Old National Anthem reflects national identity, heritage, says Monguno

NV News

By Saminu Ibrahim

The Chairman of Senate committee on judiciary, human rights and legal matters on Monday observed that a new national anthem will inspire the citizenry to build a fully integrated and indivisible nation, where citizens will live in unity and harmony.

Monguno spoke at the public hearing on the bill for an act to provide for the national anthem of Nigeria and related matters (SB 461) of the senate joint committees on judiciary, human rights and legal matters and committee on federal character and inter governmental affairs.

Recall, the Nigerian Senate on Thursday passed for second reading a bill for an act to provide for the national anthem of Nigeria.

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According to Monguno, the decision to alter a nation’s anthem is not one to be taken with levity, pointing out that it reflects the very essence of “our national identity and heritage”.

He added “the bill in a nutshell seeks to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old national anthem that would promote better symbol for unity, peace and prosperity compared to the current one”.

Meanwhile, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio applauded the joint committees for providing the platform on the propose change of the national anthem.

He said “National anthem is not just a mere melody, but symbol of Nigeria”, saying it reflects our diverse culture.

Akpabio, represented by the Senate leader, Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti central) said the public hearing was to essentially look at the merits of the bill.

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“The old National anthem symbolises historical heritage of our country, shows deep sense of patriotism in shaping national identity.

Also speaking, the Attorney General of the federation and minister of justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) said the national anthem is a symbol of national identity, adding that for most African countries, it symbolises the end of colonialism.

“I have no problem bringing about the old national anthem, but I believe it should be subjected to wider consultation and the outcome will be a true reflection of Nigerians.

“In some cases it is subjected to plebiscite to know whether it suits the citizenry” Fagbemi said.

Similarly, the minister of information and national orientation, Mohammed Idris commended the initiative, saying it is long over due.

The minister, who spoke through the Director General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Issa Onilu harped that there should be national identity act.

“The challenge we have today is we don’t have national value system of which the national anthem is one” the minister added.

A legal luminary, Mike Ozekhome, threw his weight behind the bill, saying bringing back the old national anthem is well overdue, he said it has better lyrics and content.

“Having this national anthem will help us based on prevailing circumstances” Ozekhome said.

He cited many countries that have changed their national anthem.

Members of the joint committees who spoke at the public hearing unanimously supported the bill for a reverse to the old national anthem.

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