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The Story Of How The Nigerian National Anthem And Pledge Were Formed

It was Pa Benedict Odiase that composed the current Nigerian National Anthem. He was born on August 25, 1934 and he died on June 12, 2013. He grew up in the previous Bendel State, he was not actually celebrated during his time as the composer of the Anthem.

The National anthem composed by Pa Benedict was used to replaced the former National Anthem composed by the British, it was adopted in the year 1978. To get the lyrics of the Anthem, a competition was created and the lyrics were gotten from the best 5 entries in the contest. It was the Nigerian police band that put the words into a song, they were led by Pa Benedict.

Before the current National anthem you are familiar with was adopted, there used to be another national anthem which was called "Nigeria, we hail thee". That was the first Nigerian national anthem before it was replaced with the current anthem. The lyrics of the Anthem was written by Lillian Jean Williams, while the song itself was composed by Frances Berda. This was the national anthem that was used by Nigerians in the 1960's until it was replaced in 1978.

The reason why the previous Anthem was replaced is because it was written in a colonial way. The authors of the song were British and Nigerians did not want that. Since there were quite alot of talented musicians that can compose in Nigeria, the need for a new anthem was requested. Nigerians then requested for a National Anthem that was Nigerian made in other to show their freedom and Independence.

The National Pledge

After singing the National Anthem, Nigerians are required to sing the National pledge immediately. The National pledge was written by a Woman known as Professor Mrs Felicia Adebola Adedoyin in the year 1976. Mrs Felicia was born in the year 1938, she was a Princess from the Iji ruling house of Shaki, Oyo State. 

Before Mrs Felicia wrote the National pledge, her kids saw it as a tradition to read a pledge in their American schools. Even when they were in Ghana, they also sang the National pledge. Her kids were curious as to why they do not recite any National pledge in Nigeria, Mrs Felicia had to reveal that Nigeria did not have her own pledge.

It was because of the question from her children that inspired her to write the National pledge. The pledge made its way to the daily times Newspaper on July 1976. A friend to General Olusegun Obasanjo who was identified as Barrister Adewusi was fortunate enough to read that newspaper. He showed the article to Obasanjo and he decided to adopt the pledge as the Nigerian National pledge.

Ever Since the year 1967, it has been made compulsory for all schools to recite the national pledge. Even during occasions and meetings the national pledge has to be recited. 

Mrs Felicia later died on the 1st of May, 2021.

Source- Wikipedia

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Bendel State Benedict Odiase Nigerian Pa Pa Benedict


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