What do you know about the old Nigerian national anthem? Most people don’t know much about it even though they consider themselves patriots. Let’s try to fix the situation and discover some interesting facts about the old anthem and pledge .
Nigerian national anthem: interesting facts
- Fact #1: The first Nigerian anthem was called “Nigeria, we hail thee”. Its lyrics were composed long time ago by Lilian Jean Williams. The music was written by Frances Berda. This was the first Nigerian anthem approved in 1960. However, in 1978 it was replaced with a new one. The substitute was titled “Arise, O compatriots”.
The reason for the replacement was quite clear at that time. It was still not long since the declaration of Nigerian Independence and the words of the old anthem seemed quite colonial to many people. No wonder, indeed: the song was composed by British authors.
This is why Nigerian citizens (who can boast of talented poets and musicians, too) decided to replace the anthem with another song that would have a better perception of their newly gained freedom and the feeling of liberation. The nation loved the soulful words of the new anthem at once.
- Fact #2: The Nigerian anthem and pledge are among the ten symbols. Nigeria has always had ten national symbols, which include the army of Nigeria, Nigerian languages, Nigerian flag and coat of arms and certainly the anthem. Even though the old anthem is no longer used, it still has a place in the history of Nigeria.
- Fact #3: Unlike the old one, the new Nigerian anthem has no precise writer. It’s very interesting that the new Nigerian anthem was composed as a collection of the most expressive pieces of 5 best works sent by Nigerian authors to the national contest of anthem lyrics held in 1978. The contest took place among 1499 submitted works that were better or worse but always filled with love to the homeland.
This is why only five persons are authors of the lyrics of the main Nigerian song without even being willing to cooperate from the very beginning. When the lyrics were put together, Benedict Odiase, the director of the Nigerian Police band composed a suitable melody that now brings tears to people’s eyes while listening to the anthem of Nigeria.
Each of the five writers received N1,000 for their work and intellectual property. It seems to be quite a little now but at that time, it was a great deal of money.
- Fact #4: The national anthem is followed by a pledge. In Nigeria, the pledge is pronounced after each time the anthem is played. It’s recited every day, two times a day by schoolchildren, at the beginning and end of their classes.
The pledge was composed by Prof. Felicia Adebola Adedoyin back in 1976. Everything began when her children (the noble woman had six of them) asked her why they were not pronouncing any pledge before and after classes. The point was that they used to study in the USA and Ghana, and both countries had their pledges and in both countries, children recited them gladly.
Daily Times newspaper did an article on Adoyin, the article was seen by a friend of Olusegun Obasanjo, the then head of state. The General read the pledge himself and liked it very much. Being the head of the state, he had the right to introduce such things. This is how Nigeria received its own pledge in 1976.
- Fact #5: The Nigerian anthem and pledge can be downloaded from the Internet.
- Fact #6: It’s interesting that the Nigerian anthem can be found in the form of an instrumental composition and even without any words sung with it, it still has a very powerful effect. This influence of the music was tested on both Nigerians and foreigners who knew not what the music was and the impression and the emotional condition of the listeners was the same.
These are basically all the facts about Nigerian pledge and old anthem you need to know. If you have never heard the old anthem before, listen to it and learn its words!