Nigeria National Anthem Mp3 Download & History (Updated)

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In my secondary days, we were usually made to stop whatever we were doing, stand still and recite the national anthem and pledge as long as we could hear the drum and hum of the National Anthem and National Pledge. It is one the most recognised National Symbols of the country.

For those who went to Army School, the conditions were more strict. A friend told me about how they MUST not flinch. He told me about how the national flags were usually raised after the recitation and how they MUST “stand at ease.”

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Nigerian youth kneel for the national anthem during one of the many protests against police brutality – USIP.org

A Brief History of the Nigerian National Anthem

“Nigeria, we hail thee” was Nigeria’s first National anthem. It was adopted as the country’s anthem on 1 October 1960 when we gained independence. You can listen to it here. It was replaced with a new anthem – “Arise O compatriots” – was later introduced in 1978.

The new anthem (still in use) was written after a merge of the ideas of five Nigerians. The FG had issued a request for Nigerians to submit their ideas for the lyrics of a new anthem through an open competition. They received about 1449 submissions, after which five best entries were selected and awarded a sum of one thousand naira. The five winners were; B. A. Ogunnaike, Eme Etim Akpan, John A. Ilechukwu, Sota Omoigui, and P. O. Aderibigbe.

The lines gotten were put to music by the Nigerian Police Band under the directorship of Benedict E. Odiase in 1978.

Recent Changes to the National Anthem

In a significant move in May 2024, the Nigerian government decided to revert to the original national anthem, “Nigeria we hail thee.” This decision marked the third phase in the evolution of the country’s national anthem. 

The announcement was met with mixed reactions, as it brought a sense of nostalgia for some while others felt a strong connection to the now-old anthem, “Arise O compatriots“.

Lyrics of the Old National Anthem

First Anthem (1960-1978, Reintroduced in 2024)

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’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.

Second Anthem (1978-2024)

First stanza
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.
Second stanza
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.

Nigerian National Anthem MP3 Download

You can download/listen to the full audio of both the old and the current National Anthems here. Tap the “three dots” to download.

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF NIGERIA IN 3-MINS.

Differences between New and Old Nigerian National Anthem

S/n“Nigeria, We Hail Thee”“Arise O Compatriots”
1Has 3 StanzasHas 2 Stanzas
2The lyrics were written by Lillian Jean Williams.The lyrics were compiled from the winning entries of a national contest.
3The music was composed by Frances BerdaIt composed by Ben Odiase and the Nigerian Police Band.
New vs. Old National Anthem

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the current Nigerian national anthem adopted to replace the old anthem?

In 2024, the government reverted to the original anthem, “Nigeria We Hail Thee,” making it the current anthem once again.

Why was Nigeria national anthem changed in 1978?

It was changed to promote indigeneity of ownership and also inspire Nigerians, the Anthem was replaced in 1978 under the military administration of General Olusegun Obasanjo, with ‘Arise O Compatriots.’

Tai Solarin and Dennis Osadebay were part of Nigerian scholars who called for a new National Anthem. They believed that our anthem should be composed by someone who does not have only sympathy, but also empathy for the nationals to summon dedication and arouse emotion.

Why is it important to respect the national anthem?

Respect for the national anthem is a way of respecting Nigeria and promoting National Consciousness. For example, Nigerian students are encouraged to stand still and recite along should they hear the anthem.

Who Composed the Nigerian National Anthem?

The lyrics were written by Lillian Jean Williams while the music was composed by Frances Berda.

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