Have you ever stopped to think about the national anthem of Nigeria? Think of the first few words that come to mind “Arise O Compatriots…”. Have you ever wondered who composed this powerful anthem? Over the years, there has been a popular answer, but as it turns out, the answer is not as clear-cut as it seems.
In this article, we will be uncovering the truth about who composed Nigeria’s national anthem and exploring how that answer has come to light in recent years. We will also look at why it’s important to know the story behind a nation’s song of pride and how it can connect us more deeply to our heritage. Finally, we’ll delve into some of the theories surrounding composite authorship that scholars have explored over time.
The History of Nigeria’s National Anthem
When it comes to uncovering the truth about who composed the National Anthem of Nigeria, there are two main theories. The first is that it was written by Johnson Oatman Jr., an American gospel composer, in the early 20th century. The second theory is that it was composed by a Nigerian citizen, Lillian Jean Williams.
So which version is correct? To answer this question, we need to look at the history of Nigeria’s National Anthem. On October 1, 1960, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” became the nation of Nigeria’s first national anthem. Lillian Jean Williams, a British immigrant who was in Nigeria at the time of the country’s independence, wrote the anthem’s lyrics. The song “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was musically arranged by Frances Berda.
“Arise, O Compatriots,” the second national anthem, took the place of “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” in 1978.
Today this composition is still being used as the official Nigerian National Anthem thanks to their unique styles and powerful lyrical messaging about freedom and African identity.
Why was the previous Nigerian National Anthem Changed?
While it may be the beloved national anthem of Nigeria today, “Arise O Compatriots” was not the nation’s first song of unity. When the British handed control of Nigeria over to the country’s leaders in 1960, the national anthem was composed by a British who was in Nigeria at the time. Nigeria, We Hail Thee” is the former national anthem of Nigeria, used from independence in 1960 until 1978.
The new national anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” was criticized when it was originally introduced for a variety of reasons. A committee was formed to gather signatures for a petition after The Daily Service, a publication published by the Yoruba organization Egbé m Odùduwà, launched a rebellious campaign against the national anthem.
The change came at an important time for Nigeria. As the country looked towards a new unified identity, its leaders wanted a patriotic song that could be sung with pride and conviction. To this end, “Arise O Compatriots” was introduced as the new national anthem in 1978, under the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo, replacing the old British tune which had been in place for eighteen years.
At its inception, “Arise O Compatriots” celebrated Nigeria’s long past, bright present, and hopeful future. It also commemorated ordinary citizens who had sacrificed their lives to build a better nation. With thoughtful lyrics and inspiring music, it quickly became a source of pride and patriotism throughout Nigeria and, as such, remains so today.
The Old Nigeria National Anthem
Let’s look at the “old” National Anthem of Nigeria.
Nigeria, we hail thee
Our own dear native land
Though tribes and tongues may differ
In brotherhood, we stand
Nigerians all are proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland.
Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign
In peace or battle, honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to 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.
Who Composed the Nigerian National Anthem?
Have you ever wondered who composed the Nigerian national anthem? The answer might surprise you!
The anthem, titled “Arise, O Compatriots,” was composed in 1978. The National Publicity Committee organized a statewide competition, and five of the best candidates submitted words and phrases that were combined to create the lyrics for the Nigerian anthem. Their words were deftly incorporated into the composition, which now rekindles Nigerians’ sense of patriotism.
So, who composed the Nigerian National Anthem? The five people who wrote the national anthem of Nigeria are listed here by their first and last names;
- Eme Etim Akpan
- John A. Ilechukwu
- B. A. Ogunnaike
- P. O. Aderibigbe
- Dr. Sota Omoigui
The national anthem lines were set to music by the Nigerian Police band under the direction of Benedict P. Odiase, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 79.
Controversy Over Authorship
There is still much debate and disagreement over the authorship of “Arise O Compatriots,” with some sources claiming it was written by one person, while others claim it was a group effort. Ultimately, what is clear is that this was a group effort and was set to music by Benedict Odiase.
No matter who composed the anthem, it’s clear that it has resonated in the hearts of generations of Nigerians and will continue to do so.
The Current Nigerian National Anthem; First Stanza, Second Stanza & The pledge
Did you know that the current National Anthem of Nigeria was composed in 1978? It’s a pretty fascinating story, so let’s dive in.
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
Oh God of 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 pledge is part of the Nigerian national anthem and is an important element that connects Nigerians together. It was written by (Mrs.) Felicia Adebola Adedoyin, and it emphasizes commitment to serving Nigeria with honesty and loyalty.
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 honour and glory.
So help me, God.
What is the origin of the Nigeria National Pledge?
The national pledge was composed in 1976. Its author, Prof. (Mrs.) Felicia Adebola Adedoyin was born in 1938 as the second of six children. This noblewoman was a princess from the Shaki, Oyo State, Iji ruling house.
Her children had been exposed to this custom while attending an American school and while studying in Accra, Ghana. So they questioned the mother about why they did not read the commitment while in Nigeria.
The truth that their country lacked its vow had to be revealed to them by Felicia. She was moved by this circumstance to pen lovely and patriotic phrases that we still proudly recite today. One of the periodicals featured her piece Loyalty to the Nation; Pledge appeared in one of the publications of the Daily Times in July 1976.
The Nigeria National Pledge has been an integral part of the country’s traditions for decades and continues to be today. It stands as a powerful reminder of what unites us all as Nigerians: our shared commitment to justice and liberty, our common hunger for progress, and our reverence for a nation blessed with both natural and human resources.
The words of the national anthem celebrate Nigeria’s unity as a nation-state and its citizens’ commitment to peace, justice, progress, loyalty, and freedom. The opening line, ‘Arise O Compatriots, ‘ calls on Nigerians to stand up for their rights and responsibilities as citizens of their nation.
“Arise O Compatriots” has been an important unifying force in Nigeria since its first performance in 1978.