President Bola Tinubu has officially reinstated “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” as the country’s national anthem, marking a return to the anthem originally adopted at independence in 1960. 

The announcement was made during a joint sitting of the National Assembly to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Nigeria’s 4th Republic.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio confirmed that President Tinubu had signed the National Anthem Bill 2024 into law, replacing the current anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots,” which had been in place since 1978. “This morning, Mr. President signed into an Act of Parliament the newly passed National Anthem Bill 2024,” Akpabio stated at the session, noting that the President would not be making a speech as he needed to attend the launch of the Abuja metro line.

The Senate and House of Representatives had earlier passed the bill to revert to the old anthem in separate sittings. 

The change reflects a significant shift in Nigeria’s national symbols, reintroducing an anthem that played a key role in the nation’s identity during the 1960s and 1970s. Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate, wrote the lyrics, while Frances Berda composed the music.

The lyrics of “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” are 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 honor’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.

Mixed Reactions on Facebook

The decision to revert to the old anthem has sparked a wide array of reactions online, particularly on Facebook.

Oladele Idowu expressed frustration: “How can you go back to adopt an anthem that was composed by a foreigner and leave the one that was composed by a Nigerian… This people no gbádùn.”

Nelson Oriearebun criticized the government’s priorities: “This particular move by this government simply tells you that they don’t have regard for the opinions of Nigerians on any issue. Based on popular opinion, change of national anthem is not our priority for now and it’s not the reason why Nigeria is not working.”

Olayemi Salami shared his personal challenge: “Our leaders will not make heaven. Am 42 years now, it took me 40 years to learn our national anthem and now you’re introducing new one. Which will take me another 40 years to learn it. God will judge you people.”

Benedict Shawn highlighted historical concerns: “Name Nigeria given by British woman Flora Shaw. Nigerian national anthem — written by Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate. The most enslaved nation with no touch of originality and citizens roam all over the world boasting about their enslaved country.”

Adegboyega Adeyemi lamented the decision as regressive: “This nothing but a backward integration. So sad!!!! When will Nigeria be free from colonial mentality. Here we are sacrificing a homegrown national anthem for a colonially imposed national anthem. Sad, again and again.”

Johnson Adeyemo questioned the relevance of the old anthem today: “Hmm. In brotherhood we stand? A banner without stain? The banner has many indelible stains already. It is no more possible for us Nigerians to see ourselves as brothers any longer based on past experiences from different tribes. This national anthem was relevant when it was composed. But now, the center cannot hold again.”

Joan Clear Sparks raised concerns about education: “School pupils never learn book finish, na anthem dey wan use their time to learn? I pity the children. This country just dey hard dey go, nothing is working.”

Amuruonyenaego Chukwudi Okparaku reflected on recent national tragedies: “Our banner has been stained. Our flag stained by the blood of youths at Lekki toll gate, stained by innocent blood killed by insecurity caused by the negligence of the government. In brotherhood we stand does no longer exist after the last elections. It will be very difficult to unite this country unless an apology is tendered to Nigerians.”

Boluwatife Adedokun is a passionate journalist, who writes to ameliorate societal ills. As a young journalist, she aims to have a society devoid of corruptions by righting the wrongs with the power of pen. Her enthusiasm towards speaking for the masses has engendered her publication in different national dailies and she wish to be more impactful through her stories.

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