“How could many of us just hear about this great unsung heroine after her death on May 1? Why did many of Nigerian newspapers not consider news of her death and life for a front page mention? Unlike what we do for money bags and politicians,we do not always appreciate our best when they are alive, why should we also deny them that honour when they are no more?”
Author of Nigeria’s National Pledge, Prof. Felicia Adebola Adedoyin, a Princess of sleepy town of Saki, Oyo state, Southwest Nigeria, died at 83. Platforms Africa reports that she died on May 1st. 2021 after a brief illness.
Some young Nigerians have however queried reasons Nigerian Government doesn’t recognise and accord deserving honour to those who genuinely contributed to the country’s success like it does to its political class.
Late Prof Felicia Adedoyin was known for authouring the Nigerian national pledge in 1976.
The annoyance of most people on social media, mostly twitter was that her death didn’t make headlines and was void of national honor and recognition.
“How could many of us just hear about this great unsung heroine after her death on May 1? Why did many of Nigerian newspapers not consider news of her death and life for a front page mention? Why should politicians be honoured and respected above some of these great contributors to the Nigerian project?” Badmus Suleiman, said on Twitter.
“This is one of the reasons many will not lay down their lives for this country. We do not always appreciate our best when they are alive, why should we also deny them that honour when they are no more?” Elizabeth Amoye, added.
However, in his tribute to the late renowned professor of education and composer of the national pledge, President Muhammadu Buhari, said her patriotic fervour will be remembered anytime the national pledge is recited. Buhari said that that the thoughtful and solemn words of the National Pledge by the iconic composer, have become an invocation to every citizen of the country, ‘to serve our fatherland with faithfulness, loyalty and honesty.’
The President in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity Femi Adesina, said that Nigerians will continue to honour the memory of the legend who in 33 words, gave a timeless promise to keep for the nation.
Buhari also commiserated with the family, friends and associates of Adedoyin, as well as the government and people of Oyo State, on the passing of the academic and writer, whose immense work, he said will remain indelible in peoples’ minds. He prayed the Almighty God, to grant the departed eternal rest.
Prof. Adedoyin, who lectured at the University of Lagos and was a consultant with the United Nations, wrote the National Pledge in 1976.
She was said to be in the care of her children when she passed away, and was surrounded by loved ones.
The late Prof. was said to be inspired to write the pledge following questions by her children who had been used to reciting the Oath of Allegiance while in school in New York, and the State Pledge in Achimota School, Ghana.
Prof. Adedoyin published the Pledge in the Daily Times in July 15, 1976, in an article titled “Loyalty to the Nation, Pledge’”.
It was shown to the then Head of State, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, who modified it and introduced it to the country during the formal launch of the Universal Free Primary Education (UPE) and decreed that all school children recited the National Pledge during assembly. In 2005, Prof Adedoyin was given a national award, the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON).
The National Orientation Agency has called on young Nigerians to emulate the selflessness, tenacity and patriotism of late Prof. Felicia Adebola Adeyoyin who wrote the Nigerian National Pledge in 1976.
In a message of condolence to Nigerians and her family, the agency’s Director General, Dr. Garba Abari described the late prof. as a very unassuming person despite bequeathing the nation with one of its much respected national symbols – the National Pledge.
He said Adeyoyin, because of her drive for continuous distinction, was not complacent with authoring the National Pledge but went on to the peak of her chosen career to become a professor, admonishing Nigerian youths to emulate her tenacity.
Abari described the late Adeyoyin as deserving of honour and respect by all Nigerians, even in death.
He prayed for her eternal repose and for divine consolation of her family and the nation at large.
The National Pledge is one of the country’s rallying messages which seek to commit its citizens to a life time of patriotism, love and service to the fatherland.
The National Orientation Agency has adopted it as National Prayer and advocated for its use in all public functions.
The NOA Director General lamented that Prof. Adeyoyin’s departure came at a time when her inputs as a national icon of inspiration, especially for the girl child, was most needed.
He however urged her family and all Nigerians to take solace in the fact that she has left her footprints in upholding the honour and glory of her fatherland.