Every nation in the global system is proud to have its national symbol or emblems as it is sometimes called, representing its customs and culture. These customs and cultures are frequently accompanied by distinguishing characteristics that set one state apart from others in the community of nations, and Nigeria is no exception. The most populated country in Africa, Nigeria, has symbols related to its unique heritage and history. A national symbol represents an entity that sees itself as a national community and expresses that to the outside world, including sovereign states, nations, and countries that are integrated into the federal government or considered nationalities despite having no political independence.
National symbols aim to bring people together by creating iconic, verbal, or visual representations of the national people, beliefs, and aspirations. These symbols are intended to be inclusive, represent all members of the national community, and are frequently embraced as a part of celebrations of patriotism or aspirational nationalism.
The importance of national symbols in Nigeria
It is impossible to overemphasize the significance of national symbols in Nigeria. In Nigeria, a national symbol is a representation that represents a nation to the outside world. The people of Nigeria commemorate and promote their national emblems. Let us examine Nigeria’s national emblems and their significance.
1. Encourage national unity
Humans are social creatures, as is widely known. We frequently associate with and join various groups. You will connect with someone more efficiently, for instance, if you discover that you have hobbies, such as liking the same type of beer or rooting for the same football team. National symbols fall under the same category. They bind the citizens of a specific country together and make them more loyal to their homeland.
2. Emphasize a country’s history and culture
We may discover a lot about a nation’s history and culture by studying its national symbols.
The emblems of a country convey to the outside world what is important to that nation and what they take pride in.
The national emblems are crucial in keeping a nation together and inspiring its citizens to fight for a common cause if it is going through a difficult moment, like a freedom struggle. With this motivation, people may coordinate their efforts and accomplish amazing things as a team. In Nigeria, national identifiers are symbols.
5. Remind us of our history
These national emblems serve mainly as a reminder of significant historical occasions for a particular nation. Some of these national emblems, on the other hand, have nothing to do with history, but they do have some significance and stand for things like freedom, unity, and independence, among other things.
The Nigerian flag, coat of arms, currency, etc., are some national symbols in Nigeria. Nigerian Airways, stadiums, and other structures serve as non-national emblems. To ensure they are treated with the utmost care, these Nigerian national symbols and their significance are taught in the country’s educational system.
11 Nigerian National Symbols, Historical Backgrounds and Meanings
1. Nigeria’s national flag
A national flag is a piece of fabric that displays the colors or patterns of a country. Information relating to a nation’s struggle is expressed through its flag. Nigeria reclaimed independence from Great Britain in 1960, adopting a green, white, and green flag as her new national symbol. Nigerian student Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi, who attended Norwood Technical College in London, created the Nigerian National Flag in 1959. Green, White, and Green are divided equally into three equal sections on the rectangular flag.
The color green symbolizes Nigeria’s abundance of rich land and agricultural resources. The colour white represents the nation’s peace and harmony. A symbol of national identity is the Nigerian flag. The Nigerian people are instilled with a sense of patriotism and loyalty.
The flag is flown in front of public structures such as the government residence, national stadium, government vehicles, international conferences, the National Assembly and House of Assembly, embassies, the headquarters of ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN, the Common Wealth of Nations, etc.
The national flag is used to convey the country’s state throughout peaceful and tense periods. The flag is flown half-mast when a major political crisis or natural calamity occurs.
In the event of tragedy occurring to the country or a friendly nation, it may also be used to denote the sentiment of sympathy or sadness among a nation.
Nigerians, in particular the youth who did not see the departure of the “disciplined white men,” should be made to understand the need to honor national symbols like the Nigerian flag, even when the culture of doing so has not yet been learned.
Respect for one’s dignity is demonstrated by respect for the flag and other national symbols. It is irresponsible to consider leaving Nigeria for the United States or other developed nations where life is better.
2. The Nigerian coat of arms
The Nigerian Coat of Arms: The Nigerian coat of arms is a crucial national emblem. A shield with a coat of arms is decorated with images. The Nigerian coat of arms features an eagle perched atop a wreath painted in the country’s flag colors. A black shield supports the eagles and wreaths. The shield colour represents the land’s favourable characteristics in terms of agricultural and mineral resources. The two main rivers of Nigeria, the Niger and the Benue are symbolized by the Y-shaped silver-colored wavy band in the center of the shield. The foundation of the shield is made of coctus spectabilis, a wildflower that grows, and the two charger horses that support it on the left and right stand for strength and dignity.
The Nigeria motto, “unity and faith, peace and growth,” is written at the bottom of the coat of arms. The images and patterns on the coat of arms are pretty important. The eagle represents Nigeria’s might and pride. The charger horses stand for Nigeria’s strength and dignity, and the silver bands represent the Niger and Benue rivers, two of the country’s key rivers.
The backdrop flower is a representation of the vibrant flowers that are seen throughout Nigeria. You may see the coat of arms on Nigerian money, official papers, offices, and public buildings.
Presidents, state governors, and senior military personnel frequently wear it as part of their ceremonial attire. The Nigeria coat of arms serves several purposes, including fostering a sense of national cohesion, dignity, and majesty.
