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Senate Begins Public Hearing On Change Of National Anthem

By Lekan Sowande, Abuja.

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The Nigerian Senate has started a public hearing on an Act to provide for the National Anthem of Nigeria and related matters.

The leader of the Senate, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, who represented the President of the Senate at the hearing, said the second stanza of the existing national anthem shall be the national prayer.

He however said; “if deemed necessary, there will be further consultation on the matter.”

In his contribution, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Lateef Fagbemi, said the amendment should not come only by legislative fiat, but should be subjected to a wider consultation.

Mr. Fagbemi said that “the reversal is not out of place but it should involve a wider process to ensure it is a true reflection of the generality of the wishes of all Nigerians.”

Also contributing, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Mike Ozekhome, harped on one of the lines from the previous anthem, which addresses the issue of oppression, while corroborating with the Director General of National Orientation Agency, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu that the change of the nation’s anthem is long overdue.

He further recalled that he had mooted the idea 10 years ago at the 2014 CONFAB through a motion and it was debated by the 490 delegates but ultimately discarded.

According to him, “the present Nigerian flag of green white green is too bland and not inspirational compared to that of US and South Africa.”

Mr. Ozekhome also recalled that he suggested that the name ‘Nigeria’ should be changed’ because it appeared to be a burden, proposing that the name Nigeria be changed to ‘iregime’.

He believes that the change which has been done in other countries such as The Netherlands, Pakistan, France, Russia, Turkey, Zambia, Zimbabwe and 12 others, is quintessential to development.

Last week, a bill seeking to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old national anthem scaled through second reading at the Senate.

The Bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to report back to the house in two weeks.

 

The old anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was replaced with the current one “Arise, O Compatriots” in 1978.

Meanwhile, the the House of Representatives has passed the Bill to revert to the old national anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee”.

The Bill was quickly passed through first, second and third reading at the lower chamber last week.

 

 

Mercy Chukwudiebere

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