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Changing Anthem Doesn’t Put Food On Our Tables, ‘Hungry People Don’t Sing’,  Nigerians Speak-up As Tinubu Signs National Anthem Bill

Changing Anthem Doesn’t Put Food On Our Tables, ‘Hungry People Don’t Sing’,  Nigerians Speak-up As Tinubu Signs National Anthem Bill

Some Nigerians have expressed outrage over the bill President Bola Tinubu signed into law on Wednesday morning.

The bill, which was simultaneously introduced in the Senate and the House of Representatives last week, received an accelerated consideration and passage.

The speed with which both chambers of the National Assembly considered and passed the bill at a time Nigerians are facing more pressing issues occasioned by rising inflation and security challenges, has been criticised.

While launching the National Anthem at the National Assembly, Tinubu commended the lawmakers.

“Please, let’s continue to collaborate and build our country. We have no other institutions or personality that will help us unless we do it ourselves. Let us work together to build our nation not only for us but generations yet unborn”, he said.

‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’, composed by the Britons, was the national anthem of Nigeria used from Independence in 1960 until 1978, when it was replaced by a new anthem, ‘Arise, O Compatriots.’

But with the new law, ‘Arise, O Compatriots’, will give way for ‘Nigeria, we hail Thee’.

While a few persons have commended the president for signing it into law, others see it as a mispriority.

On X, a social media user, @Zarmaomar, wrote: “The long-awaited national anthem bill that will solve the issues of insecurity, hunger, corruption and create job opportunities has been officially signed by the President…”

@Mudiaga247 said: “How does signing this bill help the Drowning Economy.”

@KennyNuga: “Misplaced priority . we need laws mandating all vehicles to shift off the road when an Ambulance is approaching. we need laws that criminalize bullying in our institutions.”

@RealQueenBee_: “This will now be an achievement for the Tinubu administration, reverting back to the colonial anthem.”
@Ikepicano: “did he know what he signed?”

@PatoEner: “This government is never implementing policies that would alleviate the poverty in the economy. Or do they think hungry people sing the national anthem?”

@DoublePrince001: “Within 7 days it was sorted….. Let’s talk about minimum wage or what will benefit Nigerians… It will take months and years.”

@iam_damayor: “Congratulations Nigerians, we now have a new National Anthem. When you want to buy anything, just recite it and you get the 2015 price of that goods/service.”

@That_Ondo_Boy: “As for me, I’m in support of this Old National Anthem ooo. Tinubu you do this one oooo. Now, lets sign to bill the old exchange rate, old food price to as at the time of the old National Anthem.”

Analysts, CSOs fault bill

In an interview with Daily Trust, analysts and civil society organisations argued that the resolution of the National Assembly to revert to the old National Anthem was a misplacement of priority, and also a sign of disconnection with reality.

The Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria (AAN), Mr. Andrew Mamedu, said the bill to revert to the old National Anthem “is an absolute misplacement of priorities and an abuse of legislative privilege, especially given the numerous pressing issues facing the nation that remain unaddressed”.

He stated: “While the National Anthem is a symbol of our heritage, the urgent and concurrent approval of this bill stands in stark contrast to the lack of prioritisation and accelerated legislative action on critical national matters. Issues such as security, economic stability, education, healthcare and infrastructure development are in dire need of attention and resources.

“It is profoundly disappointing and frankly outrageous that the National Anthem is being prioritised over these vital concerns”, he stressed.

Similarly, Yiaga Africa’s Senior Communications Officer, Mr. Mark Amaza, told one of our correspondents that the actions of the federal lawmakers on the issue were “a misplacement of priorities”.

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with our current National Anthem that warrants a change. Not only that, this episode shows how disconnected our legislators are from the challenges of Nigeria that at this critical juncture, they chose to prioritise a needless return to our former National Anthem”, Amaza said.

The Executive Director, Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, also decried that Nigeria continued to exhibit a disturbing trend of misplaced priorities.

According to him, it is disheartening to see the nation trapped in a cycle of ineffective leadership.

“Our senators, elected to represent the masses, seem disconnected from the pressing needs of the people. Who among the citizens indicated that changing the National Anthem was a priority?

“Nigerians are hungry, angry, and deeply disappointed. Trust in the government is at an all-time low.

“Changing the National Anthem does not address the urgent issues we face: it doesn’t put food on our tables, create jobs, improve security, provide reliable electricity, clean water, good roads, or quality healthcare,” Zikirullahi said.

On his part, a former senator from Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Senator Shehu Sani, said the parliament should have consulted widely before tampering with the National Anthem.

He said that altering the National Anthem without wide consultations would be seen as an attempt to dissolve Nigeria.

Commenting on his X handle, the former lawmaker said: “Tempering with or changing the National Anthem or National Pledge of Nigeria should be done after wider public consultation and should be factored in the process of constitutional amendments.”

A seasoned journalist and former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, also faulted the lawmakers’ decision to reintroduce the old National Anthem.

He said: “The excessive embrace of the past is part of the metaphysical nostalgia that refused to appreciate the political economic choices and wrong leadership recruitment processes that led us to the deep pit we have been dug into.

“Instead of searching for far more rational and scientifically relevant instruments of problem solving, our lawmakers think an empty gesture of nostalgia offers an easy route.

“There is also an unacceptable demographic tyranny that Opeyemi Bamidele and his colleagues are attempting to impose on Nigeria, with the plan to revert to the old National Anthem. It is an anthem that would resonate with the generation born before independence and maybe immediately after. Let us unpack the facts”.

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