Abuja - President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday commiserated with the family, colleagues, associates and friends of the composer of Nigeria’s National Anthem, Pa Benedict Odiase, who passed away on Tuesday.
This is contained in a statement issued in Abuja by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati.
"President Jonathan believes that the late police officer, who was the Director of the Nigerian Police Band until he retired in 1992, will always be remembered and honoured whenever the National Anthem which captures the vision of Nigeria as a great nation is played.
"As he is mourned, the President urges Pa Odiase’s family, former colleagues in the police and friends across the country to be consoled by the knowledge that the late police officer lived an exemplary life.
"In passing on, he bequeathed an indelible legacy to the nation which will continue to inspire present and future generations of Nigerians to greater heights of accomplishment,’’ Abati said.
He said that the president prayed for the peaceful repose of Pa Odiase’s soul.
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) also commiserated with Nigerians over the death of Pa Benedict Odiase.
Mike Omeri, Director-General of NOA sent the condolences in a message issued in Abuja.
In the message, Omeri described Pa Odiase, who died in Benin on Tuesday night, 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 its unique national symbols was unequal.
Omeri said that the Nigeria National Anthem, which Odiase composed in May 1978, stood as an enduring legacy for which posterity would forever admire him.
Omeri said, "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 Deputy Commissioner of Police and Director of Music at the Nigeria Police Band before he retired meritoriously in 1992.’’
He said that it was sad that such a reputable figure in Nigeria’s nationhood was taken away from the people at a moment when they needed him more to draw from his inspiration.
Omeri said that Odiase took his exit when it was expedient to render various talents and abilities toward building a more virile Nigeria.
He urged Nigerians to take solace in his monumental legacy.
He also urged them to ensure that what he said in his composition of "our National Anthem the labour of our heroes’ past such as Pa Benedict Odiase’s, shall never be in vain.’’
"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.
"We pray for the repose of his soul and for God Almighty to grant his family the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss,’’ the D-G said.