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Senate passes bill to reintroduce old national anthem

Senate

Senate has passed the National Anthem Bill 2024 to revert to the old national anthem, “Nigeria, we hail thee”.

The bill which speedily passed first and second readings now awaits assent into law by President Bola Tinubu.

The Senate passed legislation to swap the national anthem from “Arise, O Compatriots” to “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.” The old anthem, composed when Nigeria gained independence on October 1, 1960, will replace the current anthem.

The bill seeks to revive the anthem that was dropped in 1978 during Olusegun Obasanjo’s military administration.

Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate who lived in Nigeria during its independence, penned the lyrics for “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” while Frances Berda composed the music. The anthem played a significant role in shaping Nigeria’s national identity and unity during the 1960s and late 1970s.

During deliberations on the bill, Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, emphasized the anthem’s impact. According to him

“Upon rendition, it inspired deep patriotism among Nigerians. Those who lived through that era recognize its crucial role in our nation’s history, evoking nostalgia and fond memories of our early years.

Last week, the bill seeking to make a provision for Nigeria to revert to its old national anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” scaled through a second reading at the Senate before it was eventually passed on Tuesday. The House of Representatives has passed the bill.

Below are the lyrics of the old anthem

 

‘’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 honour’d,

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.”

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