Nigeria National Anthem Lyrics – Meaning & History

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A country’s national anthem represents its people, history, and values. It makes people feel proud and brings them together to celebrate their country as a whole. The national anthem of Nigeria is no different. This article will look at the Nigeria national anthem lyrics, its meaning, and the history of the Nigerian national anthem to help you learn about this vital part of the country’s culture. This article will talk about what the Nigerian national anthem means to the people of Nigeria, from how it came to be to how it has changed over time.

Nigeria National Anthem Lyrics

Here are the words to the Nigerian national anthem:

First Stanza

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.

Second Stanza

Oh 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.

What the Nigerian National Anthem Means

The words to the Nigerian national anthem mean and can be interpreted in the following ways:

In the first line, the people of Nigeria are asked to serve their country with love, strength, and faith. It also shows respect for past heroes’ sacrifices, letting them know that their work will not be in vain. The first stanza also gives credit to a higher power and asks for help and direction in the noble cause of the country. It also shows education’s importance and tells young people to get more love, honesty, and knowledge.

The second line states the goal of building a country where peace and justice rule is stated. This shows the values of the Nigerian people, who want everyone to be treated fairly and live together in peace.

Overall, the Nigerian national anthem is about how important it is to serve the country, work together for a common goal, and ask a higher power for help. It also shows how the Nigerian people, who want peace, justice, and unity, live their lives.

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Historical Context of the Nigerian National Anthem

The Nigerian national anthem has a history that goes back to 1960 when the country got rid of British colonial rule. Before independence, Nigeria’s official song was “God Save the Queen.” But after Nigeria gained independence, it needed a new anthem that showed what the people of Nigeria stood for and what they wanted.

Before Nigeria became independent, Nigerians sang the British anthem at all official or essential events. But a Nigerian national anthem was written a few months before the country got rid of British rule. Miss Lillian Jean Williams wrote it, and Miss Frances Benda sang it. The writer and the person who wrote the music were both from Britain. On Nigeria’s Independence Day, October 1, 1960, the country started singing this song, which became known as “Nigeria, we hail thee.”

Lyrics to the old national anthem

Nigeria we hail thee,

Our own dear native land,

Though tribes and tongues may differ,

In brotherhood we stand,

Nigerians are proud to serve,

Our sovereign motherland.

This song was very moving and was used as a national symbol for a long time, from 1960 to 1978. Nigerians often sang it at official events and ceremonies, but the federal government eventually stopped it because it was written by a Briton and clarified our differences.

This led the Federal Government to ask Nigerians to send lyrics for a new national anthem as part of an open competition. There were exactly 1,449 submissions, of which the committee picked five finalists. The people who wrote the chosen Nigerian National Anthem got ₦1000 for their creative work. They are;

  • Eme Etim Akpan
  • Sota Omoigui
  • P. O. Aderibigbe
  • B. A. Ogunnaike
  • John A. Ilechukwu

The committee put the pieces of the Nigeria national anthem lyrics from these five composers together to make one piece. On May 10, 1978, The delegates gave the new piece to Benedict Elide Odiase, who was in charge of music for the Nigerian Police Force.

How the National Anthem Was Made Into a Song

Benedict Elide asked Professor Akin Euba for help, and the Nigerian Police Band then put the words to the anthem to music. The first time Nigerians sang this new anthem was on October 1, 1978, when General Olusegun Obasanjo was in charge.

Many people cheered for the anthem because it praised the country’s rich culture and history. Also, the lyrics of this song show how much Nigerians are expected to love their country. This great song is a national call for all Nigerians to serve their motherland passively and with love and care.

The song also talks about the past, especially the struggles of the national heroes before independence. It also talks about what the next generation hopes to achieve.

Unlike the old national anthem, this one shows how every citizen of this great country is connected by a single chord, no matter where they live.

The second stanza is usually recited in solemn events like church or mosque. The second stanza was chosen as the official national prayer by the Federal Executive Council in 2012. It was meant to replace the Christian and Muslim prayers that Nigerians often said separately at official events and gatherings.

Overall, the Nigerian Anthem speaks to the hearts of all Nigerians and is the dream of everyone living in this great country. Different languages, like Yoruba, Hausa, and Ibo, have their own versions of the song.

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The Nigerian National Pledge

After the national anthem, people often say the pledge with one hand raised or on the left side of their chest. Professor Felicia Adebola Adedoyin wrote the book in 1976. Even though the pledge is only a few words long, it is compelling. Here are the words:

I pledge to Nigeria my country, to be faithful, loyal and honest. To serve Nigeria will all my strength, to defend her unity, uphold her honor and glory, so help me God.

The Nigerian National Anthem is a sign of national pride, and if you’re a Nigerian, you should always remember where it came from and what it means. The Nigerian people are very proud of their country, and the national anthem is a source of their pride and motivation. Nigerians play the Nationa anthem at official events like celebrations of independence and state ceremonies. It is also played at sports games and other events where the country is represented.


The Nigerian national anthem has a long history that shows what the people of Nigeria want and value. It reminds people of the country’s independence and the sacrifices made by heroes in the past. It also motivates people to work toward making their country’s future better.

The Nigerian national anthem is a vital part of the country’s culture. The anthem shows the Nigerian people’s hopes, values, and history through its lyrics, meaning, and historical context. The anthem encourages Nigerian people to work together for a better future.