The Lyrics of the First National Anthem of Nigeria


The Lyrics of the First National Anthem of Nigeria

The First National Anthem in Nigeria Lyrics

This is the first national anthem in Nigeria. The Lyrics of the first Nigerian National Anthem is really important due to reference purposes and for general knowledge sake. The Nigerian National Anthem which was first used was composed just after colonial rule by Great Britain to unite every Nigerian and give each Nigerian an identity, a source of pride.

Great Britain, having successfully entered into the Nigerian space, colonized Nigeria, but during the whole period of colonialism, it was the passion of every Nigerian under colonial rule to gain freedom, independence if you may. And instead of doing nothing about their freedom, the Nigerian founding fathers rallied round and clamored for support from every single Nigerian for the independence of the Nigerian, so Nigeria in February 1960 became independent of Great Britain and as such, there was a need to have an identity independent of that of Britain and this identity came in the form of our first national anthem.

The first national anthem in Nigeria is “Nigeria, We Hail Thee”. It unified every person in Nigeria and The lyrics of the first Nigerian National anthem was written by Lillian Jean Williams, a Briton who still lived in Nigeria post-independence. This anthem lasted from 1960­ -1978.


The lyrics of “Nigeria, we hail Thee”, the first National Anthem ever in Nigeria in English

The lyrics of “Nigeria, we hail Thee”, the first National Anthem ever in Nigeria in English

Nigeria, we hail thee,

Our own dear native land,

Though tribe and tongue may differ,

In brotherhood we stand,

Nigerians all are proud to serve

Our sovereign native land.


Our flag shall be a symbol

That truth and justice reign,

In peace or battle honour’d,

And this we count as gain,

To hand on to our children

A banner without stain.


O God of all creation,

Help us to build a nation

Where no man is oppresses,

And so with peace and plenty

Nigerians may be blessed.


First National Anthem Lyrics in Hausa

Nijeriya za mu yi maka kuka,

Kasashenmu na asali,

Ko da yake kabila da harshe na iya bambanta,

A cikin ‘yan uwantaka mun tsaya,

‘Yan Nijeriya duka,

suna alfaharin yin aiki Ƙasarmu ta ƙasarmu.


Our flag zai zama alama

Wannan gaskiya da adalci ke mulki,

A cikin zaman lafiya ko yaki,

Kuma wannan mun ƙidaya a matsayin riba,

Don mika wa yara

Banner ba tare da tabo ba.


Ya Allah na dukan halitta,

Ka ba wannan buƙatar mu ɗaya,

Taimaka mana mu gina al’umma

Inda ba wanda aka zalunta,

Sabili da haka da zaman lafiya da yalwa

Nijeriya na iya samun albarka.


Nigeria We Hail Thee Lyrics in Igbo

Naijiria anyi gua gi,

Ala anyi di ala,

Ọ bụ ezie na ebo na ire nwere ike ịdị iche,

N’etiti ụmụnna anyị na­eguzo,

Ndị Nigerians niile,

na­enwe obi ụtọ ije ozi Ala nna anyi nke mba anyi.


Ọkọlọtọ anyị ga­abụ ihe nnọchianya

Eziokwu na ikpe ziri ezi na­achị,

Na udo ma ọ bụ agha agha,

Na nke a anyị gụrụ dị ka uru,

Iji nyere ụmụ anyị aka

A ọkọlọtọ na­enweghị ntụpọ.


O Chineke nke ihe nile e kere eke,

Nye ihe a otu arịrịọ anyị,

Nyere anyi aka iwulite mba

N’ebe a na­emegbu mmadụ,

Ya mere na udo na ọtụtụ

Nigeria nwere ike gọzie.


Nigeria’s First National Anthem Lyrics in Yoruba

Ile­ilẹ ara ilu wa,

Bi o tilẹ jẹ pe ede ati ede le yato,

Ni ẹgbẹ ẹgbẹ wa duro,

Gbogbo eniyan ni orile­ede

Niger ni igberaga lati sin Ile­Ile Ijọba wa.

Flag wa yoo jẹ aami kan

Otit] ati ododo yii j] ba,

Ni alaafia tabi ọṣọ ogun,

Ati eyi ti a kà bi ere,

Lati fi ọwọ si awọn ọmọ wa

A asia ti ko ni idoti.

