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Fact File: Who composed Nigeria’s ‘Arise O’ compatriots’ anthem?

FACT FILE: ‘Arise O’ compatriots’

The famous Nigerian Musicologist, Mr Ayo Bankole (41) of the University of Lagos and his wife Adetoro (38) were murdered in their sleep by a suspect described as Mr Bankole’s relation.

Bankole was the composer of the anthem for the 1973 2nd All-African Games. At the time of his death, he was working on Nigeria’s new national anthem.

Interestingly after his death, it became an open competition and many Nigerians wrote and sent in their version of what the anthem should be, including my dad, though his entry was not selected, he got a letter of acknowledgement for his entry and the letter is with me now.

The ‘Arise O’ compatriots’ anthem was pieced together from the 5 best entries from Masses John Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B.A. Ogunnaike, Sota Omoigui, and P.O. Aderibigbe.

The music was composed by Benedict Elide Odiase, Director of Music of the Nigerian Police Band, whose photo you are seeing above.

Below is the anthem:

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.

Second Stanza

Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leader’s 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 shall reign.

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Raphael James
Raphael James
Dr Raphael James studied Psychology at Ondo State University and is the Director General of the Centre for Research, Information Management and Media Development (CRIMMD). He's also worked at African Charities of America. He's a good historian and collector of historical materials for his CRIMMD.

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