National Anthem Debate: Tradition vs. Change

By Milcah Tanimu

The proposed bill seeking to revive Nigeria’s old National Anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” has sparked a national debate on patriotism and historical continuity. Representative Julius Ihonvbere, leading the charge, argues that the former anthem better encapsulates a sense of national pride and unity compared to the current anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots.”

Supporters of the switch believe that reverting to the old anthem would evoke stronger emotions among Nigerians, especially regarding the country’s struggle for independence. However, critics oppose the change, viewing it as disruptive to national continuity and potentially a form of historical revisionism.

During the debate, concerns were raised about the colonial origins of the old anthem, with some arguing that it is not suitable for a post-independent Nigeria. Others countered, suggesting that the wording of the current anthem lacks substance in reflecting the nation’s realities.

Practical considerations, such as the legislative process and public awareness campaigns, are also part of the discussion. Lawmakers must weigh the costs and logistical challenges associated with implementing such a change.

As the bill progresses through the legislative process, further hearings and debates will gauge public sentiment and determine its viability. Ultimately, Nigeria’s decision on whether to revert to its old anthem or retain the current one will reflect ongoing conversations about national identity and the symbols that unite the nation.


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