Home News Wale Adefarasin: Why I started campaign for return to old Anthem 15 yrs ago…Reflects on charismatic churches, Nation

Wale Adefarasin: Why I started campaign for return to old Anthem 15 yrs ago…Reflects on charismatic churches, Nation

by Church Times

Former Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Pastor Wale Adefarasin has said he started campaign for a return to the Old National Anthem 15 years ago because the anthem inspires patriotism.

He made the point during a session with the Network of African Christian Journalists via Zoom on Saturday, June 8.

Adefarasin is also the General Overseer of the Guiding Light Assembly with headquartres located in Banana Island, Lagos.

He recalled with nostalgia the years that he recited the Old National Anthem as a young boy shortly after independence.

 

The old anthem

He said, “As a young boy I attended a school where we sang the British National Anthem every Friday until our independence in October 1960. At that time, I was now 8 years old. We were taught  Nigeria we hail thee, all three verses. Until this day I still remember all the verses.

“Later in 1978, it was changed. It was not changed through a democratic process. Not even a decree. It was changed through a pronouncement. But that is not an issue. The two anthems are nice. But to me, Nigeria we hail thee inspires patriotism. It made me proud to be a Nigerian and I think at this particular point in time, we need to get our sense of national pride back in our nation. That is what it means for me.”

He noted that the words: tribe and native used in the anthem are not derogatory as being insinuated adding that the context in which they were used in the anthem is appropriate.” Tribal differences have been an issue in Nigeria since independence.” He said.

Another word tackled by critics of the anthem is, Mother Land.

Adefarasin said, “There is a sense of connectivity with mother than father. When I was growing up, people could say any derogatory word about your father, but when somebody abuses your mother, it’s big trouble. Our mother is the only one we can say with our assurance is our mother. Some people are fathered by somebody else.”

How the anthem came about

He noted that issues of justice and truth are being highlighted in the anthem and that the line, To hand on to our children A banner without stain is a strong metaphor that carries a sense of responsible leadership. “Passing to our children a banner without stain is key.” He said.

The prayers of the anthem according to him are also potent.

Before the anthem was introduced, Adefarasin said there was a call for entry published in the defunct Daily Times in 1959. “Entries were requested for the national anthem and a prize sum of 1000 pounds was to be awarded to the winning entry. That was a lot of money in those days. There was a panel of five people and most of them were Nigerians who adjudicated on the best anthem. It was not an anthem that was imposed on us by colonialists.”

Adefarasin said Nigeria is not the only country that has an anthem composed by a foreigner adding that we have no reason to contest the anthem because “many Nigerians use foreign goods and we don’t complain”.

Arise, O compatriot,

On Arise O compatriot. He said, “It sounds very military. I feel military interruption in our polity has done so much damage to Nigeria. It is still doing damage. Enough of that. I felt it was the military anthem. It was a patched work. I feel if we sing Nigeria we hail thee from our heart, it will inspire patriotism”

He said it was that understanding that made him campaign for a return to the old anthem. “I was so convinced about the need to go back to the old anthem because I felt Nigerians needed a sense of patriotism and reorientation. ”

On how he ran the campaign he said, “I had a website set up for that purpose. I made a call for signatures. But then the internet was not as popular as we have today, so we did not get far on that. At a point after writing and delivering papers on it, I became frustrated. I forgot about it.  But one day, I woke up to see that the first and second readings had been done and the bill had been passed into law. To me, it is a divine intervention.”

While underscoring the importance of the Old Anthem, he said, “You cannot transform a nation until you transform the minds of the people. ”

He said the National Orientation Agency is a critical part of government. ” The agency has a lot of work to do in reorienting Nigerians. We have a multifaced problem, the solution has to be multifaceted too.  I believe that as a bill is being passed to get the anthem, so also a bill should be passed for the minimum wage.”

Nigeria

On Nigeria, he said, “Our value system is deteriorating. Things have been so bad and nobody can come and change the situation overnight. It is going to take a lot of sacrifice to get us to where we should be.”

He said many of the hard steps of the present government are necessary; He added however that “more thoughts could have gone into the removal of the fuel subsidy. I also think the government should cut the cost of governance and stop unnecessary spending”

Adefarasin believes the issue of minimum wage has to be handled with caution. “The NLC is right to demand a minimum wage. But they need to know we are in a dire straight and the government may not be able to pay the wage being demanded by labour” he said.

He Lampooned the humungous amount budgeted for the recent Hajj pilgrimage. He asked the Christian community not to get into such frivolous spending on pilgrimage as a way of showing patriotism to Nigeria

Pastor Adefarasin however expressed great optimism about Nigeria, urging Nigerians not to despair. “We should keep hope alive. I believe this nation will be great again. I believe God has a vested interest in making this nation great.  We should not lose hope in Nigeria. I believe Nigeria will change.” he said.

Charismatic movement

He expressed disgust at the excesses of many church leaders who claim to have some extra-biblical experiences. “Many pastors are coming up with all kinds of gimmicks. When I was the chairman of PFN, my position was that the government is responsible for protecting the citizens from exploitation. We need a situation where a regulatory body can audit our corporate finances. We will get there. I believe people can’t run a church if they don’t comply with the legal requirement.”

Tithe, according to him, is something that should come from people’s hearts and not something to be enforced.

He lamented the decadence in the charismatic movement recalling the years gone by. “I can’t say I was born a Christian, nobody was born a Christian. But my parents were Anglicans. What attracted me to Pentecostalism was the fact that there was no emphasis on titles. Pentecostal pastors were just pastors. No bishop, no archbishop. We were encouraged to read the Bible for ourselves. We were encouraged to pray by ourselves.

“The simplicity was there. Now I have come into Pentecostalism, we have gone back to the titles we condemned. We now do all the things we ran away from in the Orthodox churches. We have so complicated the gospel. The solution is for us to go back to the simplicity of the gospel.”

Spiritual food

Many Christians according to Adefarasin are being fed with the wrong spiritual diet. “the messages on our pulpits have to change. We hardly hear messages about holiness, purity, and righteousness again. This has to change.”

He made a strong case for the regulation of the church.  He said the Company and Allied Matters Act has enough provisions to regulate the church. But they are not being enforced. We have enough laws to be able to practice our faith transparently. It is just we need to comply with the laws. As long as the laws are not being enforced, we will keep having pastors who put church money in the boots of their cars.”

While noting that PFN is a grassroots organization, he said, “Money was a big issue when I was asked to be the chairman of the fellowship many years ago. The first thing I did was to stop pastors from asking for money. I also made a law for all the members of the exco never to collect money from politicians to campaign for them. Anybody who flouted such law was removed.”

 

 

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