• Friday, June 14, 2024
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BusinessDay

Bill to bring back “Nigeria, We Hail thee” as Nigeria’s anthem scales second reading at Senate

Reps push for new law to curb illegality in maritime sector

…as House passes Bill

A bill seeking to change the current national anthem titled “Arise, O Compatriots” to revert to the old national anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” has passed a second reading at the Senate.

This is just as the Bill was passed at the House of Representatives on Thursday. It received an accelerated hearing at the lower house as it was read for the first, second and third time.

At the Senate, the legislation entitled “A Bill for an Act to provide for National Anthem , 2024” and sponsored by Bamidele Opeyemi, the Senate leader was read for the second time after lawmakers supported it during plenary.

“Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was adopted as Nigeria’s first national anthem on October 1, 1960. The anthem’s lyrics were written by Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate who lived in Nigeria when it achieved independence. Frances Berda composed the music for “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.”

The former anthem was used from independence in 1960 until 1978 when the present anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots,” was adopted in 1978 to replace it.

Leading the debate on the Bill, the Senate leader noted that the old anthem is in line with the vision of the President Bola Tinubu led administration, and will ensure unity of the country.

Also speaking in favour of the Bill, Tahir Monguno, the Lawmaker representing Borno North said the Bill was apt, noting that the current anthem is a product of a military junta and does not reflect the aspirations of Nigerians.

Also speaking, Okechuukwu Ezea, the lawmaker representing Enugu North said the old anthem evoked more emotion, adding that the current anthem is vague and does not pass any message.

In his submission, Jimoh Ibrahim, while supporting the Bill noted that “if Nigeria we get the National anthem right, we will get Nigeria right.”

The Bill was consequently passesd after getting support of lawmakers. They also agreed that a public hearing would be conducted to also get the input of Nigerians.

Godswill Akpabio,  the Senate President,  then referred the Bill to the Senate Committees on Judiciary, federal character, intergovernmental affairs to report back as soon as possible.