Sun. Jun 16th, 2024

By Sola Ojewusi

In a historic move today, the Nigerian Senate officially readopted the old national anthem “Nigeria We Hail Thee,” following its earlier passage by the nation’s House of Representatives. This decision marks a significant nod to Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and a return to a melody that once echoed across the nation.

The anthem, composed in 1959 by the late Pa. John A. Ilechukwu, (Others credits it to Frances Berda, 1959) with lyrics by Lilian Jean Williams, served as Nigeria’s national anthem from 1960 to 1978. It resonated with the spirit of unity and patriotism during a crucial period in Nigeria’s history, encapsulating the hopes and aspirations of the Nigerian people as they navigated the challenges of nation-building.

In contrast, the current national anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots,” adopted in 1978, was composed by the late Pa. Benedict E. Odiase, with lyrics by Prof. Babatunde Ogunnaike. While “Arise, O Compatriots” has been a symbol of Nigeria’s resilience and determination for over four decades, the decision to revert to the old anthem reflects a desire to honor the country’s past while embracing its future.

The move to readopt “Nigeria We Hail Thee” comes amidst a growing sentiment among Nigerians to reconnect with their cultural roots and reclaim symbols that reflect the nation’s diversity and unity. Senators who supported the adoption of the old anthem emphasized its timeless message of patriotism and national pride, which remains relevant to this day.
But then while some hailed this decision by the Nigerian Senate as not only paying homage to the past but also reaffirming a commitment to forge a future built on the principles of unity, peace, and progress, Lagos others have criticised it as a total waste of time and resources at a time of more serious national challenges.
Nevertheless, as the echoes of “Nigeria We Hail Thee” resound once again in the chambers of powerHello and across the land, it is hoped that this reversal would serves as a reminder of Nigeria’s journey as a nation and the enduring spirit of its people.

Lyrics

Nigeria we hail thee

Our own dear native land
Though tribes and tongue may differ
In brotherhood we stand
Nigerians all, are proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland.
Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign
In peace or battle honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to our children
A banner without stain.
O God of all creation
Grant this our one request.
Help us to build a nation
Where no man is oppressed
And so with peace and plenty
Nigeria shall be blessed.

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