EditorialNational Anthem Bill as Misplaced Priority

National Anthem Bill as Misplaced Priority

May 26, (THEWILL)- The speed at which the Bill to change Nigeria’s National Anthem was given an accelerated hearing and passed by the House Representatives, last Thursday, thus enabling it to scale the first, second and third readings at the same sitting, is really interesting.

Dismissing all opposition to the Bill, which apparently came “from the top,” the House of Representatives gave an accelerated hearing to what it considered an ”all-important” Bill and passed it without minding whose ox is gored.

Interestingly, the Bill to revert to the country’s old National Anthem, titled, titled: “Act to Provide for the National Anthem of Nigeria, and for Matters Related’,” was sponsored by the House Leader, Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo), a top ranking member of the green chamber.

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Leading the general debate on the general principles of the Bill, Ihonvbere noted that the current anthem lacks the rigour of the old.

“I have taken time to look at the old anthem and the new and as a Nigerian who has been involved in the struggle to make Nigeria a better place either as a student to the student union movement, including the “Ali must go” movement or as a university teacher; having been secretary, vice chairman and chairman of ASUU or as a pro-democracy activist who spent 12 and a half years in self-exile, I believe that the old anthem, encompasses, contains, exudes the kind of energy, resourcefulness and a sense of vision that I believe is good for Nigeria,” he said

However, the opposition to the Bill which came from lawmakers across party lines and called to question the necessity for such a Bill at this point in time . However, their submissions were frantically ignored as it appeared that the ”powers that be” had made it clear that the Bill must be passed at all cost.

We however wonder about the importance of the Bill to the current socio-economic and infrastructural challenges facing the country and how the recitation of the old National Anthem would provide solutions to the problems facing the average Nigerian and put food on the tables of the poor and vulnerable Nigerians.

Also, we are very sure that majority of the lawmakers who pushed the Bill through to satisfy “the unseen hand from above” cannot even recite successfully neither the old National Anthem they were pushing for nor the new one.

It is very sad and unfortunate that in the face of obvious challenges and other problems of national importance, the lawmakers are busy pushing a selfish agenda to satisfy the whims and caprices of their political godfathers while other Bills that could have boosted investments and create jobs for the unemployed are left unattended to for years.

This attitude and action are highly condemnable and it shows the calibre of most of our lawmakers, especially in the current National Assembly. Without doubt, they have proven to Nigerians so far that their selfish interest, and not the interest of those who elected them into office, really matters.

Sadly, most of our political leaders, especially lawmakers at the federal level, see themselves as semi-gods who are not really accountable to their constituents as they start pursuing their selfish agenda immediately they are voted and sworn into office only returning to their constituents once their tenure appears to be ending.

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