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How Federal Government Spent N814bn On New National Anthem?

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President Bola Tinubu

RWGblog shared a post with the claim that the Federal Government of Nigeria spent N814 billion on the reverted national anthem.

 

 

Verdict: The claim is false. DUBAWA contacted the minister’s Special Adviser on Media, Bolaji Adeniyi, who said he never made such a statement. Also, a Google search did not bring any result of the minister making such a statement.

On May 29, 2024, in an event marking President Bola Tinubu’s first anniversary, the Federal Government of Nigeria changed the national anthem from “Arise O Compatriots” to the old “Nigeria We Hail Thee”. While a few applauded the president, many criticised his action, describing the sudden change as unnecessary to solving the economic hardship faced by Nigerians.

An X user, @nnaemekaekele, wondered why the government decided to make the change to an anthem used during the colonial era. He suggested composing a new one since the president felt it was the country’s main problem.

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A former Education Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, said she won’t sing the anthem.

Amid this, Resolution Wall, a blog known as RWGblog, shared a flyer on Instagram claiming that the federal government spent N814bn on changing the national anthem. According to the blog, Abubakar Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, disclosed this.

Affirming the sentiments of many who did not appreciate the change, the post spurred debates.

For instance, Bob David, who seemed to believe the claim, discouraged others who might have doubts.

He posted: “Una go dey here the talk say nah joke….While dem dun remove and share the money from Federation Account.”

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Displeased by the viral information, another Instagram user, Adedoyin Oyedun, questioned a Nigerian politician’s ability to siphon funds without prosecution.

Adedoyin wrote: “Bola Tinubu’s mandate will crash this country called Nigeria. How can all these Yahoo politicians be stealing our money koro koro eye?”

The claim appeared on Facebook and Twitter, generating more debates. Due to the sensitive nature of the claim and the personality involved, DUBAWA conducted this fact check to set the records straight.

Verification

We searched through recent posts on Mr Bagudu’s Facebook page but none showed where he made the statement. We also visited the Ministry of Budget’s social media handles but found nothing.

DUBAWA then contacted Bolaji Adebiyi, Special Assistant to the Minister on Media, who said the minister never made a statement concerning the reverted national anthem.

“We addressed that matter some time ago. The minister did not make any statement on the new national anthem at all. He is unaware that any budget was set aside for the new national anthem. The information is false,” Mr Adebiyi told DUBAWA on telephone and via WhatsApp.

Similarly, a news story published by The Cable quoted the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Lanre Issa-Onilu, stating that the agency did not receive any funds for the national anthem.

“The NOA is the custodian for national symbols, which include the constitution, the currency, the national anthem, the national pledge, the flag, the coat of arms and the seal of the president,” he said, adding that the federal government did not spend anything on the anthem.

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Further, a search on Google for “Federal government spends N814 billion on old national anthem” did not bring out any result.

Conclusion

Findings revealed that the statement did not come from Mr Bagudu, and the claim that Nigeria spent N814bn on the reversed national anthem is false.

This report is produced for the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame Karikari Fact-Checking Fellowship in partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in Nigeria.

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