Old National Anthem: Nigerian Politicians Still Tied To Colonial Masters’ Apron Strings - Nnimmo Bassey

Old National Anthem: Nigerian Politicians Still Tied To Colonial Masters’ Apron Strings – Nnimmo Bassey

4 weeks ago
2 mins read

As reactions continue to trail the decision of the Nigerian government to return to use of old national anthem, Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), Nnimmo Bassey, has described the act as shameful and retrogressive, noting that it underscores the level of influence of colonial mentality on policy formulation in the country.

President Bola Tinubu on Thursday, confirmed that he has signed into law a bill to revert to use of old national anthem instead of the current one that begins with “Arise o compatriots.”

The old national anthem was composed in 1960 by Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate, who lived in Nigeria then.

The “Arise o compatriots” was created in 1978 to replace “Nigeria we hail thee.”

However, the legislation passed by the National Assembly and and assented to by President Tinubu has reversed it.

In a chat with Prime Business Africa, Bassey said reverting to the old national anthem means taking Nigeria back to what it had left behind.

According to him, there are many wrong things about the old national anthem. He specifically pointed out that it contains words like “native” land and of “tribes” which were “routine condescending colonial referencing” of the various parts that make up Nigeria.

“The idea of Nigeria returning to an old colonial anthem is utterly shameful and retrogressive,” Bassey said.

“The action underscores the pervasive intrusion of coloniality in policy formulations. There are many things wrong with the old anthem. It speaks of ‘native’ land and of ‘tribes.’ Besides other reasons, these two words speak of routine condescending colonial referencing.”

He berated the political leaders for behaving in ways that suggest they are still tied to the apron strings of the colonial masters in terms policies and actions they undertake which reflect an exploitative relationship that have made things largely unchanged since independence.

“Coloniality, or colonial mentality, has tied Nigerian politicians to the apron strings of old colonial masters and entrenched exploitative relationships that have ensured that very little changed since flag independence.”

The environmentalist added that: “This is what has perpetuated the extractivist relationship in terms of labour, mining, agriculture, data and finance. These operate in vastly unregulated regimes sponsored by internal financial institutions and other colonial institutions.

“One would not be surprised if our politicians drop the Green-White-Green for the Union Jack. Renewed extractivism may well be the new creed.”

Some Nigerians who queried the rationale behind going back to the old national anthem said since the government is in love with things about the first republic, they should also amend the constitution to drop the current unified federal system and adopt the regional government of that period which many believe is better.

“Now that we’re going back to old ages and the past can national assembly pass a bill that we take us back to regional government since we all agree that is better than unity government that we’re practicing at the moment,” Akinmolayan Abiodun, a public affairs analyst, wrote on X.

However some Nigerians support returning to the old anthem.

“I’ve always preferred the old national anthem. It’s got deeper words, and resonates more with our special circumstances than the new one,” an X user, Iconic Lawyer wrote.

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