The recent signing of the National Anthem Bill 2024 into law by President Bola Tinubu marks a significant shift in Nigeria’s national identity. This bill reinstates the old anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” replacing the now-recognized, “Arise O Compatriots.” This change brings with it a rich history and a sense of returning to the roots. Here are six key things to know about the old National Anthem “Nigeria, We Hail Thee”:

1. Historical Usage: “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was the anthem that marked the birth of a new nation, free from colonial rule, from independence in 1960 until 1978.

2. Replacement: “Arise, O Compatriots” was adopted in 1978, marking a new era in Nigeria’s history, reflecting the changing times and aspirations of the nation.

3. Adoption: “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was adopted as Nigeria’s first national anthem on October 1, 1960, Nigeria’s independence day.

4. Lyricist: The anthem’s lyrics were written by Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate who lived in Nigeria when it achieved independence. Her words captured the spirit and aspirations of a newly independent nation.

5. Composer: Frances Berda composed the music for “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.” The melody she created has resonated with Nigerians for decades, evoking a sense of national pride and unity.

6. Reinstatement: On May 23, 2024, the House of Representatives passed a bill to revert from the current anthem to “Nigeria, We Hail Thee”. This decision reflects a desire to return to the roots and values encapsulated in the original anthem.

The reinstatement of “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” as the national anthem is a significant event in Nigeria’s history. It not only reflects a respect for the nation’s past but also a commitment to the values and aspirations that the anthem represents. As Nigeria moves forward, it does so with a renewed sense of identity and a song in its heart that truly says, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.”

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