Tuesday 28 May 2024

‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’... Nigerian Senate Passes Bill Reinstating Old National Anthem

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The Nigerian Senate has passed a bill for the third reading that proposes reinstating the country’s old national anthem, ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’. The decision followed vigorous discussions and a report presented by Tahir Monguno, the chair of the judiciary committee.This legislative action counters the viewpoint of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Lateef Fagbemi, who argued that changing the national anthem should undergo a more extensive process involving broader public consultation. Despite the AGF’s reservations, Monguno emphasized the bill’s significance, leading to its passage in the Senate.The bill had previously been expedited through the House of Representatives, where it quickly passed last week. However, it only reached the second reading in the Senate before finally gaining approval.

During the debates, a majority of lawmakers across both chambers expressed their support for the bill, highlighting the anthem’s cultural and motivational importance. Senator Victor Umeh of Anambra Central was particularly vocal, arguing that a national anthem should be dynamic and inspiring, a sentiment he claimed the current anthem lacks.

“The old one we are seeking to bring back is one that evokes emotions,” Umeh said. “A national anthem is supposed to be motivational. There is motivation in the old anthem. I think from what my colleagues have said, there is nothing in the current anthem that motivates our people. If we bring it back, our children will be more committed to the ideals of nationhood.”

This move marks a significant shift in Nigeria’s national identity, reflecting a desire among lawmakers to revive historical symbols that resonate more deeply with the nation’s citizens. The bill now awaits the President’s approval to become law.

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