Home Entertainment Nigeria to readopt its First National Anthem replaced 46 Years Ago

Nigeria to readopt its First National Anthem replaced 46 Years Ago

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The bill to revert to the old anthem quickly scaled through the two legislative houses and is facing serious criticism from many Nigerians who believe the country has more pressing issues.

A bill to revert Nigeria’s national anthem to an older version has passed the final reading at the Senate and is set to become law as soon as President Bola Tinubu signs it.

The majority leader of the House of Representatives, Julius Ihonvbere, sponsored the bill. The bill, titled “Act to Provide for the National Anthem of Nigeria and Matters Related,” will change the current national anthem adopted in 1978. The current anthem was written by five Nigerians, whose entries were the best in a national contest. The new anthem, the anthem from Nigeria’s independence in 1960 till its replacement, was written by a British expatriate then residing in Nigeria.

According to Ihonvbere, “the old anthem, encompasses, contains, exudes the kind of energy, resourcefulness and a sense of vision that I believe is good for Nigeria.”

Several House of Representatives members made comments against the bill and its pertinence to current day Nigerian life. Minority leader Kingsley Chinda referred to it as a colonial era product. “What value will it add to us as a nation? I stand to oppose it. I asked the leader to withdraw the bill,” Chinda pointedly said at the end of his remarks.

After hearing arguments in favor of and against the bill, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu called for a vote, and according to reports, ruled in favor of the bill despite the voices of the “nays” being louder. The bill was passed after it scaled first, second and third reading in the same sitting on Thursday and made its way to the Senate, where it quickly passed both readings. It was then referred to the Senate’s Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters who presented its report on Tuesday, and thereafter, it passed its final reading.

The bill will almost certainly be signed into law by President Tinubu, considering his pronounced affinity for the older national anthem to be renewed. Speaking at a public event back in 2011, Tinubu called for a national referendum to potentially reinstate the national anthem, saying that it “drove home [Nigeria’s ethnic] diversity and our fraternal resolve to build one nation.” He also called the new anthem “a very drab replacement” and “far less inspirational.”

Many Nigerians have been very critical online since the bill scaled through the National Assembly and are even more cynical now that it will become law. Most of the criticisms center on the usefulness, or lack thereof, of an anthem change amidst skyrocketing inflation and a horrendous cost of living crisis many in the country are going through.

“Tomato is scarce yet senate is passing bill on old national anthem,” popular Nigerian journalist Oseni Rufai wrote in an X post. “Can they talk about food inflation please and other issues that affect Nigerians[?]”

“So, we are abolishing the National Anthem that we wrote by ourselves and we are going back to the one written for us by the colonial masters,” X user Damilare Odulesi wrote in a reply to a post announcing the imminent anthem change. “We are truly independent indeed,” they added in jest.

“Just putting it out there… not in this my age will I start learning any […] new National anthem. Good luck to all the parties involved in this frivolity!” X user @FAMEMAKER_ wrote in a post.

“The people we elected to handle our affairs now believe the national anthem is more important than the trending economic issues in the country,” X user @mr_stitch01 wrote in his post. “See the way they’re rushing the bill. Laughable”

 

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