‘I Have Gone To Meetings In Israel And Saudi Arabia, There Was No Opening Prayer’ – Fashola



The Former Minister of Works And Housing, Babatunde Fashola has alleged that the National Anthem, seen as an expression of sovereign power, is overly recited in various contexts in Nigeria. Drawing on personal experiences in international meetings, he highlighted instances, such as gatherings in Israel and Saudi Arabia, where there was no opening prayer, and the National Anthem was not sung. Reflecting on this, he expressed the view that the practice of reciting the National Anthem is perhaps being carried out excessively and inappropriately. Proposing a legislative intervention, he suggested that the National Assembly should pass a law delineating specific occasions, such as football events, state visits by the President, the Olympics, and a few other select gatherings, where the recitation of the National Anthem is deemed appropriate. According to him, this would help avoid unnecessary repetition and elevate the significance of the anthem.

He said in an interview with TVC, ”The National Anthem is the expression of our sovereign power. And in all places, I have traveled to. I have gone to meetings in Israel and Saudi Arabia, there was no opening prayer. We just get on with the business. And they don’t sing the National Anthem. And that got me thinking and I realized that we were just doing something funny. The places where we hear National Anthem is football matters, state visits by the President, the Olympics, and a few other events. I think the National Assembly has the responsibility here to pass a law to say these are the places where you can recite the National Anthem. I think we are over singing the National Anthem.”

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