President Tinubu has Signed the Old National Anthem, “Nigeria, we hail thee,” into Law

Nigerian flag raised for national anthem

For decades, Nigerians have used a national anthem that felt alien to their history and culture, which is why the National Anthem Bill 2024 became one of the fastest-signed bills in Nigerian history.

As of May 29, 2024, upon marking his first anniversary of bringing in power, the President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, signed and enacted the old National Anthem into law, discarding the anthem “Arise O Compatriots” for the “Nigeria, we hail thee.”

The lyrics of the now-defunct “Arise O Compatriots” anthem were adopted during the military regime of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in 1978 and combines lyrics from a national contest set to music by the Nigerian police band. The creators of the Nigerian national anthem lyrics were P. O. Aderibigbe, John A. Ilechukwu, Sota Omoigui, Eme Tim Akpan, and B.A. Ogunnaike.

The now-signed new anthem, “Nigeria, we hail thee,” was written by a British expatriate known as Lilian Jean Williams, who lived in Nigeria, the music was composed by Frances Berda and it was in use from Independence Day till 1978 when it was changed.

The lyrics of the “Nigeria, we hail thee” anthem go thus:

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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