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.
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.