STAR INFORMATION: Nigeria`s National Anthems, Current and Old

40 Comments » October 8th, 2007 posted by // Categories: Spotlight



Arise, O compatriots!

Adopted in 1978 during a military administration, the anthem is one whose words are the amalgamation of the work of five winning contestants, John A. Ikechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, Babatunde A. Ogunnaike, Sotu Omoigui and P. O. Aderogbu in a national competition held for the purpose. Benedict Odiase,  then the Director of Music Nigeria Police Band, composed the music.

Music Files:

1. [downloadable]
2. [downloadable]

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.



Nigeria, We Hail Thee!

This anthem was adopted as our official national anthem until 1978 from October 1, 1960 when Nigeria obtained its independence from Great Britain. Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate that lived in Nigeria at the time, wrote the words and the music was composed by Frances Berda.

Music/information files:

1. [downloadable]

Nigeria we hail thee
Our own dear native land
Though tribe and tongue may differ
In brotherhood we stand
Nigerians all and proud to serve
Our sovereign motherland

Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign
In peace or battle honour
And this we count as gain
To pass unto 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



Published: 2007/10/8

Old Anthem Arouses Audience At NLNG Award

The rendition of Nigeria’s old national anthem aroused the emotion of the audience last Saturday at the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Award Nite held at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos.

The audience sang the anthem heartily and with utmost ease to the delightful surprise of the former military head of state, General Yakubu Gowon (retd.), who was one of the chairman at the event. Former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd.) read the key note address.

Gowon was taken aback by the fact that Nigerians could sing the old anthem flawlessly, decades after it was replaced by the current one at the prompting of General Olusegun Obasanjo when he was the military head of state in the mid 70s.

Obasanjo had jettisoned the old anthem, which starts with the stanza: “Nigeria we hail thee; our own dear native land; though tribe and tongue may differ; in brotherhood we stand….” designed by the former British colonial masters.

Ironically, when two performers sang the new anthem which starts with the stanza, “Arise O’ compatriots; Nigeria’s call obey; To serve our father’s land;…”, not many in the audience last Saturday took delight in singing it along with them.


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40 Responses to “STAR INFORMATION: Nigeria`s National Anthems, Current and Old”

  1. daniel says:

    why did they change the old national anthem

  2. OLLY says:


  3. Fabison-Val says:

    I wish the old nigeria’s anthem be restored because, I love it more than the current one as it (the old one) generates a sense of hopeful future in the heart when being sung or recited. The changer hasn’t done well, I admit.

  4. wale oni says:

    the old anthem is richer in lyrical content and melody than the new. but why did they change it. i think it arouses emotion whenever it is sung.

  5. Uzochukwu says:

    I think it was changed bcos it wasn’t composed by a Nigerian but sincerely speaking, the former is richer in content than the recent one. The former brings that sense of belonging as a Nation with common goal of UNITY and UPLIFTING the Nation high with DEVELOPMENT in every part of the Nation with LOVE and mutual RESPECT for everybody IRRESPECTIVE OF CLASS,RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC DIFFERENCIATION

  6. kosemani says:

    i prefer that old anthem when we were true nigerian

  7. Alhaji Babatunde Chukwu says:

    the old national anthem has more taste in it even if it was written by a non-Nigerian but the new does not really express the greatness of the country.

  8. E. O. Ayoola says:

    The old Anthem is better than the current one

  9. kingsley E. says:

    becus they want to start their wicked and corrupt act

  10. ROCK ROY says:

    Since i was born i havent got time to check the old Anthem,just checked it,the old is far better.Its the Anthem that defined Nigeria and Nigerians. I guess it was changed bcuz the Writer isnt a Nigerian.

  11. Abiola says:

    I think it change for: (1) selfish interest (2) for the fact that it was not written by a nigerian

  12. dan says:

    a line in the old one says, “O God creation help us to build a nation vhere no man is oppressed” is it not because we have started oppressing one another that we have all sort of problems today?

