The Association of Legislative Drafting and Advocacy Practitioners (ALDRAP) has announced plans to file a lawsuit against Tinubu, alleging that the enactment of the National Anthem Act, 2024, failed to comply with necessary constitutional requirements.

President Bola Tinubu’s decision to reintroduce the old national anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” is facing legal scrutiny as a civil society organization prepares to challenge the move in court, citing potential constitutional violations.

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At the crux of ALDRAP’s argument is the claim that the legislation was passed without adhering to due process, specifically the lack of public consultations and hearings mandated by Section 60 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution.

Planned lawsuit against President Tinubu over the reintroduction of the old national anthem

“No public hearing was held before the said legislation was enacted as required under Section 60 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution,” stated Tonye Jaja, ALDRAP’s secretary. “Members of the public were not invited to make their contributions, as was done when the other national anthem was enacted in the year 1978.”

ALDRAP contends that the costs associated with implementing the new national anthem were not captured in the 2024 federal budget, raising questions about the legality of the expenditures involved.

The civil society organization further alleges that the bill was not properly transmitted from the president to the leadership of the National Assembly, a procedural lapse that could potentially undermine its legality.

“The expenditures associated with the National Anthem Act, 2024 (which was done on May 29, 2024, and on other dates) are not captured in the Budget of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Act, 2024 (as can be attested to by the accountant-general of the federation), and therefore the said National Anthem Act, 2024, should be declared illegal,” the statement reads.

The planned lawsuit, to be filed before a federal high court, seeks to have the National Anthem Act declared unconstitutional and potentially nullify Tinubu’s decision to revert to the old anthem.

ALDRAP argues that the financial burden of updating official documents, allocating man-hours, and other related expenses would place an undue burden on ordinary citizens without a corresponding increase in income.

Aside from the president, ALDRAP plans to name the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives as respondents in the case, underscoring the broad implications of the legal challenge.

As the legal battle looms, attention will inevitably turn to the courts to determine the constitutionality of Tinubu’s actions and the fate of the nation’s symbolic anthem.

The reintroduction of the old national anthem, “Nigeria, We Hail Thee,” has generated mixed reactions from Nigerians, with some stakeholders criticizing the lack of public consultation and transparency in the decision-making process.

Ultimately, the outcome of this legal challenge could have far-reaching consequences, shaping not only the nation’s symbolic identity but also setting precedents for the legislative process and the bounds of executive power in matters of national significance.

Supporters of the move argue that the old anthem represents a nostalgic link to Nigeria’s past and carries a deeper emotional resonance for many citizens. Critics, however, contend that the decision was hastily executed without due regard for public input and fiscal implications.