Arise O Compatriots! by Sola Adewunmi
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.
Those are the solemn words of Nigeria's first National Anthem. I guess the rulers of Nigeria figured after years of Independence, that our National Anthem was mere words with no translation in our individual or corporate lives. They therefore decided to change it.
In their minds, our realities required new words to create a Nigeria of our dream! So they challenged us…
“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, peace and unity.
O 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.
Our National Anthem is played at every State function, government officials at federal, state and local levels stand when it is played. Some of them even seem to sing it at such occasions, although I doubt that they know the words. The few of them who may know the words obviously do not consider them beyond mere letters and sounds. Otherwise, where is the reflection of these words in their policies and actions? And when the average Nigerian, particularly those of school age sing the National Anthem every school morning, do the images of our dear nation which they see daily reflect the words of our anthem?
“Arise O Compatriots, Nigeria's call obey”….what is the call of Nigeria?...“ To serve our Fatherland with love and strength and faith”. Shall we ask…where is the love in the actions of our Compatriots who claim that their presence in public offices today is to serve us? How can our President, Governors and Commissioners prove that they love Nigeria and Nigerians when they keep getting fat with rosy cheeks and the average Nigerian remains with hollow cheeks and long faces?
How can the Ministry of Health justify its “love and faith” when hospitals across the nation lack drugs and equipment while they share millions amongst top officials at the end of the year? Or should we talk about our Senators who collected millions for a retreat in Ghana to brainstorm on the state of healthcare in Nigeria!
What is there to brainstorm about in a foreign country about enabling hospitals, doctors and nurses to do what they are supposed to do…prevent illnesses and diseases and when they do occur, cure or treat!!
How do this vultures expect our youth to believe as our anthem says “In love and honesty to grow, and living just and true”? How just is our President as he flies to Germany to treat common cold when an accident victim in rural Katsina does not have access to MRI or a CT Scan in the General Hospital?
Where is the justice for the University students who have been out of school for months due to the strike action by lecturers when Mr. President just went to help open a University in Saudi Arabia?
We sing that “the labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain, to serve with heart and might one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.” Who are the heroes past and where are the fruits of their labour?
Most Nigerians under the age of 30 cannot identify any heroes in our nations contemporary political life. Many of those who qualify to be called heroes have either been killed or now live in exile. The ones who still live in Nigeria can hardly inspire our youths because they seldom enjoy the “good life”.
Meanwhile the blood sucking worms who bleed our Fatherland receive national awards and chieftancy titles. They are even awarded honorary degrees by our Universities.
Can you beat that?!
These beasts of prey live in mansions and drive luxury vehicles with no visible means of income except being in government. Yet millions of Nigerians live in sub human conditions and when it is election time, they tell us “it is do or die”, they must rule us by force. It does not even matter whether we vote for them or not. Afterall in Nigeria, foreigners show up to vote and even the dead wake up to participate in our elections. Just check our voters' register as composed by “Professor” Maurice Iwu's INEC and you will be amazed.
In our great country the government commissions airports that cannot be located, they spend billions of dollars to generate electricity and after paying the contractor(s), our President commissioned power projects that do not exist!
Our country exports what we do not have and we import what we have. Nigeria provides electricity to neighboring countries while his people light up candles. We sell crude oil to the world and turn around to import petroleum!
Maybe at this point in our history as we mark our "Independence", we should simply revise our National Anthem and reduce it to just four words…. “Nigeria We Hail Thee!”