National Anthem Annotated – Osowe Oluwagbenga




Arise! O Compatriots,

For 12 years or more of our lives we’ve said those words,

Like robots and parrots, chanting and reciting,

But to the meaning of the words we give no thoughts,

So we refuse to arise, rather we chill and relax

While our nation continually rots,

 Yet we say we’re compatriots just because

We have our green passports,

Lies! Deception and Fallacy, I tell you


Why can’t we, Nigeria’s call obey?

So we can have our say, not standing aside

Our fathers ignored the call in their Days, and now we their children Pay,

 As unemployment, insecurity and deaths increase,

Day by day, our nation, a symbol of moral and infrastructural Decay,

Our progress Delayed,

So we walk around with our nerves Frayed,

And all over the nation people are  afraid knowing not if they would survive another Day,

Yet our leaders, looters still collect their fat Pay whilst many go hungry every day,

 But then they ask us to pray and ask God for grace



To serve our Fatherland,

I dare say that this is not the land of my fathers,

Yes, my fathers like Awolowo, Azikiwe, Balewa, Enahoro  Ahmadu Bello

Macaulay, who dreamt of a land of opportunities and equality for all;

And not this land where things have gotten out of hand,

Criminals getting contracts to secure the wealth of our lands,

And Justice goes to the higher bidder,

So poor thieves get jailed, rich thieves get bailed,

Amidst celebrations and congratulations,

Chieftaincy titles and national honours,

Women dressed in their finest attires, loud congratulatory music

From live bands, singing and drumming,

Presidential pardons, appointments and decorations for thieves

And those their necks- fit for the guillotine- we adorn with garlands

With no reckon for the damages they have done to our lands


Where then is our love and strength

And faith, Love is gone with the winds cause all I see is hate,

so men hunt and kill their brothers in the name religion and love for their Maker,

Oh, the irony of the madness that brings such sadness!

Mindless murders of God’s creatures in honour of their Creator,

Human beings whom the same God they worship did Create,

 because they are not of the same faith,

Yet my Bible says “God is love” and

Therefore I marvel, when one says he belongs to the Christian faith,

And the other to the Islamic faith,

But they brim with hate, killing and maiming

Precious creatures that the Almighty in His image did create

Just because they’d rather not relate


You tell me, why do we say that the

Labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain,

When I see our old men and women pensioners in pain,

Dying in their numbers while waiting for their labours’ gain

Men and women on whose back the nation was built,

My mother, your father, his uncle, her aunt,

Real heroes, stories of whom you’ll not see in history books

And tabloids that glorify the number of zeroes you’re worth

The fruit of their labours are in hands of criminals, expensive criminals

Like Yusuf who paid a fine of N750 000 for N23 billion loot in this land,

And you want me to serve with heart and might?






I laugh at your desperate expectations

And I believe you don’t mean when you sing

One nation bound in freedom, Peace and Unity

Know ye not that there can be no unity

When we have been stripped of our dignity,

Leaders raping the land with impunity,

In corruption showing their brilliance and dexterity,

Protected by the criminal ingenuity called immunity

So my people live in helpless anxiety,

Waiting for that Messiah that will restore sanity,


This situation of the nation takes me to the deepest heights of depression

But then I remember the words of the second stanza of the anthem

So with faith in my heart, I say this prayer,

To the One who can save this nation

And I urge you all to raise your voices in loud and melodious AMEN


O God of Creation, you are the very definition of perfection,

And not the aberration our leaders thank

When they dedicate their edifices of corruption,

In your wisdom, you brought this world into completion,

Then you gave man the power of production,

When you said we should multiply and be fruitful

So we can bring our earnest desires into fruition,

Please save our leaders from their delusions, (AMEN)

That makes them think that money is the only solution

Pumping money without innovation- libations to the gods of greed and corruption


Father! Direct our noble cause, (AMEN)

Rid the land of those leaders that have become to us a curse, (AMEN)

Guide our leaders right, (AMEN)

Let crime take flight as young men see the light, (AMEN)

That they might indeed work hard and bring to pass that future so bright,

Help our youths the truth to know (AMEN)

Let them cease from meaningless killings of their fellows (AMEN)

Let the blood of the innocent on our streets cease to flow (AMEN)

Help them in love and honesty to grow (AMEN)

And give them a desire for Living just and true, (AMEN)

From this present darkness, see us through (AMEN)

Grant our priests the desire to speak truth (AMEN)

Till we can truly those great lofty heights attain

Give us brilliant minds and help us focus

And we will build a nation where peace and justice reign.  AMEN


I am @gbengaosowe

12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. toyinfabs
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 08:15:24

