National Anthem Law: Tinubu, Lawmakers Should Prioritise Welfare of Nigerians

The swift passage of a bill to change Nigeria’s national anthem, followed by President Bola Tinubu‘s rapid assent, raises questions about the legislative and executive priorities in a country grappling with significant socio-economic challenges.

Development Diaries reports that Tinubu recently assented to the National Anthem Bill 2024, reverting to the old national anthem, ‘Nigeria, we hail thee’.

Conversations have continued as to how swiftly the bill was passed and assented to, raising questions on the essence of prioritising such a bill in the face of other pressing issues bedevilling the country.

This symbolic legislative move has diverted attention from more pressing issues such as high inflation, widespread poverty as a result of subsidy removal, minimum wage demands, and insecurity in various regions, among other top concerns that should have been priority.

Anyone would agree that, at this time, changing the national anthem is expected to be the least priority for Nigerian lawmakers.

The time and effort invested in altering the national anthem could have been better spent addressing these urgent matters that have a more direct impact on the lives of ordinary Nigerians.

Legislators have had a backlog of urgent and beneficial laws that deal with improving the situation of the country, many of which have not passed their first reading in years.

The Nigerian Police Act Amendment Bill, which would include state police, the Nigeria Shipping and Ports Economic Regulatory Agency Bill, the National Health Act Amendment Bill, bills on human rights, and numerous other bills that guarantee women’s rights and representation are just a few of the urgently needed bills of national concern currently pending.

It is worrisome that a bill can be swiftly passed to change the national anthem, but one year after the removal of subsidy, no concrete action has been taken to alleviate the suffering of millions of Nigerians.

This action shows the legislature’s failure to exercise its independent and critical role in scrutinising and debating proposed laws. Instead, it succumbs to the executive’s directives without thorough consideration of the bill’s implications for the populace.

Our concern is that lawmakers are behaving like they are not answerable to the people, and this concern is valid being that the legislature’s primary responsibility is to represent the interests of the people.

In a true democracy, the legislative body must be a vibrant forum for diverse opinions and rigorous debate, ensuring that all laws passed are in the best interest of the citizenry.

When this process is compromised, it not only weakens the legislative institution but also jeopardises the broader democratic framework within which it operates.

Development Diaries calls on President Tinubu and the tenth Senate to, in the same manner, swiftly address the rising cost of living severely impacting Nigerians.

Photo source: Bola Tinubu


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