Saturday, 24 December 2016

"I PLEDGE TO NIGERIA MY COUNTRY" FACTS ABOUT NIGERIA'S PLEDGE

The Nigerian National Pledge was conceived and written by Prof (Mrs.) Felicia Adebola Adeyoyin in 1976. Felicia was born on November 6, 1938. The 2nd of 6 children, of evangelist Robert Olabisi Awujoola a.k.a. 'Teacher Love' and Deaconess Juliana Adebisi Awujoola (nee Otunla) from the Iji ruling house of Shaki in Shaki West LG, Oke Ogun area of Oyo State. She is the granddaughter of Oba Alayeluwa, Okere Okunoye, Atere I, the 10th Okere of Shaki, who reigned between 1867-1873. She got married to Mr. Solomon Adedeji Adeyoyin, an indigene of Ire, Osun State.

EDUCATION AND CAREER

She attended Baptist Girls’ School and Women's College, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, 1953-57; North West Polytechnic, London, 1961-64; B.A. Honours in Geography in 1968 from the Birkbeck College of the prestigious, London University, London, a Diploma in Education in 1976 from the same institution, M.A. Cum Laude in Teaching of Social Studies University, Columbia University, New York 1977 and a Ph.D. in 1981 from the Faculty of Education, University of Lagos. She was appointed Professor of Education in 1992 by the University of Lagos. She was also a University external examiner in Nigeria and Botswana.

An old photo of Prof(Mrs.) Felicia Adedoyin


HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

In December 2005, she was conferred with the National Honour of MON by President Olusegun Obasanjo. She is blessed with 4 children: Adedayo Adeyoyin, Adebola Ogunremi, Adedeji Adeyoyin, and Oluseyi Korede.  In one of her interviews, she noted that her children were the motivation behind writing the pledge. Her children were already acquainted with reciting the Oath of Allegiance in their school in New York, USA and also the State Pledge in Achimotu School in Accra, Ghana, when they relocated to Ghana. They kids wondered why there was no pledge in Nigeria and asked their mother, that motivated her to script up her idea of a pledge for Nigeria in June 1976, it was published in the Daily Times of July 15, 1976 under the title: "Loyalty to the Nation, I Pledge". This is the original version of her pledge:

"I pledge allegiance to Nigeria my fatherland. 
To foster the spirit of true brotherhood. 
To live in harmony with all as One people under God's own banner 
I promise to treasure 
Our freedom and cultural heritage 
Won, and preserved, by our faithful fathers 
I promise to uphold and defend all that is worthwhile in building 
A united Nigeria 
So help me God this day to live 
True to these high ideals. 

After the publication Barrister Adewusi, a mutual friend of the Adeyoyin's and Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, after reading  the Daily Times article, took a copy to the Head of State General Obasanjo in August 1976.The Head of State, accepted the work and modified it to its present form:


"I pledge to Nigeria my country 
To be faithful, loyal and honest 
To serve Nigeria with all my strength. 
To defend her unity 
To uphold her honour and glory 
So help me God."

In September 1976, The Head of State decreed that all school children should recite the Pledge in their morning assemblies daily. Gen. Obasanjo in his book "Not My Will" page  118, wrote:

"As part of our drive at inculcating in our citizens the need to for national self pride we changed the lyrics and rhythm of the national anthem. Our aim was to indigenous the anthem both in terms of lyrics, rhythm and time to emphasize the positive aspect of the Nigerian Nation and to challenge the youths who are the future leaders. In addition we also introduced a national pledge. The idea of the pledge was actually suggested by Dr. (Mrs) Felicia A. Adeyoyin whose husband, Solomon Adeyoyin was a onetime classmate of mine. She wrote a letter to me and attached a draft of the pledge to the letter. She was informed by her experience in the United States of America. The suggestion was timely for the launching of the universal primary education UPE . I re-wrote the pledge by touching it up and forwarded it to the ministry of Education"

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