NIGERIA: House of Reps Approves Bill to Reinstate Old National Anthem

NIGERIA House of Reps Approves Bill to Reinstate Old National Anthem
NIGERIA House of Reps Approves Bill to Reinstate Old National Anthem

The Nigerian House of Representatives has cleared bills aiming at the reinstatement of the nation’s former national anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.”

In an unusually swift legislative process, the bill completed all three readings within minutes and is now set to proceed to the Senate for concurrence. Upon Senate agreement, the next stage would be the presidential assent.

Leading the charge for the old anthem’s return, House Leader Professor Julius Ihonvbere highlighted the emblematic value of the national anthem as a symbol and sign of authority that should be embraced by Nigerians without denying the nation’s realities.

Ironically, the old anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was swapped out for the current “Arise, O Compatriots” in 1978.

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The move sparked debate within the chamber, with Minority Leader Kingsley Chinda raising objections to reverting to an anthem that carries colonial connections, as it was written and composed by Britons.

Chinda questioned the relevance of changing the anthem amidst more pressing national concerns.

Despite the reservations, the legislation swiftly gained passage from the lawmakers.

Over in the Senate, similar progress ensued with the bill sailing through the first and second readings. It has been entrusted to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, which is expected to report back to the House within two weeks.

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