History of The Nigerian National Anthem and Pledge
During the colonial era and before Nigeria Independence, special British anthem was sang at all Nigerian official and important gatherings and occasions. Some months before the Nigeria freedom from British rule, when all arrangements for sovereignty of the country had been concluded, an anthem was composed by Miss L. J. Williams and rendered into music by Miss F. Benda. Both ladies were Britons. The special music which is now known as old Nigerian National Anthem was adopted on 1st of October, 1960, the Nigeria Independence Day.
Old Nigerian National Anthem
Nigeria we hail thee,
Though tribes and tongues may differ,
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians are proud to serve,
Our sovereign motherland.
The Present National Anthem
The previous anthem was used for some years after which it was abandoned because:
- It was written by a Briton.
- It announced our differences which is not good for our unity: “…Though tribes and tongues may differ…”
Nigerian Government made a call for new anthem. There were one thousand four hundred and forty nine (1449) submissions. After thorough examination, five of the compositions were selected.
Those who wrote the selected Nigerian anthem lyrics were:
- B. A. Ogunnaike
- Eme Etim Akpan
- John A. Ilechukwu
- Sota Omoigui
- P. O. Aderibigbe
Each of these writers were given One Thousand Naira (N1000) for their intellectual works.The five compositions were blended together into one and was handed over to the then head of music, Nigerian Police Force, Late Benedict Elide Odiase on 10th May, 1978. With help of Professor Akin Euba, the lyrics was rendered into music by Nigerian Police Band. The new anthem was adopted and sang first officially on 1st October, 1978, during General Olusegun Obasanjo regime. It is in two stanzas.
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