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Shehu Sani to reps: Changing national anthem requires public consultation

Shehu Sani to reps: Changing national anthem requires public consultation
May 23
21:36 2024

Shehu Sani, a former senator representing Kaduna central, says changing the national anthem should be done after consultations with Nigerians.

Sani said altering the national anthem without wide consultation would be seen as an attempt to dissolve Nigeria.

Earlier on Thursday, the house of representatives passed a bill seeking to reintroduce the old national anthem.

The old national anthem is themed ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’.

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The house speedily passed the bill for the first, second, and third readings during the plenary on Thursday.

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.

It is a rare occurrence for the house to initiate a bill and pass it on the same day.

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

However, reacting on his X page on Thursday, the former senator noted the potential consequences of altering a symbol of national identity without proper public consultations and constitutional amendments.

“Tempering with or changing the National Anthem or National pledge of Nigeria should be done after wider public consultation and should be factored in the process of constitutional amendments,” Sani wrote.

“Or would be misinterpreted as a surreptitious attempt to dissolve the country by altering one of its most important pillars.”

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Meanwhile, the bill has passed the second reading in the senate.

Opeyemi Bamidele, the majority leader of the senate, said there is a need to have an anthem that would promote patriotism in the country.

Okechukwu Eze, senator representing Enugu north, said the current anthem “does not pass any message”.

The bill passed the second reading after it was put to a voice vote by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

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The old national anthem was introduced on October 1, 1960, after Nigeria gained independence.

It served as the national anthem until 1978, when it was replaced with the current tune.

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