Nigeria Reverting to the Old National Anthem

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Nigeria Reverting to the Old National Anthem: House of Reps’ speedy bill passage raises suspicions. Will this change unite or distract the nation?

In a rapid and unprecedented move, the Nigerian House of Representatives passed a bill to revert to the old national anthem, a decision met with both support and opposition. The bill, sponsored by the Majority Leader of the House, Julius Ihonvbere, sped through its first, second, and third readings in record time, raising questions and eyebrows about the urgency and intention behind this legislative action.

The Old Anthem: A Return to Roots

The old national anthem, written by Lillian Jean Williams and composed by Frances Berda, was Nigeria’s anthem from 1960 to 1978. Its lyrics evoke a sense of unity and pride:

Nigeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ,
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians all, and proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland.

In contrast, the current anthem, adopted in 1978 during Olusegun Obasanjo’s military regime, was the product of a national competition won by five contributors: John Ikechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, Babatunde Ogunnaike, Sotu Omoigui, and P. O. Aderogbu, and composed by Benedict Odiase. This anthem emphasizes a prayer for peace and progress:

Arise, O compatriots, 
Nigeria's call obey,
To serve our fatherland,
With love and strength and faith.

Speed and Suspicion

The bill’s swift passage through the House is unprecedented. Within minutes, it cleared all necessary readings, sparking suspicion about the underlying motives. Concurrently, the Senate also fast-tracked the bill through its first and second readings, assigning it to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights, and Legal Matters for further review within two weeks.

Unanswered Questions

The haste with which this bill was passed raises several questions. Why the rush? What prompted the sudden need to revert to the old anthem? Some lawmakers voiced opposition, questioning the relevance and timing of such a change amid Nigeria’s pressing socio-economic challenges. Is this move a genuine attempt to rekindle national pride, or is it a political distraction from more critical issues?

A Symbolic Gesture

Reverting to the old national anthem could be seen as a symbolic gesture aimed at uniting the country by reconnecting with its post-independence roots. The old anthem’s emphasis on unity in diversity, justice, and peace resonates with Nigeria’s ongoing struggle to bridge ethnic divides and foster national cohesion.

The Path Forward

As the Senate committee reviews the bill, Nigerians await further developments. Will this legislative move foster a renewed sense of patriotism, or will it be viewed as a mere political maneuver? The outcome will reveal much about the priorities and direction of Nigeria’s leadership.

Conclusion

The decision to revert to the old national anthem is more than a legislative change; it is a statement about Nigeria’s identity and aspirations. Whether it will achieve its intended effect remains to be seen. As BlaccTheddi Post continues to monitor this development, we remain committed to providing insightful analysis and fostering a deeper understanding of the forces shaping Africa’s future.

Nigeria we hail thee, Our own dear native land, and with every legislative act, we seek to understand whether it brings us closer to the nation we aspire to be.

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