New National Anthem: Has Tinubu started restructuring?

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It will take me a while to decide whether to finally memorise our new national anthem.

 

However, I want to point out that even though national anthem is not Nigeria’s biggest problem at the moment deciding to revert to the old national anthem DOES NOT prevent other serious problems facing us from being tackled by the government at all levels. These things can happen SIMULTANEOUSLY. So, critics should find another line of criticism.

 

On the merits of changing the National anthem, persons in my generation may not feel deep connection to the old national anthem because I grew up learning the new national anthem “Arise O Compatriots”.

 

However, I cannot say that the lyrics of the old national anthem (Nigeria we hail thee) is not rich in content. It was our national anthem from independence up till 1978 when the military under Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo decided to change it.

 

Upon closer analysis, I think I can understand why the delegates at the 2014 Confab UNANIMOUSLY recommended that we should revert back to the old national anthem. “Arise O Compatriots” has some military connotations and was probably composed with the ghost of the Nigerian civil war in mind by Pa Ben Odiase, who is a Police officer.

 

The 2014 Confab delegates probably wanted a civilian-sounding national anthem. Their objective for the recommendation was “to reinforce national consciousness”.

 

It is not different from the cry of some people who feel that the 1999 constitution was bequeathed to us by the military and are advocating for a new ‘constitution of the people by the people’ (whatever that means) to be created to replace the 1999 constitution.

 

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu simply decided to implement the recommendation of the 2014 Confab Report. But remember that the national assembly (made up of APC, PDP, LP, NNPP, SDP and APGA members) first UNANIMOUSLY passed the bill before President Tinubu signed it into law.

 

Personally, I am looking at this National Anthem change from a different perspective. President Tinubu is actually warming up to RESTRUCTURE this country but a lot of people are not seeing it yet! In fact, he has started with the Electricity Act 2024 that unbundled and decentralised the powers to regulate generation, transmission and distribution of electricity. You can see states now requesting NERC to transfer regulatory powers to their newly created state electricity regulatory commissions.

 

Also, recall that Tinubu himself has endorsed STATE POLICE (another recommendation of the 2014 Confab). His Attorney-General has also sued the 36 States at the Supreme on issue of Local Government autonomy.

 

He is even recommending a constitutional amendment that either scraps state electoral commissions (SIECs) and gives INEC power to conduct LGA elections as at when due, to stop the coronation in the LGAs by the governors OR convert Nigeria into TWO federating units only (ie, Federal and State). The states would then have the freedom to do whatever they want to do with the LGA, either create as many LGAs as they want or scrap them entirely. This is restructuring.

 

Tinubu is also coming for some things still in the EXCLUSIVE list of the 1999 constitution.

 

Remember his presidential Fiscal and Tax Reforms Committee led by Taiwo Oyedele has made landmark recommendations that must require constitutional amendments. If care is not taken VAT will be returned 100% to the states (already Tinubu is comfortable with reducing FG’s share of VAT, which was a product of military decree).

 

I will advise people to watch out for more seismic restructuring moves from Tinubu. He’s bold, audacious and not afraid to take the decisions others are scared of taking.

 

If you watch carefully, he has been METHODICALLY implementing his manifesto and his longstanding ideological positions one after the other. The man is not thinking about the next election.

 

Changing the national anthem is just a PREAMBLE. Only those with deeper analytical eyes will acknowledge this.

 

Meanwhile, Nigeria we hail thee!i

 

Credit Michael Chibuzor

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