    WOW……..that’s what I kept saying as I read through. Gbenga, I see in you the next Dennis Brutus that we have been waiting for. Kudos


  2. Tomisin Ajiboye
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 08:46:36

    When I saw this with you at first it wasn’t as fleshed up like this. You really nailed your points sir. Its a wow just like Toyin said. Well done sir


  3. Obinna
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 09:36:33

    I don’t do comments a lot Gbenga, but I must say well done to you on this.
    That said, I want to leave this thought with you and all who get to read your piece: did Awo, Zik, Balewa, Mac, Enahoro really dream of a land of equality for all? What did they really dreams of? Maybe if we unravel this truth we can yet begin to define for ourselves “our generation’s dream” rather than grasp at castles that were never built.

    Recall, that in a sense, all the “fathers” wanted the advantage of their own ethnicity over others – maybe I’m wrong but evidence all seem to the contrary. It’s your piece though, my comment can only be brief. I think that why it is so difficult for us to arise is that there was never a dream, and albeit nothing to rise to. “Land of opportunity” you say, or land where we would rather our ignorant brother took a position that another “not brother” better suits? GB, we are building on a faulty foundation by our “fathers”! Go to your hometown and listen. Try, for instance, “marriage” to an “outsider”. Where does “equality” start anyway?


    • OSOWE O. OMOLAYO (@gbengaosowe)
      Apr 22, 2013 @ 10:06:53

      Thanks for reading Obinna! Without doubt you have actually given some thoughts to the Nigerian situation which is something many people haven’t done. I agree with you in many regards but that notwithstanding, it is clear that the “fathers” referred to here had nobler intentions than our present rulers. Thanks once again.


  4. Ezitonye Peace
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 10:55:21



  5. Obinna
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 15:05:22

    Now I’m a little free at work I can say a little more.
    “Labours of our heroes past shall never be in vain”?
    Again, pardon my criticism (but I’ve given a great thought to this), are they really heroes who line our banks for pension? Old, I may agree, but heroes, I’m not sure. I’m sure that those that stood up for our nationhood are by now dead or senile? Heroes of what? Where they heroes who could not face up to corruption salvage their children’s future? In who’s watch did our nation decay so, anyway? “Heroes” you say who replaced values for money and power!
    What really was their labour? I think we sing an untrue song in our generation, no wonder our singing is in vain. Labours? Gbenga, of civil servants and ghost workers who taught our generation to seek reward without work – kidnapping etc? Yes, definitely not all are guilty, but are they heroes for their silence and refusal to stand out? My time is up, but our anthem needs to define who the heroes truly are otherwise the thiefs from my village and yours who ride in tinted cars may continue in their delusion that they are the heroes thereby confusing a virgin generation following us.


    • toyinfabs
      Apr 22, 2013 @ 16:19:25

      I really do believe that our anthem needs to be re-visited. The only part that works for me is the second stanza. It is becoming clear that our “fathers” were not as altruistic as history would have us believe. They all had srong ethnic agendas. It is becoming clear that our heroes too were not really heroes but I still believe that this generation promises to be worse. It gets worse by the day. Sometimes I fear there is no future for Nigeria. The leaders of tomorrow are majorly villains.


      • Obinna
        Apr 23, 2013 @ 10:48:32

        I can’t agree more, Toyin. But could we have learned otherwise, afterall every parent aspires for their children to “out-do” them, don’t they? They got us substitutes to write our exams, paid our way through school, told us “something is wrong with you when you wait for your turn, or join a queue”, left us to ourselves at home so we learned that “money is the principal thing” etc – and so we are. Some hoped the Church will counter the “bad lessons”, but lo!, our parents were the pastors, prophets, deacons and Imams too – money was therein the principal thing again. So, we became wirped in thinking, feeling, saying and doing…
        They say: “he who knows not and knows that he knows not is a child, teach him; he who knows and knows not that he knows is asleep, wake him up; he who knows not and knows not that he knows not is a fool, avoid him; he who knows and knows that he knows is wise, follow him.”
        Factually, TY, not all youths are leaders of tomorrow! If we all were, who would follow? I believe what we mean to say is that the leaders of tomorrow are amongst us. That, Toyin, depends on you and I, (all of us concerned about this mess). We can choose to be the leaders (outstanding) that others will follow. But that depends on our daily choices at work, home, village etc.

  6. Obinna
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 15:10:58

    Finally, I join you to day “Amen” to the second stanza, which indeed should be our first and only.


  7. Obinna
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 15:16:20

    Finally, I join to say “Amen” to the second stanza, which indeed should be our first and only.


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