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Nigeria Reinstates Original National Anthem, ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has signed a bill restoring the country’s original independence anthem, ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’. The anthem, written by British expatriate Lillian Jean Williams, will replace ‘Arise O’ Compatriots’, which has been in use since 1978.

President Tinubu has long been a proponent of reinstating the original anthem, arguing that it better represents Nigeria’s values. 

In a past interview, he stated, “If I had my way, I would bring back our first national anthem… It described us much better. I don’t know why we changed it. It’s about service, diversity, and commitment to value our nation-building.”

The move has received mixed reactions from Nigerians, with some expressing nostalgia for the old anthem and others criticizing the decision as a step backward into the country’s colonial past. 

Afropop singer Teni took to her X handle to express her sentiments, saying, “Arise o compatriots, I’ll miss you, thank you for so many child hood memories. till we meet again, love SM”

Defending the decision, Mohammed Tahir Monguno, chairman of the parliamentary committee that pushed the bill through, stated, “It’s apt, timely, and important… It will undoubtedly inspire a zeal for patriotism and cooperation. It will promote cultural heritage. Changing the national anthem will chart a path to greater unity.”

The original independence anthem was in use from 1960 until its repeal in 1978 by then-military leader Olusegun Obasanjo. Its reinstatement comes two years after President Tinubu first expressed his desire to bring it back.

Lyrics of ‘Nigeria We Hail Thee’

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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