The National Anthem; History and Lyrics

The Nigerian National Anthem was adopted in 1978. The ‘Arise O Compatriot’ national anthem lyrics was written by five Nigerian. The five Nigerians are;

  • B. A. Ogunnaike
  • Eme Etim Akpan
  • John A. Ilechukwu
  • Sota Omoigui
  • P. O. Aderibigbe

Benedict Elide Odiase, the then head of music of the Nigerian Police Force compiled the lyrics and composed what we have today as the National Anthem.

The old National anthem ‘Nigeria we hail thee was discarded and the new anthem adopted. The old National anthem was composed by Miss Lillian Jean Williams and was rendered by Miss Frances Benda. Both the music composer and the writer were Britons.

The call for a new National Anthem came to be in 1978 and the old Anthem was discarded for the following reasons

  1. It was not written by Nigerians
  2. The anthem highlighted our differences: “…Though tribes and tongues may differ…”

The ‘Arise O Compatriot’ was first played in 1st October, 1978, during General Olusegun Obasanjo regime.

Most times only the first stanza of the national anthem is sang when the National anthem is sang.

The National Anthem

The first Stanza
Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labor of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity.

The second Stanza

Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth and 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.

The National Prayer

Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause. Guide our leaders right, help our youths 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.

The National Pledge
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
So help me God.

The Old National Anthem

Nigeria we hail thee
Our own dear native land
Though tribe and tongue may differ
In brotherhood we stand
Nigerians all and proud to serve Our sovereign motherland

Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign
In peace or battle honour
And this we count as gain
To pass unto our children
A banner without stain

O God of all creation
Grant this our one request
Help us to build a nation
Where no man is oppressed
And so with peace and plenty
Nigeria may be blessed

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