Director of music and composer of Nigeria’s National Anthem, Pa Benedict Elise Odiase died in his sleep at his Oregun home in Lagos, early Wednesday morning.
He composed the national anthem in May 1978 during his service as the director of music of the Nigerian Police band. He however, retired in 1992 as a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The words were put to music by the Nigerian Police Band under his directorship, with the lyrics done by John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sota Omoigui and P.O. Aderibigbe.
His words in a recent interview read: “I composed the music titled “Arise O Compatriots” in May 1978. The words (lyrics) were made available by officials of the Federal Ministry of Information in an open competition. It was an open competition, but apart from being an open competition, composers were guided that the music must not be more than two stanzas; that explains why the National Anthem has only two stanzas.”