What Is The Nigerian National Anthem: English Translation, Original Lyrics And History. Photo: Getty Images
What Is The Nigerian National Anthem: English Translation, Original Lyrics And History. Photo: Getty Images

"Arise, O Compatriots" is the national anthem of Nigeria. It was adopted in the late 1970s and is the country's second ever national anthem.

A national contest was held to find a new national anthem. Instead of just selecting one set of lyrics, the chosen lyrics were taken from the top five entries. The national anthem of Nigeria is fairly short with just two verses. Even still, the first verse is typically the only one that is sung during most events and occasions. The song touches on many themes, including the nation’s connection through freedom, peace and unity, while the second verse addresses future generations and what must be done in order to keep the nation at peace.

Here are the anthem’s history, its original lyrics, English translation.

History of the Nigerian National Anthem

It was adopted in 1978 and replaced the previous national anthem, "Nigeria, We Hail Thee".

The lyrics are a combination of words and phrases taken from five of the best entries in a national contest. The words were put to music by the Nigerian Police Band under the directorship of Benedict P. Odiase (1934–2013). Though it has two verses, usually only the first is sung. On some occasions, the second verse is recited as "The National Prayer". The Nigerian national anthem lyrics were created by 5 people such as P.O. Aderibigbe, John A. Ilechukwu, Dr. Sota Omoigui, Eme tim Akpan and B.A. Ogunnaike.

The National Anthem

Arise, O compatriots, Nigeria's call obey

To serve our fatherland

With love and strength and faith

The labor of our heroes past

Shall never be in vain

To serve with heart and might

One nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity.

Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause

Guide our leaders right

Help our youth and 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.

The current national anthem was adopted in 1978 to replace the previous national anthem, "Nigeria, We Hail Thee". The wordings are combination from words and phrases taken from five of the best entries in a national contest - P.O. Aderibigbe, John A. Ilechukwu, Dr. Sota Omoigui, Eme tim Akpan and B.A. Ogunnaike. The words were put to music by the Nigerian Police Band under the directorship of Benedict E. Odiase.

The National Pledge

I pledge to Nigeria, my country

To be faithful, loyal, and honest

To serve Nigeria with all my strength

To defend her unity

And uphold her honor and glory

So help me God.

The Nigerian pledge of allegiance is recited immediately after the playing of the Nigerian national anthem. It was written by Felicia Adebola Adeyoyin in 1976.

The Old National Anthem

Nigeria we hail thee

Our own dear native land

Though tribe and tongue may differ

In brotherhood we stand

Nigerians all and proud to serve Our sovereign motherland

Our flag shall be a symbol

That truth and justice reign

In peace or battle honour

And this we count as gain

To pass unto our children

A banner without stain

O God of all creation

Grant this our one request

Help us to build a nation

Where no man is oppressed

And so with peace and plenty

Nigeria may be blessed

Nigeria, We Hail Thee was adopted as Nigeria's national anthem on Independence Day October 1, 1960. The lyrics were written by Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate who lived in Nigeria when it achieved independence. Frances Berda composed the music for "Nigeria, We Hail Thee."

Lyric videos of the Nigerian National Anthem

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