3. National anthem
A national anthem is a song of adoration, loyalty, or patriotism intended to reawaken a nation’s aspiration. Ben Odiase wrote the lyrics to the Nigerian National Anthem in 1978.
Arise, O’ Compatriot, Nigeria’s call obey,
To serve our fatherland With love and strength and faith,
The labour of our heroes past shall never be in vain,
To serve with heart and might, one nation bound in freedom, peace and unity.
Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause,
Guide our leader’s rights; help our youth the truth to know,
In love and honesty to grow, and living just and true,
Great lofty heights attain, to build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.
The obvious question to ask is whether we consider ourselves to be citizens of the same country. What makes you think you belong to the Igbo, Benin, Yoruba, or Ijaw nations? Do we consider one another to be brothers and sisters in Nigeria? Do we serve our fatherland, or do we use it for our self-interests without thinking about the needs of future generations?
4. The National pledge
I pledge to Nigeria, my country,
To be faithful, loyal and honest,
To serve Nigeria with all my strength,
To defend her unity,
And uphold her honour and glory
So help me, God
A pledge is a serious commitment by a public official or civilian to uphold the law and safeguard the peace. A pledge must be kept by the person who makes it. Most of our elected officials and leaders take an oath of office promising to follow the law of the land and the regulations and administrative processes. They must conduct themselves with faithfulness, loyalty, and honesty.
However, none of these political office holders was held accountable for violating their oath after they plundered our coffers and corrupted the system. Political office holders are expected to defend Nigeria’s unity, uphold her honor and glory, and serve Nigeria with all their might.
Looking at past and present leaders, you will see that they didn’t keep their word to Nigeria. For the sake of the next generation’s safety, it will be beneficial that we adhere to our regulations.
5. The Naira(Nigerian Currency)
Every nation’s official currency serves as a national emblem. Nigeria has its own Naira, just as Morocco can boast of Riyadh, the Benin Republic can boast of its Franc, and Ghana can boast of its Cedis. Since 1973, the naira has served as Nigeria’s recognized legal money. It is utilized in routine domestic transactions. Symbols and meanings in Nigeria
The sole authorized Naira issuer is the Central Bank of Nigeria. The images of Nigerian heroes are inscribed on several denominations of the Naira (#5, #10, #20, #50, #100, #200, #500, and #1000). The #50 notes, in particular, signify harmony in contrast. The #50 note accurately represented the presence of several tribes and cultures.
6. The Nigerian military (Armed Forces)
The Federal Republic of Nigeria’s Armed Forces, which include the Army, Navy, and Air Force, are in response to protecting the nation’s territorial integrity. The armed forces are a unique representation of our country’s togetherness. They have participated in numerous peacekeeping missions, fighting for the future of the Nigerian state, Africa, and the entire world, earning them acclaim on a global scale.
The Nigerian military forces stand in for Nigeria abroad. The same can be stated for other nations. They are distinguished from other military forces worldwide by their distinctive service dress.
7. Flower of the nation
A national flower is one of Nigeria’s symbols, yet most citizens are unaware of this. A gorgeous flower by the name of Costus spectabilis serves as the country’s emblem.
Africa is home to this flower, which grows wild. The Costus spectabilis has been reported to come in over a hundred different variations. However, most Nigerians have criticized the red flower painting on the coat of arms, although the blossom has yellow petals. Beginning in 1978, the national flower has served as a recognized symbol of authority.
8. The Presidential Seal
The Federal Republic of Nigeria’s President’s Seal serves as his official emblem. It was initially employed in 1979 by President Shehu Shagari in the disastrous second republic and abandoned by the succeeding military administrations from 1983 through 1999. Following the fourth republic in 1999, the presidential seal was reinstated and has been used since.
9. National arts theatre
This is one of the important national symbols of Nigeria in Nigeria. The National Arts Theatre serves as Nigeria’s central hub for the performing arts. Iganmu, Surulere, Lagos is where the monument is situated. To be ready for the 1977 Festival of Arts and Culture, the structure was completed in 1976. (FESTAC). A portion of this structure houses the National Gallery of Modern Nigerian Art collection. Nigerian flags and symbols
Its exterior has a military hat-like shape. It comprises two theatres with a combined capacity of 5,000 seats each, a 5,000-seat Main Hall with a collapsible stage, and other features, including simultaneous translation technology for eight languages in each hall.
10. Nigerian President
One of Nigeria’s well-known national emblems is the President. The image of the Nigerian president may not come to mind when you think of national emblems. Yet, right now, it’s difficult to imagine a state official’s office without a framed portrait of President Buhari hanging on the wall.
11. The Nigerian national animal
The eagle is Nigeria’s recognized national animal. The eagle is not considered the national animal of Nigeria for any particular reason. Yet, the most significant explanation may be that the eagle stands for strength. Additionally, the sole reason that eagles are the nation’s emblem is due to their enormous number in Nigeria. The eagle atop the wreath with white and green bands, which can be seen prominently on the Nigerian Coat of Arms, represents Nigeria’s pride.
In conclusion, even though there is a growth in globalization and we travel and contact people from different countries and cultures, our national emblems are a constant reminder of our origins. It is essential to recognize the role of national symbols in defining our identity as new nations, such as South Sudan, continue to win independence.