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National anthem, flag and coat of arms: An analysis

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Sir: “Nigeria we hail thee…” was the first national anthem of Nigeria (1960-1978). That first national anthem was changed in 1978 to, ‘Arise O’ Compatriots …; and we are still singing that to the present moment.

Thank God, none of those agitating for the restructuring Nigeria ever mentioned the change of the national anthem.

A few months ago, I was watching news on one of our television stations. The Academy of Engineers held their AGM and Conference in Kano, where as usual, only the first verse of the national anthem was song by the audience. But the most funny and interesting part of their rendition was that a man read out the second verse of the national anthem as a prayer and only very few of them said Amen.

I remember sending an E-mail to Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, in 2013, when he was the governor of Lagos State on this issue of national anthem.

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I have also written to President Muhammadu Buhari on June 3, 2019, Ref: SOA/595/N. Anthem.

In my letter to the President, I implored him, as the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria that he should order our Armed Forces to sing the whole national anthem at every public functions or occasion starting with Democracy Day on June 12, 2019.

My question is, ‘‘Why do we always sing just’’ a verse out of the short two verses of our National Anthem at public functions or occasions?

The second verse of our national anthem is the ‘‘prayer point’’ of the Anthem. It says, ‘‘O God of creation direct our noble cause, guide our leaders right, and help our youths, the truth to know, in love and honesty to grow and living just and true great lofty height attains to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign,’’ It is said, ‘Give what belongs to Caesar to Caesar and what belongs to God to God.

That second verse of our national anthem is for God’s mercy on Nigerians, simple and pure.
The Nigeria National Flag has become just a decorative item in Nigeria. The Green, White, Green Flag have been bastardized by the states governors, national and state Houses of Assembly. There is no standard colour of green all over the country. Some used matured leaf green, which was the first flag.

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Many now use young green leaf colour. Many state governors put lace at the edge of the flag. Others put the coat of arms on the national flag. That is very wrong. Once, that is done, it is no long our national flag.

The coat of arms is a separate entity from national flag. The coat of arms is the authority or the seal of power of the nation, call Nigeria. Without the coat of arms as the crown on the mace, the mace is just a staff or stick. The coat of arms gives authority and power of the government of Nigeria to any Nigerian holding the international passport. Without the coat of arms any law passed in any State Assembly has no legal backing. The court rooms also have the coat of arms at the head of the court rooms to give all the pronouncements of judge’s legal backing. It appears, the National Orientation Agency, who is supposed to pick-up all these anomalies in the national anthem, National Flags and coat of arms, ‘‘cannot see the wood for the tree.’’ All the governors, even including the presidency have bastardised and abuse our national flag by putting the coat of arms on the white area of our national flag. The flag was not presented to Nigerians like that 1960.

The National Orientation Agency should set a standard for the green colour of the national flag. The agency should insist that National Anthem should be song in full and the coat of arms should be respected by all Nigerians. During the era of the late Dora Akunyili, as the minister of Information, some people came with the idea of rebranding Nigeria. Brand and rebranding are marketing/advertising technical terms. You cannot rebrand a nation without changing her name. For example, the present Ghana was Gold Coast. When Tanganyika and the Islands of Zanzibar and Pemba joined to become nation, they become the present Tanzania. That is rebranding. Some people will just come up with misleading ideas to deceive gullible government officials.

Dr. Sunday O. Ajai wrote from Lagos.

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