May 29, 2024


A recent decision by the Nigerian Senate has stirred significant controversy, garnering criticism from various quarters, including the Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG). The Senate's passage of a Bill to revert the nation to its 1960 national anthem has been described by the MMWG as hasty, unpopular, and critically lacking majority support among Nigerians.

Criticisms and Concerns

The MMWG spared no words in its condemnation of the Senate's decision. They strongly believe that the matter is of such national importance that it deserved wider consideration and public contribution. The Senate’s move, according to the group, appears to be a 'misplaced priority,' especially when there are pressing issues that need urgent attention.

In aligning its views with that of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), the MMWG said that the issue of the national anthem transcends what members of the National Assembly could decide within the confines of their chambers. They argued that a more inclusive approach, potentially through a public hearing, would have ensured that the voices of ordinary Nigerians were heard and respected before making such a resolution.

National Importance and Wider Consideration

National Importance and Wider Consideration

Changing the national anthem is not merely a procedural change. It is intimately tied to national identity and pride. The 1960 national anthem, steeped in the history of Nigeria's independence from colonial rule, carries significant historical sentiment. However, there are contrasting views about whether reinstating it is a priority at present.

The group emphasized that substantive issues affecting the nation could be unresolved if such symbolic actions are prioritized over practical and immediate needs. The MMWG highlighted various critical issues that deserve the Senate's attention more urgently, such as the welfare and protection of Nigerian citizens. Good take-home pay for workers, improved pension packages for senior citizens, and efficient power restoration across the country were cited as areas that require immediate focus.

Alignment with Economic and Social Infrastructure

The MMWG also called on President Bola Tinubu to steer clear of this bill and instead direct his administration’s focus towards enhancing economic and social infrastructure. They believe that the President's energy should be channeled into programs that promise tangible improvements in the lives of Nigerians rather than symbolic changes that may end up being divisive and unproductive.

This appeal aligns with popular sentiment among the Nigerian public, who are eager for reforms that can alleviate the economic hardships they face daily. Addressing inflation, ensuring stable electricity, and providing quality healthcare and education are some of the priorities that most Nigerians would like to see tackled by those in power.

Broader Implications

Broader Implications

The Senate's action has not only opened up a debate on the appropriateness of changing the national anthem but has also brought to light broader issues concerning legislative priorities and public good. Critics argue that the Senate should re-examine its role and ensure that its actions reflect the needs and aspirations of the ordinary Nigerian rather than pursuing initiatives that lack widespread support.

This episode echoes past controversies where legislative actions were perceived as being out of touch with the public sentiment. The call for thorough and inclusive engagement with the populace before arriving at such decisions cannot be over-emphasized. A national anthem, while important, should unify rather than divide, inspire rather than depress, and reflect the contemporary aspirations of the citizenry.


Ultimately, the debate surrounding the reversion to the 1960 national anthem exposes deeper questions about the priorities of Nigeria’s legislative body and the nature of democratic governance. Will the Senate heed the criticisms and re-evaluate its decision, or will it continue to pursue this controversial path? The coming weeks will reveal whether public opinion holds the power to influence legislative actions in Nigeria.

As Nigerians wait to see how this issue unfolds, the hope remains that their leaders will prioritize initiatives that provide concrete benefits to all and foster a more inclusive process for decisions that shape the national identity.