Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former Lagos State Governor and National Leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has called for a referendum to gauge the preference of Nigerians on the two national anthems that the country has had since independence.

Tinubu made the call this afternoon while presenting a paper, ‘Managing Nigeria’s Pluralism For Peace And National Development,’ at the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, NIPSS, Kuru, Jos, Plateau State.

According to Tinubu, managing Nigeria’s pluralism for peace and national development is an issue that should be deeply examined.

“From the beginning of our journey to nationhood, the founding leaders built a country diverse but united. The opening lines of the national anthem we had at independence in 1960 drove home this diversity and our fraternal resolve to build one nation,” he stated.

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Tinubu, however, explained that the pogrom in the mid-60s in some parts of the country and the attendant civil war showed that as a people, “we have failed to live up to the spirit of that anthem.

“It showed that the leaders and the followers at the time only paid lip service to the injunction of the anthem: ‘Though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand.’ We failed miserably to deploy this mantra for peaceful co-existence and national development,” Tinubu said.

The ACN leader said abandoning the post-independence anthem, which arguably evoked a strong spirit of patriotism and brotherliness, to compose a very drab replacement, is far less inspirational.

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“It was an example of the inconsistency in government thinking; moments when our leaders make unjustifiable ‘about turns’ as Fela, the afro-beat musician would have put it,” he stated.

The ACN leader challenged the graduating class and the alumni of NIPSS to develop new ideas towards accelerating national development and promoting peace in the country.

“In several areas, Nigeria is stuck in the past, applying decadent policies to new, and more virulent problems. But at moments like this, the nation turns to the National Institute for new ideas that should make us break from the moribund past,” Tinubu stated.

— Funsho Arogundade