Politics

FG Seeks Wider Consultations For Change of Country’s Anthem

 

The Federal Government has asked members of the National Assembly to subject the Nigerian National Anthem Bill to wider consultations before passing it.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, stated this in Abuja on Monday at a public hearing on the bill to revert to the old national anthem.

It is titled: “A Bill for an Act to Provide for the National Anthem of Nigeria, and for Matters Related,”

The hearing was jointly organised by the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Interior, to which it was referred by the Senate on Thursday after it scaled second reading.
The hearing was jointly organised by the Senate Committees on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters and Interior, to which it was referred by the Senate on Thursday after it scaled second reading.
The House of Representatives accelerated and passed the bill in a single sitting on Thursday.

Mr Fagbemi said there was a need for a wider process where Nigerians and other arms and tiers of government would participate in the decision to revert to the old national anthem before it finally becomes law.

He specifically proposed consultations through zonal public hearings, resolutions of the Federal Executive Council, Council of State, National and State Assemblies, etc.

“Consequently, it is my considered view that the decision to change Nigeria’s National Anthem, whether by replacing it with the old one or a new one, should be subjected to a wider process of citizen participation through zonal public hearings, resolutions of the Federal Executive Council, Council of State, National and State Assemblies, etc,” he said.

“The outcome of this process is bound to be a true reflection of the wishes of the generality or majority of Nigerians. I thank you all for granting me the audience to contribute my thoughts to this national cause,” the minister added.

Information ministers seeks expansion

Also speaking at the hearing, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, recommended that the scope of the bill should be expanded to include a robust issue of national identity rather than limiting it to a change of national anthem.

Mr Idris, represented by the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency, Lanre Issa-Onilu, noted that some lines in the old national anthem do not make a complete meaning.

“The issue of the national anthem is just a subset. What we should be looking at is the National Identity Act.

“The challenge we have today is that we do not have a valued national identity, of which the national anthem is one of them. It is not about singing in schools, it is about learning and imbibing it,” he added.

The Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele, who represented the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, chaired the hearing. (PREMIUM TIMES)

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