    • S. Abiodun says:

      the old one is very rich and it preaches unity among Nigerians compared to new one, it should not have been changed

  13. charles oyelade says:

    lets forget about whether the first anthem was writen by a non nigerian or not, the fact is that the anthem is far better than the latter, both by content and by lyrics lets agree with the truth when we see it, simply put, lets go back to it. the clause that touch me most is “where no man is opressed”

  14. Ewodage .A. Zainab says:

    dis is my 1st tym of checkin d old anthem out n I hv 2 agree wiv evry1 else,its bera n fils more real dan d current one.Plz let’s go back 2 it.

  15. Dare Olaniyan says:

    It seems our “rulers” don’t consult the interlect before acting. The old anthem is the best for our dear native land and the song for Nigeria @ 25 is well compose.

  16. victor onwuesie says:

    I tink the old anthem would have not been changed cuz it invokez d spirit of volksgeist… Thatz the spirit of the people as one. Evryone iz seen az one…

  17. franklin oggar says:

    this is a sources of in formation for youth.

  18. Timormour says:

    The later is a martial music. I luv my mum whenever she sings d old one. Wt eyes closed and a smiling face. Seems she was talkin to Nigeria. I hate it anytym i recite the present one. I makes me feel like i’m bein forced in2 a war wt myself. If they changed d 1st one, why are there still foreign coaches and expatriate oil workers. Nigeria we Hail Thee, Jare !!!



    • George caleb says:

      Nigeria is not the only country dat changed her national anthem…our problem is dat we ve lost faith nd hope in d govt nd nt d anthem!

  20. Brown says:

    pls, how many national anthem do Nigeria hav as a whole?

  21. George1st says:

    I agree with you all. I also stumbled on it while preparing for a presentation, i dowloaded the midi version and played it to my mum asking her if she knows which song it is…. To my greatest surprise, she sang the lyrics with great joy nodding her head and swinging her hand.

  22. Fanatho says:

    Now i know the reason why the old (better) Nationl anthem was changed! Changed for curruption, selfishness, hatred, dividedness…

  23. Mma says:

    True Fanatho. I wonder why they had to change the good work of Lilian Williams. Please Nigerians let’s go back to the original anthem.

  24. Ode Titus Okawu says:

    The reasons for changing th National Anthem are glaring from the contents of the old Anthem. When Nigeria became independent in 1960, everybody was full of hopes and aspirations that the country was going to be an egalitarian society, a society where peace and justice would reign, a country rid of corruption- greed, nepotism, tribal centiment, violence,egotism and all others. Surprisingly, in less than a decade of self-rule.the peoples became disenchanted. The peoples could no longer be proud of their motherland. Oppression became rife, coups and counter-coups, tribalism, injustice of all sorts dominated the scene, staining the promised banner red. These and more are the reasons for shying away from the old but still lovable anthem. God bless Nigeria.

  25. Bennett says:

    So lovely and heart touching. I suggest we ask the man who changed it, why he did.

  26. Ropo says:

    The old national anthem made us to realise the value of dis great country compared to the new one which has no touching lyrics. I suggest we should go back to the old anthem which was composed by a non Nigerian

  27. Yakubu Augustine says:

    I m nt supporting any change in our national anthem,to me d old one is okay.

  28. woody I. says:

    Just because of selfish interest. Where are the compatriot that have arise? We should go back to our root.

  29. ukemeobong james says:

    When my mum first sang the anthem to me what i could see is that there was oneness in the country at then… Everyone was aiming at making Nigeria a betterland where children will get the mantel and have a voice that goes in line with their dreams… But arise o compartriot sounds more of a martial anthem   sound where we all have a dream and no voice.. Where selfless service is the order of the day… What shall we then hand over to the next generation …corruption? lets arise and build oursoverign land where no man is oppressed.. Thank you as you give these post a rethink of bringing back our lost glory!!

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