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NATIONAL SYMBOLS AND IDENTITY
A national symbol is a symbol of any entity considering itself and manifesting itself to the world as a national community: the sovereign states but also nations and countries in a state of colonial or other dependence, (con)federal integration, or even an ethno-cultural community considered a ‘nationality’ despite having no political autonomy.
Every country and nationality in the world has its unique national symbols. They help describe the ideals of the country and represent its culture, traditions and beliefs. One can learn some interesting facts about a nation from its emblems. Nigeria also has a lot to tell with its national symbols. National symbols intend to unite people by creating visual, verbal, or iconic representations of the national people, values, goals, or history.
These symbols are often rallied around as part of celebrations of patriotism or aspiring nationalism (such as independence, autonomy or separation movements) and are designed to be inclusive and representative of all the people of the national community
National identity means the symbols, beliefs, culture, and heritage for which the country is known and identified with.
Examples of National Identity Symbols
There are various examples of national identity and symbols in Nigeria. These include:
- The National Flag: The Nigerian Flag is one of the central Nigerian national symbols that represent the country. The Nigerian flag was designed by Mr Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi during a National Flag Design competition in 1959 and was officially hoisted on October 1, 1960 being Nigeria’s Independence Day. The flag is a horizontal bi-colour of green and white. The two green stripes on the Nigerian flag represent Nigeria’s agricultural wealth, while the white strip on the Flag represents peace and the collective national wealth and prosperity of the country.
- The National Coat of Arms: The Nigerian coat of arms was officially adopted in May 1960. Every item found on the coat of arms has a special meaning in Nigeria’s history. It has a black shield with two white lines that form in a “Y” shape. The black shield represents Nigeria’s fertile soil, while the two horses or chargers on each side represent dignity. The eagle represents strength, while the green and white bands on the top of the shield represent the rich soil. The coat of Arms carries the Nigerian motto “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”
- The National Anthem: The Nigerian national anthem takes into cognisance the account of our historical past as well as the aims and aspirations for the coming generation. The beautiful thing about the Nigerian national anthem is the bond it has on all Nigerians both home and abroad. It is a clarion call to serve our fatherland with love and strength and faith. The current Nigerian National anthem “Arise O’ Compatriot” was adopted in 1978. It replaced the former National Anthem (Nigeria, We Hail Thee).
- The National Pledge: The Nigerian National pledge is an oath of allegiance of support of the country. Often times, it is recited after the National anthem. The National pledge was drafted by a Nigerian Professor, Prof (Mrs) Felicia Adebola in 1976 and in September 1976, General Olusegun Obasanjo decreed that all schools children should recite the national pledge on daily basis.
- The National Currency: The Nigerian currency which is the Naira is a national symbol. It is the legal tender of the country. The naira is Nigeria’s official legal tender since 1973. It is used in day to day transaction within the country. The Central Bank of Nigeria is the only authorized issuer of the Naira. On different denominations of the Nigerian Naira (#5, #10, #20, #50, #100, #200, #500 and #1000) .
- The Constitution of Nigeria: The Constitution of Nigeria is the supreme law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is the rules and regulations that binds every citizen of Nigeria together. It is also a national symbol. The current constitution was enacted on 29 May 1999, inaugurating the Nigerian Fourth Republic.
- Name at least three national symbols and describe them and state their importance.
- What are National Symbols?