Just like Reps, Senate hurriedly pass bill to revert to old National Anthem 

Sharon EboesomiMay 28, 20246 min

The National Anthem bill was read for a first, second and immediate third reading last Thursday in the House of Representatives while it only passed first and second readings in the Senate.

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The Senate has passed a bill to revert to the previous National Assembly following the consideration of a report by the Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters during Tuesday’s plenary.

The chairman of the committee, Senator Tahir Monguno (APC, Borno North) while presenting the committee’s report, urged the Senate to pass the bill based on its importance.

He said, “The parliament considers this bill important and the National Anthem is a representation of the country’s history, culture and people. The proposed bill is apt, timely and important.”

Thereafter, the Senate resolved into the committee of the whole to consider the clauses of the bill and subsequently passed it.

The former anthem, ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee,’ was adopted as the country’s first national anthem on October 1, 1960, but was dropped in 1978 by the Olusegun Obasanjo military regime.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Senate, Reps pass bill to revert to Nigeria’s old National Anthem 

OrderPaper recalls that the bill titled “A bill to provide for the National Anthem of Nigeria for related matters,” seeking the return of Nigeria’s old National Anthem – Nigeria, we hail thee, passed its first and second reading at the Senate during last Thursday’s plenary.

It had also been read for a first, second and immediate third reading on the same day in the House of Representatives.

During the debate on the bill, the lawmakers concluded that the current national anthem is a product of the military junta, and should be discarded to adequately capture the nation’s democratic values, and integrity and principally foster commitment to nationhood.

In his lead debate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) stressed that the old National Anthem is a symbol of national pride.

He said it has provided insights for patriotic reflections on values and hope for a united and prosperous Nigeria.

He said, “You will also agree with me that those who were around in the 60s and the late 70s, would attest to the fact that the Anthem played quite a significant and crucial role in shaping Nigeria’s national identity and unity, as well as engendered a high sense of value and personal belonging amongst the citizenry.

“It was symbolic of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and nationhood. In retrospect, the Anthem served as a regular and constant reminder of our journey, as a nation and provoked feelings of nostalgia and fond memories of the country’s early years.”

Supporting the bill, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim (APC, Ondo South) faulted the “language” of the current anthem, saying that “Arise o compatriot,” is elusive.

According to him, the previous anthem, “Nigeria We Hail Thee,” is far more inspiring and Nationalistic than “Arise O Compatriots.”

He said, “What about non compatriots? How do we convert them to become compatriots?

“That is why I said this language is elusive. And it’s not good for any reason. The old anthem, “Nigeria we hail thee,” comes to the mind of Nigerians.

“We must thrive as a nation, as a Senate to rise above the elusiveness of language. This current national anthem has not solved any problem. 

“The only way to help our nation to grow is not to add to the complexity of argument around our nation.”

Senator Victor Umeh (LP, Anambra Central) noted that the previous national anthem was motivational and had all the “ingredients.” 

He said, “The citizens should be able to look up to the nation, Nigeria as their own country. That is why the opening says Nigeria we hail. In other words, we are placing Nigeria above all considerations as citizens of the country.

“National Anthem is supposed to be motivational. The words contained in the old national anthem are motivational. Apart from putting to bear our history, our composition as a people, It emphasises brotherhood.”

Following the debate, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report back as soon as possible.

The previous National Anthem reads as follows;

“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,

“And this we count as gain,

“To hand on to our children, a banner without stain.

“O God of 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.”

Sharon Eboesomi

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