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Nigerians Divided Over National Anthem Change: President Signs Bill into Law



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Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu‘s recent decision to sign a bill changing the national anthem has sparked a wave of division among Nigerians. The bill, which swiftly passed through the National Assembly, reintroduces the former anthem used from independence in 1960 until 1978.

The anthem titled “Nigeria We Hail Thee,” originally penned by Lillian Jean Williams and composed by Frances Berda, has been a symbol of national identity for nearly five decades. However, the move to revert to this anthem has ignited a debate among citizens.

Renowned former Education Minister Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili expressed her dissent online, pledging not to sing the new-old anthem. She emphasized the significance of the current anthem, “Arise O Compatriots,” which has resonated with Nigerians for the past 46 years.

Amidst the uproar, BBC News correspondent Mansur Abubakar reported on the discontent among Nigerians, particularly in Kano. Tahir Mongunu, a key figure in pushing the bill through parliament, defended the decision, citing its potential to instill patriotism and unity.

However, criticism has not subsided, with individuals like Fola Folayan and social media users expressing disappointment in the rushed nature of the anthem change. Some questioned the priorities of the government amidst pressing issues such as insecurity, inflation, and a currency crisis.

Supporters of President Bola Tinubu’s decision, including Habu Shamsu from Kano, praised the change, attributing it to a sense of inclusivity and cultural heritage. Despite the differing viewpoints, the discourse on Nigeria’s national anthem continues to divide opinions across the nation.

Rachel Adams

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