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REWIND: 2014 national confab recommended return to old national anthem

The reintroduction of the old national anthem has elicited reactions since President Bola Tinubu assented to the bill.

The house of representatives gave accelerated passage to the bill on May 23.

The bill passed the third reading after Julius Ihonvbere, the majority leader of the house who sponsored it, moved for its consideration at the “committee of the whole”, where the clauses were voted on and approved.

Ihonvbere had urged his colleagues to support the bill, noting that it would promote the unity of the country.

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On Tuesday, the senate also passed the bill during a public hearing, and on Wednesday, Tinubu signed it into law.

The move has sparked reactions among Nigerians, with many expressing displeasure and describing it as “misplaced priority”.

The old national anthem used from 1960 to 1978 has as its theme: ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’, while the version used from 1978 is titled ‘Arise, O Compatriots’.

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The lyrics of the old anthem were written by Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate, and composed by another Briton, Frances Berda.

Benedict Odiase, a Nigerian, composed the national anthem adopted in 1978.

CONFAB RECOMMENDED RETURN TO OLD ANTHEM

In 2014, the national conference convened by former President Goodluck Jonathan adopted the recommendation of its committee on political restructuring and forms of government that Nigeria should revert to its old national anthem.

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The former president inaugurated the 492-member confab, headed by Idris Kutigi, a retired judge, to deliberate on the country’s political system.

During a review of the committee’s report, delegates in support of the resolution recited the anthem on the floor of plenary, maintaining that it succinctly promotes unity, peace, and prosperity — when juxtaposed with the 1978 version.

However, they rejected the proposal to change the national flag and the name ‘Nigeria’.

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