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QuickRead: Nigeria reverts to old national anthem. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



President Bola Tinubu last week signed into law a bill to revert to the country’s old national anthem.

The bill seeks to replace the current anthem adopted by the Olusegun Obasanjo military regime in 1978.

The same week, the Labour Party presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, explained what would make him consider a merger between the party and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ahead of the 2027 general elections.

These and three other stories we tracked dominated public discourse in the country last week.

1. Nigeria reverts to old national anthem

On May 29, President Tinubu signed into law the bill to revert to the old national anthem.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, disclosed this while addressing lawmakers at the joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja.

He said: “This morning, Mr. President, signed into an act of Parliament the newly passed national anthem 2024.

“Henceforth, we will not refer to ourselves as dear compatriots, we will refer to ourselves as brothers, and as we go forward in battle, whether in the field of sports, in the field of politics, we must hail Nigeria and so we are all saying today that Nigeria, we Hail thee.”

Why it matters

The decision to revert to the old national anthem adopted at the country’s independence in 1960 at a time Nigerians are groaning under severe hardship occasioned by its policy initiatives suggests that Tinubu’s government has lost focus and is merely clutching at straws to remain relevant.

The general response to the development shows that the citizens have lost confidence in the government and the Nigerian system as a whole and look forward to the 2027 general election to kick out the fumbling All Progressives Congress (APC) through the ballot.

However, Nigerians hoping for credible elections in three years should brace themselves up for another disappointment with the desperation of the political class to subvert the will of the people through the instruments of the state.

2. Obi on planned LP-PDP merger

The LP presidential candidate in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi, on May 27 explained what would make him consider a merger between the LP and the PDP ahead of the next poll in 2027.

Obi, who spoke in an interview on Noire TV-Global Black TV, also reacted to a remark credited to former Vice President Atiku Abubakar on the election.

Obi said: “I commend him. And I’m grateful for his statements. Especially where he said he will support me if it (the presidential ticket) goes to the South-East.”

“I’m not desperate to be president. I’m desperate to see Nigeria work, especially for the poor people because we have a lot of potential.”

Why it matters

Although a merger or coalition of parties is being conceived to provide an alternative platform for Nigerians following the abysmal performance of APC in the last nine years, it is hard to see different outcomes due to ideological differences with the two parties having their eyes on the central government.

The apparent lack of ideology among Nigeria’s political actors with many in the system only interested in grabbing power either legitimately or otherwise to share spoils will ultimately work against the arrangement.

3. Court declares Rivers lawmakers’ seats vacant

Justice Charles Wali of the Rivers State High Court, Port Harcourt, on May 30 declared the seats of the 25 members of the state House of Assembly who defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC) vacant.

The judge gave the order in suit No PHC/1512/CS/2024, brought by the Speaker of the Assembly, Victor Oko Jumbo, and two others on the crises rocking the parliament.

Wali said: “An Order of Interlocutory Injunction is granted restraining the 1 to 25th Defendants from parading land holding out themselves as members of the Rivers State House of Assembly and/or meeting/sitting at the Auditorium of the House of Assembly Quarters located at Aba Road.”

Why it matters

The ruling may have added a fresh twist to the endless drama in the oil-rich state.

While the ruling has given Governor Similayi Fubara and his supporters an edge in the struggle for control of the Assembly and by extension Rivers State, however, it may not be a hurray yet for the former with the ruling on the substantive suit still to come.

READ ALSO:QuickRead: Atiku eyes presidency in 2027. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

This development highlights the urgent need for the Supreme Court to give a final interpretation to the vexed portions of the Constitution that deal with cross-carpeting by politicians.

It also deepens the call for the amendment of the constitution to finally resolve the impasse on who owns the mandate between the parties and the candidates.

4. Keyamo declares Air Nigeria project fraudulent

The Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, on May 27 described the Nigeria Air unveiled by former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration as a fraud.

The minister, who fielded questions from journalists during the second day of the Ministerial Sectorial update in Abuja, said the project remained suspended.

He said: “It was never Air Nigeria. It was Ethiopian trying to flag our flag and not Air Nigeria. That is the truth; it was not Nigeria.

“It only printed Air Nigeria. It was an Ethiopian airline trying to fly our flag. If it is so, why not allow our local people to fly our flag? Why bring a foreigner to fly our flag?”

Why it matters

The controversy trailing the handling of the project speaks to the level of corruption by successive government officials in the country.

The shady handling of the project by the former minister and other officials of the last government should not be swept under the carpet with those indicted in the ongoing investigation punished accordingly to serve as a deterrent to other corrupt individuals in the future.

5. Reps oppose engagement of mercenaries to curb insecurity
invasion of Cross River community by bandits from Cameroon is an act of war, Reps cry out to Tinubu

The House of Representatives on May 29 rejected a suggestion on the engagement of mercenaries to tackle insecurity in the country.

This followed the adoption of a motion on urgent public importance moved by the member representing Bakori/Danja Federal Constituency of Katsina State, Abdullahi Dabai, at the plenary in Abuja.

In his presentation, Dabai said the people of his constituency are living in a state of fear due to constant attacks by bandits.

He said: “Families have lost their loved ones, their means of livelihood, and their homes. The psychological trauma inflicted on tihe survivors, particularly those who have lost family members or witnessed the destruction cannot be overstated.

“The kidnappings have further exacerbated the situation with families anxiously awaiting the return of their loved ones.”

Why it matters

The idea of engaging mercenaries to confront the bandits and other criminals means the citizens have lost confidence in the ability of the Nigerian military to secure their lives and properties.

The almost daily attacks on communities and other soft targets indicate the collapse of the country’s security architecture and an urgent reboot of the system for effective performance.

Given the effortless ease at which the bandits raid communities in the North, the onus is on the government to come up with workable solutions, including the engagement of foreign mercenaries, to reduce the carnage instead of throwing up its hand and watching the country slide further into a failed state.

By: Hamed Shobiye.

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