NATIONAL ANTHEM: Key Facts You Should Know About Nigeria’s Former National Anthem

NATIONAL ANTHEM Key Facts You Should Know About Nigeria's Former National Anthem
NATIONAL ANTHEM Key Facts You Should Know About Nigeria's Former National Anthem

The Nigerian House of Representatives has advanced a bill to restore “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” the country’s original national anthem, potentially replacing the current anthem, “Arise O Compatriots.”

House Leader Hon. Julius Ihonvbere sponsored the bill, which promptly progressed through the legislative process and was passed during Thursday’s session.

Titled “Bill For An Act to Provide for the National Anthem of Nigeria, and for Matters Related Thereto,” the bill prescribes the reinstatement of “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” as the nation’s anthem as per the proposed legislation’s schedule.

As Nigeria contemplates the reinstatement of its old anthem for official functions, it’s important to understand the background behind its initial replacement.

Here are somevInsights into Nigeria’s Original National Anthem.

The old anthem, adopted upon Nigeria’s independence from British rule in 1960, served as a marker of the nation’s newfound sovereignty and the collective aspirations for unity among its diverse populace.

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Its lyrics were composed to foster a sense of national pride and solidarity despite tribal and linguistic differences.

Yet, the anthem, with its British ties and composition by Lillian Jean Williams, an expatriate living in Nigeria during the independence era, eventually faced criticism for lacking the requisite emotional and cultural resonance for Nigeria’s varied ethnic landscape.

After nearly two decades, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was phased out in 1978 in favor of “Arise, O Compatriots,” designed to encapsulate a more authentic expression of the nation’s identity and hopes under General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military rule.

The Lyrics of “Nigeria, We Hail Thee”

The old anthem’s full lyrics are a representation of Nigeria’s heritage, sentiments, and the collective quest for a harmonious, prosperous country:

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.

Our flag shall be a symbol

That truth and justice reign,

In peace or battle honoured,

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 may be blessed.

END

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