The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has commiserated with Nigerians over the death of Pa Benedict Odiase, composer of the nation’s current National Anthem.
In a condolence message, the NOA Director General, Mr. Mike Omeri described Pa Odiase as an icon of patriotism and nationalism who lived a fulfilled life in the service of his fatherland. He noted that the contribution of the late patriot to nation building by giving Nigeria one of her unique national symbols, the Nigeria National Anthem which he composed in May 1978, stands as an enduring legacy for which posterity will forever admire him.
In his words, “Nigeria has lost a patriot; a foremost nationalist; an epitome of loyalty to the fatherland. His selfless service to the nation in his days as a police officer saw him rise to the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police and Director of Music at the Nigeria Police Band before his retired meritoriously in 1992. It is saddening that such a reputable figure in Nigeria’s nationhood has been taken away from us at a moment when we need, more than ever before, to draw from his inspiration and render our various talents and abilities towards building a more virile Nigeria. Nigerians should, however, take solace in his monumental legacy and ensure that, just as he said in his composition of our National Anthem, the labour of our heroes past such as Pa Benedict Odiase shall never be in vain.
“As an Agency, his death is a big loss especially as he was billed to be part of the National Symbols Day celebration and the “Do the Right Thing: Remember Our Heroes Past” programmes of the Agency.
“Finally, we pray for the repose of his soul and for God Almighty to grant his family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.