National Anthem of Nigeria Lyrics by: John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sotu Omoigui and P.O. Aderibighe Music by: Nigerian Police Band under the directorship of B. E. Odiase Adopted in: 1978 The "Arise, O Compatriots" is the national anthem of the federal republic of Nigeria. It was adopted in 1978. 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 Elise Odiase. Contents [hide] • 1 History • 2 Lyrics • 3 Customs • 4 References and External Links • 5 References History As a British colony from 1914 to 1960, the patriotic song of Nigeria was the British National anthem "God Save the Queen". After its Independence in 1960, the national Anthem became "Nigeria We Hail Thee" written by Lillian Jean Williams with music by Frances Benda, both were British expatriates. During the Nigerian civil war which lasted from 1967-1970, when Biafra tried to secede from Nigeria, "Nigeria We Hail Thee" was the anthem of the home country while Biafra's anthem was "Land of the Rising Sun". After the war in which Nigeria won to stay one country, the Biafra's anthem was no longer in use. In 1978, the National Publicity Committee organized a contest to create a new national anthem, of the many sent in, five stood out and they were words written by John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sotu Omoigui and P.O. Aderibighe. These words were put together to form what is now the "Arise, O Compatriots", the Nigerian national anthem. At the time, Nigeria was under military rule and the music to the anthem was composed by the Nigerian Police Band, Benedict Elide Odiase was the director at the time. The "Arise, O Compatriots" has since been the official patriotic song of Nigeria. Lyrics "Arise, O Compatriots" (1978-present) 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. O 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 reign. "Nigeria We Hail Thee" (1960-1978) 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 Motherland. 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, 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. "Land of the Rising Sun" (Biafra's anthem 1967-1970) Land of the rising sun, we love and cherish, Beloved homeland of our brave heroes; We must defend our lives or we shall perish, We shall protect our hearts from all our foes; But if the price is death for all we hold dear, Then let us die without a shred of fear. Hail to Biafra, consecrated nation, Oh fatherland, this be our solemn pledge: Defending thee shall be a dedication, Spilling our blood we’ll count a privilege; The waving standard which emboldens the free Shall always be our flag of liberty. We shall emerge triumphant from this ordeal, And through the crucible unscathed we’ll pass; When we are poised the wounds of battle to heal, We shall remember those who died in mass; Then shall our trumpets peal the glorious song Of victory we scored o’er might and wrong. Oh God, protect us from the hidden pitfall, Guide all our movements lest we go astray; Give us the strength to heed the humanist call: ‘To give and not to count the cost" each day; Bless those who rule to serve with resoluteness, To make this clime a land of righteousness Customs The Nigerian National Anthem is usually performed at major events having to do with national pride such as the President's address, major sporting events but most often at school where it is usually accompanied by the Nigeria's National Pledge. Nigeria's National Pledge The National Pledge of Nigeria is recited immediately after the Anthem 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.