Importance of National Symbols in Nigeria

The national symbols in Nigeria are unique to our country, and therefore need to be respected by the people. This article will highlight the importance of national symbols in Nigeria.

Importance of National Symbols in Nigeria

The importance of national symbols in Nigeria will be addressed below:

  • Importance of the Coat of Arms

Also referred to as Armorial Bearings, the Coat of Arms is one of the national symbols of Nigeria, which represents the unity, authority, and power of the country. The Coat of Arms is depicted as an eagle that is hoisted on a black shield. The shield is divided into three by two silver wavy bands, shaped like a “Y”. Supporting the shield on either side are two white chargers or horses. Right at the base of the shield is a wreath of costus spectabilis (yellow trumpet) flower, cast in the national colours of green and white.

Each element that makes up the Nigerian Coat of Arm has got what it signifies. For the eagle which is mounted on the black shield, it symbolizes the strength of Nigeria. Moving forward, the two chargers or horses on both sides of the black shield signifies the dignity and pride of Nigeria.

The black shield on which the eagle is mounted symbolizes the fertility of the soil for agriculture while the ” Y” shaped silver bands represent River Niger and River Benue, and their confluence, which symbolize the main waterways that flow through parts of the country. The costus spectabilis, which is commonly known as the yellow trumpet, is a symbol of the beauty of Nigeria. The yellow trumpet is a common flower that can be found in most parts of Nigeria. Finally, “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” is inscribed on the base of the shield symbolizing the nation’s motion.

  • Importance of the National Flag

In 1959, Mr. Taiwo Akinwunmi contested for and won the opportunity to design what would become the national flag of Nigeria the year after, when Nigeria gained independence. On the day Nigeria gained independence, – October 1, 1960 – the national flag was officially launched. The Nigerian national flag is divided into three equal parts and is made up of two colours – black and white. The central part of the flag is white, which signifies peace and unity. And, peace and unity are essential elements for the national growth and stability of any country, in this case, Nigeria.

The outward parts of the Nigerian national flag are green in colour, which signifies vegetation. Hence, the green colour on the flag symbolizes the farmland and forest, which tells of Nigeria’s vast agricultural wealth.

  • Importance of the National Anthem

Before gaining independence from the British in 1960, it was the national anthem of the British that was used in festivals and official ceremonies. The contents of the pre-independence anthem paid reference to and prayed for the British Queen who was the original head of pre-independence Nigeria. Upon independence in 1960, Nigeria adopted a new anthem, which was written by a British woman. It read thus:

Nigeria we hail there

Our own dear native land

Though tribe and tongue may differ

Nigerians all are proud to serve


Our sovereign motherland

Our flag shall be a symbol

That truth and justice reign

In peace or battled honour

And this we count as gain

To hand unto our children

A banner without stain


O God of all creation

Grant this our one request

Help us to build a nation where no man is oppressed

And so with peace and plenty

Nigeria may be blessed

It wasn’t until 1977,  that the use of this anthem ceased. Then, it was decided a new anthem which was to be written by a Nigerian, be used as a replacement. A year later, in 1978, the new national anthem became the official national anthem of Nigeria. The anthem reads thus:

Arise O compatriots

Nigerians 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 mind

One nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity


O God of creation, direct our noble cause

Guide our leaders right

Help our youth the truth to know

In love and honesty grow

And living just and true

To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign


According to the first stanza of the national anthem, Nigerians are called to rise and serve the nation. In the second stanza, it is a prayer to God for guidance and direction.

The importance of the anthem is to inculcate in all Nigerians values such as service, freedom, love, nation-building, and justice. It is usually rendered in official ceremonies in which the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or a State Governor is in attendance.

As a sign of respect to the anthem, every Nigerian is to stop every movement and stand at attention whenever the anthem is on. It is not uncommon to hear the national anthem on radio and television stations at the start or close of their commercial programmes.

  • Importance of the National Pledge

As Nigerians, when we recite the national pledge, we are making a solemn promise to the country. It is meant to inculcate in Nigerians values such as faithfulness, loyalty, service, honesty, and other national ethics and norms. The national pledge is expected to be recited at schools, colleges, on important occasions, and the start and close of radio and television programmes. It reads thus:

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

  • Importance of the Mace

In the legislative arm of the Nigerian government structure, the mace is an authority symbol. It is a treasured stick of about three feet long, the mace which is made of gold and has the Coat of Arms etched on top of it. Without the mace, no plenary session or meeting can be held in either House of Representatives or the Senate. The Sargent-at-Arms bears custody of the mace.

  • Importance of the Official Seal of the President

The official seal of the President of Nigeria symbolizes the authority of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Press releases and other information from the office of the President of Nigeria must bear the seal to confirm it’s genuinely from the table of the President.

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