BreakingNews 23/4/16 - Our Mistakes in Nigerian National Anthem

[ Masterweb Reports: Ikechukwu Enyiagu reports ] - Borrowing a quote from, a national anthem is "a song that praises a particular country and that is officially accepted as the country's song." Some online commentators describe it as a "part of who we are, a kind of oath or pride we take on ourselves and
our country-reminding us of who we are, where we have come from and our collective destiny." Although proper records may not have been taken on the earliest country to use a national anthem, Wikipedia pegs the oldest anthem to Wilhelmus of the Netherlands. Gradually, national anthems became a force that musters patriotism among citizens. Nigeria, in 1978 and after a national anthem contest, picked lines
from the submissions of  John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sota Omoigui and P.O. Aderibigbe and crafted them into our present anthem (replacing the old one: 'Nigeria We Hail Thee') under the directorship of Benedict E. Odiase. Since then, we have all grown to sing it -  but, in all truth, absentmindedly and hypocritically to a point that, today, more than 60% of those who lead us cannot
correctly write down the wordings of this anthem.

Every song is meant to stir the spirit into a patterned thought-form. In the case of national anthems, towards patriotism. But before we question the merits of our superficial and hypocritical rants in feigned patriotism,  I would like us to revisit the lyrics of our revered anthem:

"Arise, O compatriots
Nigeria's call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labour of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom
Peace and unity.

Oh God of creation
Direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace
And justice shall reign."

Now that we have thoughtfully gone through the words we have made a 'necessary pain' during national events, it is time to match it-line by line-in the prism of conscious self-evaluation. Here, I would warn beforehand, that my diagnosis may appear humorous to the unserious but, to he who truly yearns for change, remedy is clearly seen. As we weigh our individual actions on the scale of this national oath, I would like to reflect openly on a few.

1. "Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria's call obey. To serve our fatherland with love and strength and faith..." Indeed every Nigerian is a fellow compatriot, so this refers to all. But my question is: What call are we called unto as compatriots? The next line " to serve our fatherland with love and strength and faith" seems to have answered it, only its answer is meaningless in my time. For example, how do you expect a
student who came from a very poor home, fought through his college days and served his country selflessly for a year-serving with all love and strength- to wake up from his last day in his one year compulsory service only to be employed and fed by faith? It no longer beats my imagination why the foundation of Nigeria's universities has crumbled: Despite the activists in every course and discipline, faith seems to be what Nigeria can offer her teeming graduates. Lack of job opportunities for graduates has clearly made even undergraduates loose faith. If faith in a good reward is, therefore lacking, where then will the love to serve come from and upon which strength? Ponder!

2. "The labor of our heroes past shall never be in vain..." Now, this is a very serious one. From the look of things, the labour of our heroes past were in vain because, clearly, every seed bears fruits according to its kind. If today's Nigeria is this messy, it can only attest to the fact that the so-called "heroes past" were the foundational problems of Nigeria. And you ask me "how?" Well, I will tell you. Take a look at what the shameful politics of bigotry, nepotism and tribalism has done to Nigeria and her citizens. Who instituted, allowed or condoned bigotry, nepotism and tribalism to be
laid as foundation pillars of Nigeria when the colonial masters were leaving? Some would quickly say it's the British but, now, I beg to differ. If you ask me, I'd honestly say that Nigeria has no heroes-past or present. As for the future, today gives us the picture.

3. "To serve with heart and might. One nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity." The last two lines of the first stanza openly reveals our collective doom if not revisited. The word "bound" remains a wonder as to how it managed to gain acceptance when English was the real queen in Nigeria, when the gluttony and selfishness of our so-called "heroes past" had not reached the level of adulterating the revered "Queen's English." For a moment, please, take a closer look at the second line.."One nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity." Forget that
they clevery exchanged the 'with' in the sentence with an 'in,' it basically tells you the same thing in this context.This is clearly where we began to dig our graves or, I would say, where our revered heroes past laid the foundation of Nigeria's cemetery. Who told them that, in English language, or any language for that matter, it is
possible to 'bind' freedom, peace and unity together? These are three different and independent words with their independent life expressions. Freedom defines itself and you cannot unite freedom with a bond to obtain peace and unity. It is impossible! It is blasphemous! It is destructive! For these three to work 'harmoniously,' freedom has to express itself to the fullest. It is the principal human right. That's the first thing we started with in the hands of our colonial master and that's what today's United Nations erroneously claim to stand for. After freedom is expressed and recognized, peace naturally flows. That is when, looking from afar, one can say 'they are united.' But our heroes past thought it wise to otherwise compel. No wonder we are where we are today with government after government exhibiting characters of bigotry, nepotism and tribalism as one national character. What a shame!

I dare not attempt to look deep into the second stanza which began with "Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause" because that would amount to putting God to remembrance of how we have collectively mocked Him. Although we sing Him in every hymn, our hearts seem to be full of scorn for Him. No wonder our heroes past called 'binding people in forced freedom, peace and unity' a noble cause. We must change. This hypocrisy called national anthem must be replaced and a new Nigeria-in all truth-added together in words that edify, not only the citizenry, but the spirit that drives Nigeria as a country. We cannot continue to claim that Nigeria is not chronically sick and we cannot continue to politicize our individual and collective
spirituality which drive what we see and experience on a daily basis.

I appeal to those in power, and who have genuinely stepped forward to change the status quo and to save, to give it all they have got and to empty all of them towards saving what is left by cutting off what is dead and what is clogging the wheel of national heritage and pride. It is only and after we have successfully done these can we understandably expect anyone, in all sincerity, to say, "I pledge to Nigeria, my country" to be faithful, loyal, and honest; to serve Nigeria with all my strength, to defend her unity and uphold her honor and glory."


*Photo Caption - As seen.

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