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Senate begins public hearing on change of National Anthem
 
By: Abara Blessing Oluchi
Tue, 28 May 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

The 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, 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.

However, he said if considered necessary, further consultation would be had on the matter.

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

He stated that the reversal was not out of place but should involve a wider process to ensure it is a true reflection of the generality of the wishes of all Nigerians.

Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mike Ozekhome, pointed out one of the lines from the previous anthem, which addresses the issue of oppression, while corroborating with the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency that the change of the nation’s anthem was long overdue.

He recalled that he mooted the idea of changing the anthem 10 years ago at the 2014 CONFAB through a motion and the 490 delegates debated it and supported it.

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

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

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

To holistically solve the issues affecting the country, he said a national referendum was important, arguing that a slight amendment of the constitution would not solve Nigeria’s problems.

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

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

The House of Representatives has passed the bill.

 

 

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