What’s in a National Anthem?

By Lanre Issa-Onilu

We now have a new National Anthem, a tune that may not be so new to Nigerians over 50. For many Nigerians born before the 1970s, this anthem was the soundtrack of their teenage years, evoking a wave of nostalgia and a deep-seated longing.

This anthem, once old and now new, undoubtedly holds a special emotional connection with the older generation, a connection that we can all appreciate.

While the reappearance of the anthem may have seemed sudden, those who closely followed President Bola Ahmed Tinubu during the challenging presidential election campaign could see the signs. President Tinubu didn’t just promise to bring back the anthem; he strategically took action to make it a reality. This was not a surprise, nor should it have been. President Tinubu has always been strategic in his actions, and this was no exception, instilling a strong sense of reassurance and confidence in his leadership.

In his first 12 months, he has reeled out numerous far-reaching policies that shouldn’t come to the discerning as a surprise. He talked about them years ago. Is it student loans or consumer credit schemes? Is it the removal of petroleum subsidies or parity in the foreign exchange rates? Is it tax reforms, which he did with outstanding outcomes as Governor of Lagos State or electricity reforms he pioneered, making Lagos State the first to invest in power generation through Enron Power Nigeria Limited? Or should the judiciary reform come as a surprise? One can see Nigeria’s development trajectory under President Tinubu by studying his sayings and actions in the last three decades. He has a mental master plan for the country he is building. It is called vision.

The National Anthem policy stands out because it is a vital component of the national identity project the NOA is spearheading. This anthem, with its powerful lyrics and stirring melody, defines the very essence of our Nigerian identity, a source of immense pride and a symbol of our collective belonging.

The need for a national value system that clearly defines a Nigerian’s personality speaks to the psychological needs of the citizens, who must be emotionally connected to the country. This is what the National Values Charter seeks to achieve. Actual development cannot occur unless the citizens have a shared positive sentiment, and there cannot be a shared positive sentiment unless the country motivates the citizens’ beliefs and patriotism.

Our immediate challenge at NOA is to mobilise Nigerians to learn and live the tenets of the anthem. We have instructed our Community Mobilisation and Sensitisation Officers (COMOs), who will lead the sensitisation in all 774 local government areas, to commit the anthem to heart by June 3. Next (This) week, we will commence the process of producing the official rendition of the anthem for deployment for all official engagements.

*The Explainer this week

This edition’s lead story is about President Tinubu’s financial reengineering. The administration inherits an economy soaked in an overdose of naira notes, printed indiscriminately to fill the gaps in Nigeria’s underwhelming productivity. We printed the money we could not generate from trade and production. It is called Ways and Means. This action eroded confidence in Nigeria’s economy. Foreign investors won’t touch Nigeria with a long pole. The value of the currency nose-dived, making imports more expensive and spinning off inflation.

This administration has prudently managed the country’s finances, including the windfall from the removal
of the oil subsidy. Debts are being paid. Infrastructural development is apace
without recourse to Ways and Means. These policies are reenergising investors’ confidence. The report is a must-read to have a clear picture of the country’s outstanding fiscal policies.

What is Barr Nyesom Wike, FCT Minister, doing that is making President Tinubu happy? The report is in this edition. You can also read about FG’s plan to rejuvenate the local government system as a crucial platform for national security. It is another well-packaged.

* Issa-Onilu, the DG of NOA, writes in The Explainer, May 31-June 5

* Issa-Onilu

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