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Backward March: Tinubu’s Anthem Reversal Stirs Controversy

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Tinubu’s Anthem Reversal sparks controversy as Ezekwesili and Yesufu reject old anthem. Senate President announces anthem change, urging Nigerians to embrace it

In a controversial move, President Bola Tinubu has signed into law the bill to revert Nigeria’s national anthem to the original version adopted at independence in 1960. This decision has sparked significant debate and criticism from various quarters, reflecting deep divisions about the country’s identity and priorities.

The bill, which was assented to by Tinubu on Wednesday, aims to replace the current anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots,” which was adopted in 1978 under the Olusegun Obasanjo military regime. Senate President Godswill Akpabio announced the change, urging Nigerians to familiarize themselves with the new old anthem. In his address, Akpabio stated,

“Henceforth, we will not refer to ourselves as dear compatriots; we will refer to ourselves as brothers and as we go forward in battle, whether in the field of sports, in the field of politics, we must hail Nigeria and so we are all saying today that Nigeria, we Hail thee.”

However, this move has not been universally welcomed. Prominent figures such as Obiageli Ezekwesili and Aisha Yesufu have voiced their strong opposition. Ezekwesili, a former minister and activist, took to X (formerly Twitter) to express her incredulity.

“Absolutely incredulous! ‘Native Land’ and ‘Tribes’ in a 21st Century Nigeria,” she wrote, criticizing the reversion to a colonial-era anthem as regressive and undemocratic. She further declared, “Let it be known to all and sundry that I, Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili shall whenever asked to sing the Nigerian National Anthem sing: ‘Arise, O compatriots…’”

emphasizing her refusal to accept the new-old anthem.

Aisha Yesufu, another well-known activist, also made her stance clear by refusing to stand during the rendition of the reinstated anthem at a public event. Her act of dissent has been widely shared on social media, symbolizing a broader discontent with the administration’s decision.

Aisha Yesufu Defies National Anthem Reversion

BlaccTheddi Post has observed a flurry of reactions on social media, with many Nigerians expressing concern over what they perceive as a misplacement of priorities by the Tinubu administration. Critics argue that at a time when the country faces severe economic challenges and social issues, the focus on changing the national anthem seems misplaced and out of touch with the pressing needs of the populace.

This anthem reversal is likely to remain a contentious issue, highlighting the ongoing ideological battle between the political elite and the citizens of Nigeria. As Ezekwesili poignantly noted, “It is inevitable that there will be an ideological War between the Political Class and the Citizens of Nigeria. It is only but a matter of ‘When?’”

The unfolding debate underscores the complexities of national identity and the importance of symbols in uniting or dividing a nation. As Nigeria navigates these turbulent waters, the voices of dissent serve as a reminder of the need for inclusive and forward-thinking governance.

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