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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has condemned the adoption of Oduduwa anthem in public secondary schools in Ondo State, describing it as a serious assault on the integrity of Nigeria.
According to a May 6 circular signed by the Permanent Secretary of the State Teaching Service Commission, Tolu Adeyemi and addressed to the Tutors-General, and principals of public secondary schools in the state, the Ondo State government had made it mandatory for students in public schools to recite the Oduduwa anthem in all functions in public secondary schools across the state.
“The present administration of Arakunrin Okuwarotimi Akeredolu has adopted Oduduwa anthem as part of the civic responsibility of all residents in the state.
“To this end, the singing of the Oduduwa anthem has become mandatory at all functions, in all public secondary schools in the state.
“Therefore, all school principals and other top functionaries in the public secondary schools are enjoined to adopt, teach and encourage the singing of Oduduwa anthem at all functions, especially at the morning assembly in all schools,” the circular had read.
But reacting in a statement by the NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the northern group faulted the move and said it had the capacity to further divide the country.
“If this is true, it represents a very serious assault on the integrity of the country by people who have sworn to uphold and protect it.
“There’s only one anthem our children should sing and recognize. If there are other symbols with cultural significance they should be made to identify with, it should not be elevated to the level of a national anthem, or even supersede it.
The NEF further charged the Federal Government to protect the integrity of the country by challenging the directive in court.
“It the federal government is on its toes protecting the boundaries of our unity and national integrity, it would challenge this in court.
“It would also raise its levels of vigilance over the drift by politicians enjoying the benefits of our constitution who are pandering to very dangerous divisive tendencies.”
NewsWireNGR recalls that in February, the Ondo State Executive Council had approved the adoption of the Oodua Indigenous Anthem which projects the tradition and culture of the Yoruba nation.