedicated to the Earth Mother Àlà / Ànà / Ànị̀ are very numerous emphasising the importance of Àlà in Igbo society as the chief spiritual force on earth after the high God and derivatives. [Interestingly, most ‘Chi’ in names like Chiedozie, Chinyere, Chiemeka, Chijioke, Chika today can be substituted with Ani / Ana / Ala like Aniedozie, Aninyere, Alaemeka, Anijioke, Anika.
Àlà / Ànà / Ànị̀ – The Earth Mother (deity)
Ájáànà / Ájáàlà (f) – Ala, the earth mother
Ànàzọ́nwụ́ – Ala protects from death
Ànị̀àgolu – Ala has obtained / provided
Ànị̀ẹ̀mẹ́ká – Ala has ‘done’ beyond our wishes
Ànị̀kà – Ala is greater
Ànị̀gèkwú – Ala will speak [for the meek] / carry out her divine will [in our favour], Ala will vindicate her followers, Ala will embarrass detractors
Ànị̀ékwénáǹsì (Ekwensi) – Ala protect from poison / witchcraft / evil
Ànị̀èdózíé – Ala has protected, restored, repaired
Ànị̀ẹ̀mẹ́ná – Ala has done it all / answered our wishes
Ànị̀yẹ̀mézè – Ala bestowed leadership on me
Ànị̀chèbé (Achebe) – Ala guard us
Ànàgọ̀zíé – Ala bless us
Ànị̀gbòọ̀gụ̀ – Ala has prevented a fight [Perhaps by the birth of a child a fight over a woman’s fertility was avoided.]
Ànị̀wètà / Ànị̀wètàlụ̀ – Ala brought [this child]
Ágwụ – The deity of divination
Amádíọ̀hà – Ágbàrà of justice, lord of lightening
Ányánwụ́ – The deity / power of the sun
Chí – Soul, providence
Chíọ́má – Good chí, lucky
Chímà – Chí knows, a resolute compass of providence (chí).
Chíkà – Chí is great, a infallible compass of providence (chí).
Èjìọ̀fọ́ (Ejiofor) (m) – Righteous, wielder of the staff of divine authority / justice (ọ̀fọ́) [ọ̀fọ́ were usually held by male heads of the family obtained from the naturally fallen branches of a special tree and were used as a staff of authority that could be sworn on.]
Èjìogù (m) – Righteous, swearer to the face of divine justice (ògù) [Somebody who is innocent and swears to ògù (íjí ògù) has divine backing over an accuser and an accuser may be harmed (ị́bà ùrè) if their name is called upon.
Ígwé – The sky deity, or leader
Íkéǹgà (m) – The cult figure of the right hand
Ìwúányánwụ́ – The law of the sun (deity)
Kámálụ́ / Kámánụ́ / Kálụ́ / Kánụ́ – Amadioha, ágbàrà of justice, lord of lightening
Ńdígwé – Heavenly descendants, heavens favoured.
Ǹjọ́kụ / Íféjíọ́kụ – Ágbàrà (deity) of yam, agriculture, and fire [who the new yam festival is partly dedicated to.
Nwágbàrà / Nwágbàlà – Child (devotee) of an Ágbàrà, under divine grace.
Nwányánwụ́ – Child (devotee) of Ányánwụ́
Nwàlà – Child (devotee) of Àlà
Nwádíbìà – Child of a dibia (diviner)
Nwágwụ – Child (devotee) of Ágwụ
Nwáḿụ́ọ́ – Child of a spirit
Nwáǹjọ́kụ / Nwáíféjíọ́kụ́ – Child (devotee) of Ǹjọ́kụ
Nwígwé – Child (devotee) of Ígwé, or descendant of a title holder