The Nigerian National anthem has lots of history surrounding its composition asides from being the song on the lips of those who win medals in the Olympics, We will dig into the history of the Nigerian National anthem in a bit and, afterward, the Nigerian National anthem lyrics. Still, before then, you must know why this Nigerian National anthem is of great importance.
An anthem isn’t just any song; it is a song that identifies a particular culture. You can call it a national symbol in the same class as the Nigeria coat of arms, only that this time, the anthem isn’t physical.
If you have watched local and international events where the Nigerian National anthem was sung, the passion can sometimes be so contagious that you can’t help but shed a tear. This illustrates how dear this anthem is to you.
History of the Nigerian National Anthem
The present Nigerian National Anthem is titled, “Arise, O Compatriots,” but before this was adopted, during the colonial era, Nigeria used the British anthem, “God save the King.” This was over the forty years from 1914-1960.
This was, however, replaced when Nigeria gained her independence in 1960, and the anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” was recognized as the Nigerian National anthem at the time. It was written by a British woman, Lillian Jean Williams, and the music also was by her fellow compatriot, Francis Brenda.
Before the timely intervention by the then armed forces in Nigeria, during the Biafran Civil War that Colonel Chukwuebuka Ojukwu led, and for the three years, the war lasted, “The Land of the Rising Sun” was known as the Nigerian National anthem.
Once Nigeria had weathered that secession storm, the Biafran anthem was disbanded, and in 1978, the then National Publicity Committee put together a competition to create a new Nigerian National anthem.
Several entries were received, and five came out tops in persons of John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sotu Omoigui, and P.O. Aderibighe. Their works were merged to produce the lyrics of the present Nigeria National anthem.
The accompanying music to this National anthem was composed by the Nigeria Police Band, which was directed at the time by Benedict Eliase Odise. Since then, the “Arise, O Compatriots” has continued to be our official National anthem.
Arise, O Compatriots has two stanzas, with the first being the most popular. The first stanza is an awakening to citizens of Nigeria to rightful service while acknowledging the past services of Nigerians who once served.
The second stanza begins by bringing to light the consciousness of God, who creates and has the power to give directions to the service of Nigerians. It recognizes the place of God even if the people are willing to build Nigeria to an enviable height the world can’t overlook.
Lyrics of Nigeria’s National Anthem – Arise, O Compatriots
Arise, O compatriots,
Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our Fatherland
With love and strength and faith.
The labour of our heroes past
Shall never be in vain,
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.
O God of all creation
Direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth 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 first Nigerian National anthem was thrown out of the window according to consensus opinion, and the present Nigeria National anthem, Arise, O Compatriots, replaced it.
Since its adoption, there haven’t been any wranglings about it, which is why the anthem has remained as the one Nigerians sing.