Reps Pass Bill To Dump Current National Anthem For Old One

House of Representatives
The House of Representatives, on Thursday, passed for a second reading, a bill to reintroduce the old national anthem.

Leading the debate on the general principles of the bill, the sponsor of the proposed law, Julius Ihonvbere, anchored his argument on the need for patriotism and nationalism.

In his contribution, Kingsley Chinda, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party noted that the old national anthem was a colonial heritage which should not be considered in a post-independent Nigeria.

Chinda said there must be a “clear cause” to make laws, adding that “we will be taking ourselves back” by passing the bill.

“What value will it add to us as a nation?” he queried.

He said Nigerians are looking up to parliament to make laws that add value to the country.

“I stand to oppose it. I ask the leader to withdraw the bill,” he said.

His argument was supported by the member representing Jere Federal Constituency, Borno State Ahmad Satomi.

“Let us do something that will bring development in the eyes of the international community. Let us think of something that will bring progress,” he said.

Ahmed Jaha from Borno supported the bill, arguing that the ‘Arise O Compatriot’ anthem has not benefitted the country.

He said Nigerians do not identify with the current anthem.

When Ben Kalu, the deputy speaker who presided over plenary, put the bill to a voice vote, the “nays” were louder than the “ayes”. However, he said the “nays” had it.

Meanwhile, the bill has passed second reading in the red chamber.

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The proposed legislation passed second reading after Opeyemi Bamidele, majority leader of the senate, led a debate on it.

Bamidele said there is a need to have an anthem that would promote patriotism in the country.

Contributing to the debate on the general principles of the bill, Victor Umeh, senator representing Anambra central, said an anthem is supposed to be motivational, adding that the current one is anything but emotive.

“The old one we are seeking to bring back is one that evokes emotions,” Umeh said.

“A national anthem is supposed to be motivational. There is motivation in the old anthem.

“I think from what my colleagues have said, there is nothing in the current anthem that motivates our people. If we bring it back, our children will be more committed to the ideals of nationhood.

“This old national anthem carries everything together.”

On his part, Plang Diket, senator representing Plateau central, said the old anthem promotes brotherhood.

“Unity can only be acquired when there is brotherhood,” Diket said.

“The reintroduction of brotherhood in our national anthem is fundamental.

“Though we are different, we are bound together. This bill talks about Nigeria’s flag. You go around and you see it tattered. There is a need for Nigerians to respect national symbols.”

Okechukwu Eze, senator representing Enugu North, said the current anthem “does not pass any message”.

The bill passed second reading after it was put to a voice vote by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

The old national anthem was introduced on October 1, 1960, after Nigeria gained independence.

It served as the national anthem until 1978, when it was replaced with the current tune.