Some Nigerians have expressed outrage over a bill signed into law by President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday morning,Daily Trust reports.

The bill, introduced simultaneously in the Senate and the House of Representatives last week, received rapid consideration and passage.

The speed with which both chambers of the National Assembly considered and passed the bill, despite the pressing issues of rising inflation and security challenges facing Nigerians, has been criticized.

During the launch of the National Anthem at the National Assembly, Tinubu commended the lawmakers.

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“Please, let’s continue to collaborate and build our country. We have no other institutions or personalities that will help us unless we do it ourselves. Let us work together to build our nation not only for us but for generations yet unborn,” he said.

‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’, composed by Britons, was the national anthem of Nigeria from Independence in 1960 until 1978, when it was replaced by ‘Arise, O Compatriots.’ With the new law, ‘Arise, O Compatriots’ will give way to ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee.’

While a few have commended the president for signing the bill into law, others view it as a misplaced priority.

On social media platform X, user @Zarmaomar wrote: “The long-awaited national anthem bill that will solve the issues of insecurity, hunger, corruption, and create job opportunities has been officially signed by the President…”

@Mudiaga247 said: “How does signing this bill help the drowning economy?”

@KennyNuga: “Misplaced priority. We need laws mandating all vehicles to shift off the road when an ambulance is approaching. We need laws that criminalize bullying in our institutions.”

@RealQueenBee_: “This will now be an achievement for the Tinubu administration, reverting back to the colonial anthem.”

@Ikepicano: “Did he know what he signed?”

@PatoEner: “This government is never implementing policies that would alleviate the poverty in the economy. Or do they think hungry people sing the national anthem?”

@DoublePrince001: “Within 7 days it was sorted… Let’s talk about minimum wage or what will benefit Nigerians… It will take months and years.”

@iam_damayor: “Congratulations Nigerians, we now have a new National Anthem. When you want to buy anything, just recite it and you get the 2015 price of that good/service.”

@That_Ondo_Boy: “As for me, I’m in support of this old National Anthem. Tinubu, you did this one. Now, let’s sign a bill to revert to the old exchange rate and food prices from the time of the old National Anthem.”

Analysts and civil society organizations have also faulted the bill.

In an interview with Daily Trust, Mr. Andrew Mamedu, Country Director of Action Aid Nigeria (AAN), called the bill an “absolute misplacement of priorities and an abuse of legislative privilege, especially given the numerous pressing issues facing the nation that remain unaddressed.”

He stated: “While the National Anthem is a symbol of our heritage, the urgent and concurrent approval of this bill stands in stark contrast to the lack of prioritization and accelerated legislative action on critical national matters. Issues such as security, economic stability, education, healthcare, and infrastructure development are in dire need of attention and resources. It is profoundly disappointing and frankly outrageous that the National Anthem is being prioritized over these vital concerns.”

Similarly, Mr. Mark Amaza, Senior Communications Officer for Yiaga Africa, said the federal lawmakers’ actions represent a “misplacement of priorities.”

“There is absolutely nothing wrong with our current National Anthem that warrants a change. Not only that, this episode shows how disconnected our legislators are from the challenges of Nigeria. At this critical juncture, they chose to prioritize a needless return to our former National Anthem,” Amaza said.

Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi, Executive Director of the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED), decried Nigeria’s trend of misplaced priorities.

“Our senators, elected to represent the masses, seem disconnected from the pressing needs of the people. Who among the citizens indicated that changing the National Anthem was a priority? Nigerians are hungry, angry, and deeply disappointed. Trust in the government is at an all-time low. Changing the National Anthem does not address the urgent issues we face: it doesn’t put food on our tables, create jobs, improve security, provide reliable electricity, clean water, good roads, or quality healthcare,” Zikirullahi said.

Former Senator Shehu Sani from Kaduna Central Senatorial District said the parliament should have consulted widely before tampering with the National Anthem.

Commenting on his X handle, the former lawmaker said: “Tempering with or changing the National Anthem or National Pledge of Nigeria should be done after wider public consultation and should be factored in the process of constitutional amendments.”

Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, a seasoned journalist and former Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), also criticized the lawmakers’ decision to reintroduce the old National Anthem.

“The excessive embrace of the past is part of the metaphysical nostalgia that refuses to appreciate the political and economic choices and wrong leadership recruitment processes that led us to the deep pit we have been dug into. Instead of searching for far more rational and scientifically relevant instruments of problem-solving, our lawmakers think an empty gesture of nostalgia offers an easy route,” Kawu said in an opinion article published in Daily Trust on Saturday.

The Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lanre Issa-Onilu, however, defended the move, noting the impact of an anthem that resonates with national sentiment and calls to action.

“There is so much in the words that we speak and hear. An anthem that connects with your sentiment and calls you to action can have a significant impact,” he said in an interview on Trust TV’s Daily Politics.

Efforts by Daily Trust to get reactions from the spokespersons of the two chambers of the National Assembly were unsuccessful.


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