Nigeria’s new old national anthem sparks outrage after being signed by Bola Tinubu

Some Nigerians have expressed outrage after the country’s national anthem was changed with little consultation.

President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday signed the bill to return to Nigeria’s old national anthem, which was abandoned by a military government in 1978.

The newly adopted anthem, which begins “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” was written by Lillian Jean Williams in 1959 and composed by Frances Berda.

On his first anniversary in office, President Tinubu said the anthem symbolizes the diversity of Nigeria.

But many have questioned their priorities amid the cost of living crisis.

Reacting online, some Nigerians said the country had more pressing problems, including insecurity, rising inflation and a currency crisis.

X user @Gospel_rxx posted: “A new national anthem is the priority for Tinubu & Co at a time like this. When our people cannot eat, insecurity abounds and life is hell? What a sordid joke!! Let’s see how they implement it…”

Another X user, Fola Folayan, said it was shameful that parliament had rushed through the bill.

“Changing the Nigerian national anthem written by a Nigerian with a song written by colonizers is a stupid decision and it is shameful that no one in the National Assembly thought to oppose it.”

Former Minister of Education Oby Ezekwesili posted on X that she would never sing the new old anthem.

“Let everyone know that I, Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili, when asked to sing the Nigerian National Anthem, I will sing:”

He then posted the words to “Arise, O Fellow Countrymen,” the anthem that has been used for the past 46 years.

Former presidential aide Bashir Ahmad had an interesting insight as Nigerians continue to debate the issue on social media.

“After the change of our national anthem, some people are now calling for the name of Nigeria and the national flag to also be changed. What do you think? Should we retain the name of Nigeria?”

But Tahir Mongunu, chairman of the parliamentary committee that pushed the bill, dismissed widespread criticism, saying it was “appropriate, timely and important.”

“It will certainly inspire a zeal for patriotism and cooperation. It will promote cultural heritage. Changing the national anthem will chart a path towards greater unity,” Tahir said.

And Kano resident Habu Shamsu agrees, telling the BBC: “I think it’s more all-encompassing and I like the way it flows.”

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