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HomeViews and ReviewsInterrogating Nigeria's Reversed National Anthem

Interrogating Nigeria’s Reversed National Anthem

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Obiasogu David

So, the House of Reps broke the record for passing the fastest bill in Nigeria history. In few minutes, the bill went through the First, Second, and Third Readings – in such a very suspicious speed!

At the same time, the Senate passed the bill through the First and Second Readings, and then quickly pushed it to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to review and report back to the house in two weeks.

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Why the rush?…one can’t exactly say. But let’s review the details and unveil the truth.

So, at Independence, the British Colonial thieves saw Nigerians as kids with dull brains, who don’t have the creativity to write and compose their own anthem. So, they reached out to their own, Lillian Jean William to write Nigeria’s anthem. After he wrote it, they contracted Frances Berda to compose the writing into music.

Nigerians, whom the anthem was made for, had no input or participation whatsoever. But they had to take the anthem and sing it – if they wanted independence.

People say the anthem sounds like it mocks Nigeria sef. Others say it provokes Nigeria’s differences even more.

For instance, some lines in the anthem read;

“Though tribe and tongue may differ”

“In brotherhood we stand.”


The anthem didn’t do much to provoke the “spirit of brotherhood.” In fact, Nigerians sang it with lip service. Some Nigerians didn’t agree to sing at all.

Then the civil war struck. The wounds of the war tainted the hearts and souls of Nigerians. General Olusegun Obasanjo, was the head of state at the time. He felt that one of the ways to detach from colonial claws and heal from the civil war was to have a Nigerian anthem, drafted and composed by Nigerians, and for Nigerians.

So, in 1978, Obasanjo’s regime set up a committee. They called for a national competition, of Nigerians to write the anthem. The intention was to get contributions from Nigerians from different tribes and fuse into a Wazobia (Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo) mix.

Eventually, 5 entries were picked. They’re from P. O . Aderogbu, Babatunde Ogunnaike, John Ikechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, and Sotu Omoigwi. Their writings were fused into one to make the new National Anthem. Then, Benedict Odiase who, at the time, was the Director of Music in the Nigeria Police band, composed the lyrics into music.

Clearly, the second anthem is, by far, a more cherished treasure to Nigerians. One, because it’s indigenous – that’s it’s locally-made. Two, it recognized the ingenuity and creativity of Nigerians. Three, it got Nigerians invested in the process of making it. Four, it bought into the spirit and reality of Nigeria at the time – a healing process from the civil war. This is probably why words like tribe and difference were erased.

Now, back to what those “quacks” at the National Assembly did today.

They simply threw away the second and current National anthem that was written and composed by Nigerians and for Nigerians and embraced the foreign anthem written and composed by British citizens, on the order of the colonial masters – for whatever reasons their brains can fathom.

You, be the judge – if the move made sense!


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