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Senate Holds Secret Session To Change Nigerian Anthem

The  Senate has  convened a secret session on Thursday to discuss a bill aimed at changing the nation’s anthem. 

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the  proposal seeks to replace the current anthem with “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” the country’s first national anthem adopted on October 1, 1960, but later replaced in 1978 under the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio announced that the bill would be expedited through its 1st and 2nd readings in the same day, urging the legislators to return to plenary to facilitate this process. 

Akpabio also mentioned that any Nigerian interested in contributing to the discussion could attend a public hearing on the matter at the Senate building.

A source within the Senate disclosed that the leadership’s determination to swiftly progress the bill, emphasizing the push to revert to the old anthem. 

This source revealed that the session was marked by significant debate and divergent views among the senators.

Senators Danjuma Goje and Adams Oshiomhole advocated  a public hearing prior to any amendments, arguing for broader national consultation. 

However, the Senate leadership, favouring an expedited process, aimed to pass the readings quickly, thereby reducing opportunities for public input.

Senator Yahaya Abubakar from Kebbi, a former Senate Majority Leader, warned against hastily amending the anthem without national consensus, suggesting it could be perceived as a distraction from the country’s current economic hardships. 

He emphasized the need for extensive consultations to ensure the move reflects the will of the people.

Contrarily, Senator Victor Umeh of the Labour Party supported the leadership’s position, dismissing the need for a public hearing. 

He argued that such hearings could lead to unnecessary controversy, using Rwanda as an example of a nation that benefited from revisiting its national symbols. 

Umeh’s stance, however, was criticized by some colleagues as sycophantic and contrary to his party’s principles.

The debate reportedly intensified in the closed session, with accusations against Umeh for attempting to curry favor with the Senate President. 

Critics within the Senate accused him of opposing public participation in crucial decisions, highlighting past instances where Umeh allegedly sided with the leadership against broader party interests.

PLATFORM TIMES reports that the  move to revert to the old anthem has sparked significant controversy, reflecting deeper tensions within the Senate and raising questions about the process and motivations behind such a fundamental change to a national symbol.

It was further gathered that  as  the bill progresses, it is expected to draw widespread public and political scrutiny.

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