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Nigeria We Hail Thee: Tinubu Endorses Return of Old National Anthem

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President Bola Tinubu has emphasized that the reintroduction of Nigeria’s old national anthem, “Nigeria, we hail thee,” has always been a top priority for his administration.

This statement came during a meeting with the leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at the State House in Abuja, on Friday.

Details of the meeting were contained in a statement released by Tinubu’s spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale on Friday.

Addressing the gathering, President Tinubu highlighted that the National Assembly had enacted a law to revert to the old national anthem, and he is bound to comply with this legislation.

“The National Assembly made the law reverting to the old national anthem and I do not have a choice but to obey the legislation,” he stated.

He further elaborated on the significance of Nigeria’s diversity and the need to protect and celebrate it.

“Some people say, okay, say what? Is that your priority? It’s my priority. I agree with the National Assembly. If they make law, I’ve got to obey that law, or we disagree openly and close the chapter,” Tinubu explained.

Reflecting on Nigeria’s identity and unity, Tinubu remarked, “Who gave us the name Nigeria? Is it not Britain? Or somewhere? Have we changed our name? We are Nigerians. Our passport shows that. As long as we are Nigerians and one family, we remain and protect our diversity and love one another as brothers and sisters.”

He underscored the importance of embracing the nation’s diversity and the roles individuals play within it.

“It was God Almighty that put you in that particular place and makes you a member of that family. You have no control over it,” he said.

“Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” written by Lillian Jean Williams and composed by Frances Berda was introduced shortly after independence in 1960.

This anthem, which extolled unity, hope, and patriotism, served as a symbol of the country’s aspirations and identity during the early years of independence.

In 1978, it was replaced by “Arise, O Compatriots,” which was selected through a national competition to better to reflect Nigeria’s diverse cultures and forward-looking aspirations.

The National Assembly had passed a bill that provided for the replacement of the old anthem with “Nigeria, We Hail Thee”.

The law outlines the official re-adoption of the anthem, mandates its use in all official state functions, and provides guidelines for its integration into the education system and public events.

The public response has been mixed. Some Nigerians, especially those who experienced the early post-independence years, welcome the return of “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” with a sense of nostalgia and pride.

Others, particularly among the youth and certain political commentators, view the move with skepticism or outright opposition, questioning the priorities and motivations behind this legislative change.

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