May 23, 2024

Tinubu seeks re-introduction of Old National Anthem


President Bola Tinubu

…As Bill Scales Second Reading, NASS gives request, expeditious consideration

By Henry Umoru

THE Senate has given very quick consideration to an Executive Bill forwarded to it by  President  Bola Tinubu that seeks  for the  re – introduction of the old National Anthem which starts with popular phrase of ” Nigeria,  We  Hail Thee ..”

The Senate yesterday gave it first and second reading.

This followed the presentation of the lead debate on the general principles of the Executive bill by the sponsor, the Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, APC, Ekiti Central.

The bill titled “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the National Anthem of Nigeria, and for matters related thereto, 2024” which was read for the first time yesterday and also given accelerated hearing where it scaled second reading. It was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters,  Federal Character and Inter Governmental Affairs,  to report back as soon as possible.

In his lead debate on the general principles of the bill,  the Senate leader  said that the  Bill seeks to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old National Anthem that would promote better symbol for unity, peace and prosperity – compared to the current one.

He said, “the old Anthem if reintroduced ,  will inspire in us the zeal to build a fully integrated and indivisible nation, whereby all citizens will live in unity and harmony. “

Bamidele who noted that the old National Anthem was more patriotism and Nationalism – driven, said, ” The Anthem, upon rendition, inspired and stimulated deep sense of patriotism in Nigerians. You will also agree with me that those who were around in the 60s and the late 70s, would attest to the fact that the Anthem played quite a significant and crucial role in shaping Nigeria’s national identity and unity, as well as engendered high sense of value and personal belonging amongst the citizenry.

“It was symbolic of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and nationhood. In retrospect, the Anthem served as regular and constant reminder of our journey, as a nation and provoked feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of the country’s early years.

“Mr President, my dear colleagues, at this momentous time in our national history, it is imperative that we utilise any platform that seeks to unite the country and promote patriotism amongst Nigerians.

“Accordingly, the old National Anthem, as a symbol of national pride, has provided insights for patriotic reflections on our aspirations, values and hope for a united and prosperous Nigeria.

“Finally, I implore you all, my Distinguished Colleagues, to support the expeditious passage of this Bill, as it is in line with the RENEWED Reorientation of our collective values and national conscientization efforts of the current administration.

“The rendition and musical accuracy of the Anthem, is better in content and context than the current one. On this note, permit me at this juncture, to reproduce the Anthem to serve as a reminder and reflection:

“Nigeria, We Hail Thee

Nigeria we hail thee

Our own dear native land,

Though travelling and tongue may differ

In brotherhood we stand,

Nigerians all, and 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 creation,

Grant this our one request,

Help us to build a nation

Where no man is oppressed,

And so with peace and plenty Nigeria may be blessed.”

Supporting the bill, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim (APC-Ondo) queried the current  anthem saying that that the “language” of the anthem was “elusive”.

Quoting one of the stanza of the anthem which is “Arise oh compatriot”, Ibrahim said “what about non compatriots. How do we convert them to become compatriots.

“That is why I said this language is elusive. And it’s not good for any reason. The old anthem, Nigeria we hail thee, comes to the mind of Nigerians.

“We must thrive as a nation, as a Senate to rise above elusiveness of language. This current national anthem has not solved any problem. 

“The only way to help our nation to grow is not to add to the complexity of argument around our nation”.

In his contribution,  Senator Tahir Monguno, APC Borno North  described the bill as apt and germane .

In his own contribution , Senator Jimoh Ibrahim,  APC Ondo South  said that  the move made by the presidency to replace the current National Anthem with the new one was very apt and necessary.

According to him , Nigeria , We Hail Thee , is far more inspiring and Nationalistic than Arise O Compatriots .

For Senator  Victor Umeh, LP, Anambra Central, the  old national anthem which we are seeking to bring back, is the national anthem that needs all the ingredients of a nation.

He said, “The citizens should be able to look up to the nation, Nigeria as their own country. That is why the opening says Nigeria we hail. In other words we are placing Nigeria above all considerations as citizens of the country.

“National Anthem is supposed to be motivational. The words contained in the old national anthem are motivational. Apart from putting to bear, our history, our composition as a people, It emphasizes brotherhood.

On his part, Senator Diket Plang, APC, Plateau Central said,  “Unity can be acquired when there is brotherhood, when there is brotherhood, there is unity.

We have diversity, by the end of the day we are binded by the fact that we are brothers. The reintroduction of brotherhood in our national anthem is very fundamental.

In his remarks, the President of the Senate Godswill Akpabio committed the bill to the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs to report back to the Senate as soon as possible