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Oby Ezekwesili Rejects Old National Anthem

Former Minister of Education, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili, has vowed to not join Nigerians in singing the old national anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” signed into…

Former Minister of Education, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili, has vowed to not join Nigerians in singing the old national anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” signed into law by President Bola Tinubu on Thursday.

Ezekwesili said she would stick to the “Arise O Compatriots” national anthem recently jettisoned by the National Assembly and approved by the President.

The former minister said she cannot be compelled to accept an “obnoxious law” rejected by the Nigerian people.

She made this known in a post via her X handle on Wednesday, while reacting to the old national anthem that was approved to be the new one.

Recall that the National Assembly passed a bill that got Tinubu’s assent today to return Nigeria to the “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” anthem that was written by British expatriate Lillian Jean Williams and composed by Frances Berda.

The anthem was discarded in 1978 when Mr Ben Odiase composed the “Arise O Compatriots” anthem.

Reacting to the development, Ezekwesili wrote, “Let it be known to all and sundry that I, Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili, will, whenever asked to sing the Nigerian National Anthem, sing:

“1. Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey

“To serve our fatherland

“With love and strength and faith

“The labour of our heroes past

“Shall never be in vain

“To serve with heart and might

“One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.”

She added the second stanza, “2. Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause

“Guide our leader’s right

“Help our youth the truth to know

“In love and honesty to grow

“And living just and true

“Great lofty heights attain

“To build a nation where peace and justice reign.

The Senate and the House of Representatives rapidly passed the National Anthem Bill 2024, seeking to reinstate the old anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.”

Leading the debate in the lower chamber on the general principles of the bill, the sponsor of the proposed law, Julius Ihonvbere, based his argument on the need for patriotism and nationalism.

The Red Chamber passed the bill after reviewing a report by Tahir Monguno, the lawmaker representing Borno North Senatorial District and chair of the Judiciary Committee.

But many Nigerians on social media questioned the relevance of the move, asking if it would help address the current country’s economic mishap.

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