July 10, 2024

Regional anthems, how desirable?

DEMOCRACY, SOVEREIGNTY AND A UNITED NIGERIA: Is right to self-determination a viable option?


The recent adoption of a regional anthem by the six Governors of the South-West states – Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Ondo, Ekiti and Lagos – has aroused controversy, with some questioning the “real” motive behind it.

An anthem is a song meant to arouse passion, patriotism or a sense of common bond within a group. Our National Anthems – both the “old” and “new”, equally captured the ideals that Nigeria was meant to strive toward or be bound by to build a great, prosperous nation. Our inability to keep to the commitments encapsulated in the poesies of those anthems reflect in the failed situations we find ourselves in.

Over the years, many states have created their own anthems and even coats of arms. These include Ogun, Anambra, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Edo and others. Even some institutions of higher learning, such as the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN; Benue State University, BSU, and others, have theirs.

What, perhaps, is raising eyebrows in some quarters about the South-West regional anthem, is that the Western Region is defunct, like the others. What we have are the six geopolitical zones of which the South-West is among. The zones are informal, non-constitutional entities which are often used as the basis of sharing of the proverbial national cake. What is the basis of creating an anthem for such an entity?

The answer lies in the fact that any group can create its own anthem. Even a family or board of directors of a private business can adopt their own anthems.

What makes the South-West regional anthem controversial is that people are reading it as yet another possible indicator that the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration could have a big agenda for the restructuring of Nigeria and the possible revival of the regional system of government.

We have seen other possible indicators such as the draft constitution amendment bill making the rounds proposing a return to regionalism. Proposals are also being made for a six-year single term for a president, return to the parliamentary system, and other bills for the creation of a new state for the South-East to balance with the rest of the geopolitical zones.

We have also seen the repositioning of the Southern Governors Forum, SGF, the election of a Tinubu acolyte, Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State as its chairman, and also the election of another Tinubu loyalist, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, as the chairman of the South West Governors Forum.

We are strong supporters of the restoration of true federalism in Nigeria. We believe that the South-West anthem is a non-issue as it poses no danger to anyone.