NAL Says New Anthem Should Unite, Not Divide

Funmi Ogundare

The National Academy of Letters (NAL) has expressed regret that the National Assembly didn’t act in the people’s best interests by quickly passing the new national anthem bill into law. The NAL is concerned that the new anthem emphasises differences rather than uniting the populace and fostering national identity and shared values.

The Academy made this call during its virtual roundtable on Nigeria’s national anthem titled, ‘What is in an Anthem’.

Prof. Funmilayo Olubode-Sawe, an expert in Applied Linguistics and Terminology at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, expressed regret that current leaders are self-serving and act contrary to the ideals suggested by the new national anthem. She emphasised the need for value reorientation to build a nation free from oppression.

Prof. Ayo Ojebode of Applied Communication at the University of Ibadan argued that changing the national anthem should not be a priority. He stressed that the focus should be on personal and collective value refinement, suggesting that a nation’s sense of value and identity should evolve before altering its anthem.

Maduabuchi Dukor, a professor of Philosophy at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa, Anambra State, highlighted that the anthem should transcend symbolism and embody the people’s reality and ideals. He emphasised the importance of an anthem reflecting Africans’ collective consciousness and patriotism, inspiring and defining national ideals in the modern age.

Prof. Mabel Evwierhoma of Theatre Arts at the University of Abuja noted the pride an anthem can generate. She expressed concerns about the 1978 anthem, suggesting it lacked depth due to its composer’s limited knowledge of Nigeria. She pointed out the diverse opinions among Nigerians regarding the anthem, advocating for a new one that addresses current realities and unites the populace.

Prof. Ebun Oduwole, specialising in African Philosophy and Bioethics at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), stated that a national anthem should reflect the people’s values, aspirations, culture, heritage, and history.

“It should foster a sense of patriotism and identity, unifying the nation and earning respect as a representation of collective thought and spirit,” she stated.

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