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Was the Old Nigerian Anthem Better than the Current One?


From Independence until 1978, the Nigerian national anthem was Nigeria, We Hail Thee.

The lyrics of Nigeria, We Hail Thee were written by a British woman, Lillian Jean Williams, while Arise, O Compatriots, which replaced Nigeria, We Hail Thee in 1978, was written by one of our own, Pa Benedict Odiase of blessed memory.

Let’s look at both:

Nigeria, We Hail Thee

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

Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to 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.


Arise, O Compatriots

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 with
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.


Both of them are very well written, and rich with meaning. Nonetheless, I’ve heard some, — especially of the old generation — say that they prefer the old anthem to the new.

What do you think? Was the old one better for Nigeria? Should we switch back? Please leave a comment and tell us your opinion.


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Joy Ehonwa

Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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