Home ECONOMY Nigeria, We Hail Thee: Nigeria’s Leadership Plays Musical Chairs While Citizens Suffer

Nigeria, We Hail Thee: Nigeria’s Leadership Plays Musical Chairs While Citizens Suffer

by inlandtownadmin
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The Nigerian Flag Nigeria We Hail Thee

In a move that has been described as perplexingly tone-deaf, the President of Nigeria Bola Ahmed Tinubu has just signed a bill reinstating the old national anthem on Wednesday May 29th, 2024.

This decision comes at a time when the country is grappling with severe economic hardships, widespread insecurity, and a general sense of disillusionment among its citizens. One might wonder if the change in tune is supposed to magically solve these pressing issues.

The old national anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” composed by British expatriate Lillian Jean Williams and orchestrated by Frances Berda, was Nigeria’s anthem from independence in 1960 until 1978. The lyrics, while noble, reflect a colonial past that many believe the country has been trying to move beyond. Switching back to it now seems like a step backwards rather than the forward-thinking change that is desperately needed.

Contrast this with the current anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots,” which was adopted in 1978 and composed by Nigerian Benedict E. Odiase. This anthem, with its call to patriotism and unity, was meant to inspire a sense of national pride and collective responsibility. Its creation was a homegrown effort, symbolizing a Nigeria striving to forge its own identity post-independence.

In the face of ongoing fuel scarcity, soaring inflation, and a staggering poverty rate bedeviling the nation, one has to ask: Is an anthem really the most urgent priority? Perhaps the powers that believe that a nostalgic return to the past will instill a renewed sense of hope. Or maybe it’s just another distraction, diverting attention from the lack of substantial progress on critical issues.

Moreover, it’s curious that the government has found the time and resources to debate and implement this change, while basic amenities like electricity, healthcare, and education remain in dire straits. One could almost hear the collective sigh of the nation, wondering if this change will miraculously fill their empty stomachs or put an end to the security challenges.

The composers of these anthems, separated by decades and circumstances, likely never imagined their work would become a pawn in such political theater. Williams and Berda’s “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was a product of its time, just as Odiase’s “Arise, O Compatriots” was meant to galvanize a new Nigeria. Now, it seems the leaders are stuck in a past that many citizens are striving to move beyond.

In the end, one can only hope that this change in anthem will be accompanied by real, tangible improvements in the lives of Nigerians. Until then, the old song remains just that—an old song, with no power to address the very new and real problems facing the nation.

See the old National Anthem ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’ below and share your thoughts in the comments section.

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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