Senate begins public hearing on change of National Anthem

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File photo of the 10th Senate

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 deemed necessary, there will be further consultation 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 is not out of place but it 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, harped on one of the lines from the previous anthem, which addresses the issue of oppression, while corroborating with the Director General of National Orientation Agency that the change of the nation’s anthem is long overdue. He further recalled that he had mooted the idea 10 years ago at the 2014 CONFAB through a motion and it was debated by the 490 delegates but ultimately discarded.

According to him, the present Nigerian flag of green white green is too bland and not inspirational compared to that of 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 like has been done in other countries such as The Netherlands, Pakistan, France, Russia, Turkey, Zambia, Zimbabwe and 12 others, is quintessential to development.

A national referendum is key he maintains to holistically solve the issues, asserting again that the slight amendment to the constitution will not solve Nigeria’s problems. Last week, a bill seeking to make provision for Nigeria to revert to its old national anthem scaled through second reading at the Senate.

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