Iwọ Ọlọrun ti gbogbo ẹda,

Fun wa ni ibeere kan wa,

Ran wa lọwọ lati kọ orilẹ­ede kan

Nibo ti a ko ni eniyan ni inunibini,

Ati bẹ pẹlu alafia ati opolopo

Nigeria le jẹ alabukunfun.

The music for “Nigeria, we hail Thee” was composed by Frances Berda. The first Nigerian National Anthem was replaced by “Arise, O Compatriots” in 1978 which was composed by Benedict Odiase.


History Nigerian National Anthem

History Nigerian National Anthem

Before Nigeria gained Independence, the special British anthem was sung at all official or important events. However, months before the country’s freedom from the British rule, a Nigerian National anthem was composed.

It was written by Miss Lillian Jean Williams and was rendered by Miss Frances Benda. Both the music composer and the writer were Britons.

Subsequently, this song which was popularly called ‘Nigeria we hail thee’ was adopted by the country on the 1st of October, 1960, the Nigerian Independence Day.

The wordings of this National Anthem are as follows:

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 anthem was quite impressive and it remained a national symbol for many years, precisely between 1960 and 1978. It was often sung at official events and occasions but was eventually abandoned for a couple of reasons:

·    It was written by a Briton

·    The anthem highlighted our differences: “…Though tribes and tongues may differ…”

This led to a call by the Federal Government to create an open competition for Nigerians to send in submissions for the lyrics of a new anthem. There were over a thousand submissions precisely, one thousand four hundred and forty nine (1449).

At the end of the day, 5 individuals were chosen. Those who wrote the selected Nigerian National Anthem were given N1000 for their intellectual works and they are:

1. B. A. Ogunnaike

2. Eme Etim Akpan

3. John A. Ilechukwu

4. Sota Omoigui

5. P. O. Aderibigbe

The compositions from these five composers were blended into one and the new composition was handed over to the head of music of the Nigerian Police Force, Benedict Elide Odiase on the 10th of May 1978.

Benedict Elide sought the help of the Professor Akin Euba and consequently the lyrics of the anthem were rendered into music by the Nigerian Police Band. This new anthem was adopted and sang for the first time on the 1st October, 1978, during General Olusegun Obasanjo regime.

It is in two stanzas.

The anthem was applauded by many as it glorified the rich vibrant culture and heritage of the country. Also, the patriotism expected of every Nigerian is deeply embedded in the lyrics of this anthem. Basically, this great song is national call for all Nigerians to serve their motherland not just passively but with love and compassion.

The song also takes into account the historical past particularly the struggles of the national heroes pre-independence and it also infuses the aspirations of the future generation.

Unlike the previous national anthem, this anthem highlights the single chord that binds the citizen of this great nation no matter where they are.


Nigeria’s First National Anthem Lyrics:  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.

The anthem has a second stanza, although not as popular as the first stanza, it is a unique call. Basically, this is a prayer which is offered to the Creator to guide the nation, the leaders and the youth aright. In this respect, the blessings of the lord are prayed for so as to guide the nation towards prosperity whilst ushering an era of peace in the country.


Nigeria’s First National Anthem Lyrics:  second stanza

Nigeria’s First National Anthem Lyrics:  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 live in just and true Great lofty heights attain To build a nation where peace And justice shall reign. You’ll probably hear this stanza in solemn gathering like churches or mosques.

As a matter of fact, the Federal Executive Council in 2012 decided that the second stanza should be the official national prayer and was to replace the separate Christian and Muslim prayers often offered at official gatherings and events.

Overall, the Nigerian Anthem speaks to the heart of every Nigerian and it is indeed the dream of every citizen of this great nation. The anthem has been translated to other languages such as Yoruba, Hausa and Ibo. We certainly can’t talk about the National Anthem with mentioning the National Pledge.

The pledge is often recited after the anthem with one hand raised or placed on the left side of the chest. It was written by Professor Felicia Adebola Adedoyin in 1976. Although, the pledge is a short recitation it is very powerful and the wordings are as follow: “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, and so help me God.”

Finally, the Nigerian National Anthem is a symbol of national significance and the roots and reality of this anthem should never be forgotten if you’re a Nigerian.

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