The Colonial Anthem of Nigeria

by Jídé Salawu

Timi Dakolo performing "Great Nation" in a suit with wide lapels and polkadot tie, before a big old condenser mic
Screenshot: YouTube

May 29, 2024 marked one year of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s current term as the leader of Nigeria. The same week, a controversial bill was signed into law, switching Nigeria’s national anthem back to its original one, “Nigeria We Hail Thee.” This was evidently a celebratory gesture; Tinubu had long called for the reestablishment of the old anthem. The bill, sponsored by House Leader Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo), was titled: “Act to Provide for the National Anthem of Nigeria, and for Matters Related.” 

Tinubu has had a woeful start. His campaign promise of “Renewed Hope,” virally propagated by a massive base of his party’s sycophants, is in shambles. In dark and serious times of economic gloom and general social disorder, taking up the issue of changing the national anthem seems almost like a joke. However, it is no laughing matter that the government chose to restore the country’s old anthem, which was first adopted in 1959 and dropped in 1978.

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