Facts about the Nigeria National Anthem

The present Nigeria National Anthem was adopted in 1978.

The words that make up the anthem are from a collection of words and phrases from the best five entries from a national contest, submitted by John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sota Omoigui and P.O. Aderibigbe.

The words were properly structured and turned into music by the Nigerian Police Band, directed by Benedict E. Odiase.

Benedict Odiase                                Benedict Odiase

The National Anthem has come under the spotlight after TBoss couldn’t complete the National Anthem. The reality is that there are many Nigerians who cannot sing the National Anthem. Another stark reality is that many people do not know the meaning behind the words in the National Anthem.

TBoss should know the words of the National Anthem                  TBoss should know the words of the National Anthem

Here is the breaks down of lines and their meanings in the famous song, expected to be known by all Nigerians.

Arise, O compatriots

Nigeria’s call obey

To serve our fatherland

With love and strength and faith

These are the first four lines of the Nigerian National Anthem. It calls on all the citizens to heed the call of the nation and to serve it with three principles, love, strength and faith.  Love for the fatherland, strength in hard times and faith that Nigeria will conquer any obstacle. These are the three characteristics every Nigerian should have. Serving the fatherland means you can be called on to defend Nigeria at any time.

 The labour of our heroes past

Shall never be in vain.

The next two lines remind us not to forget the sacrifices of our founding fathers and people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. Examples of these people are Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafewa Balewa, Nnamdi Azikwe, Nigerian soldiers, MKO Abiola etc.

To serve with heart and might

One nation bound in freedom

Peace and unity.

The last three lines add two more things Nigerians need to serve the country- heart and might.

If the next line of the anthem is anything to go by, Nigeria is meant to be a progressive country- “bound in freedom.” The last line of the first stanza paints a picture of an ideal Nigeria- united and peaceful.

Second stanza of the National Athem

Oh God of creation

Direct our noble cause

And guide our leaders right

Help our youth the truth to know

The first line of the second stanza is a plea to God to help Nigeria with three things- direct the affairs of the nation, help our leaders to make the right decision and give understanding to our young men and women. The plea to God reflects the deep religious sentiments in Nigeria.

 In love and honesty to grow

And living just and true

These two lines are a continuation of the prayer to God, the future of the country should mature with love and honesty, guided by truth. This is the second time love appears in thenational anthem.

 Great lofty heights attain

To build a nation where peace

And justice shall reign.

Nigeria is an ambitious country that wants to achieve great things. Peace comes up the second time in the national anthem and ends with the declaration that justice will be supreme. This affirms the popular saying “there can be no peace without justice.


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