Meaning And Definition Of Cultural And National Identity: And Factors That Militates Against The Achievement Of Nigeria National Identity

Table Of Contents

  • Cultural And National Identity
  • Factors That Militate Against The Achievement Of Nigeria National Identity

Cultural And National Identity

The word identity simply entails sameness or exactness. For instance when new born twins are seen as identical, it means that they look alike or maintain greatly similar traits. With respect to our country Nigeria, the concept identity has to be critically looked at from both the cultural and national perspectives.

Culturally, Nigeria is seen as a diverse country with diverse culture. Irrespective of these diversities in cultural inclination; there is every level of consciousness by all Nigerians about the fact that there are about three hundred and fifty (350) ethnic groups and over four hundred (400) different languages and about one thousand (1000) dialects in the country. Also, Nigerian is known and accepted as the most populous country in Africa and over 200 (100) million people.

The cultural similarities and relevativism in Nigeria make us enjoy much cultural identity. Apart from the wholistic approach, the distinctive cultural identity of different ethnic groups in the country does not in any way put to an end cultural universality. Notwithstanding our diversities, we as a people in a united nation still share and appreciate certain cultural elements in common. This is why the issue of cultural identity is very much relevant in the study of the Nigerian people.

Nationally, Nigeria has some known characteristics which distinguish her from other nations. Before delving much on this, it is pertinent to note that the country Nigeria came into being as a result of British incursion in the Niger area of Africa. What is today known and called Nigeria was before 1914 made up of independent communities, empires, groups, kingdoms and different people. Nigeria was colonized by the British for more than a century starting from the time John Beecroft was appointed the British consul for Bights of Benin and Biafra in 1849 till 1960 when she got her independence.

Nigeria cannot be reasonably described as a nation without national identity. This is premise on the fact that certain national traits cum features always bring us together. These includes:

– Geographical location
– National goal
– National flag
– National Anthem and National Pledge
– Nigerian Postal Stamps and Postal Orders
– Nigerian Currency
– Nigerian Constitution
– Police And Armed Forces Uniform
– Nigerian Passport
– Nigeria’s Coat of Arms
– Federal character/quota system principle
– Nigeria’s cultural comunalities
– Nigeria National entity
– Nigeria National Sports Squad or Team
– National Youth Service corps scheme
– Nigeria Political parties
– Nigeria National hero’s & heroines
– Nigeria Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC)
– Independence day celebration.

Factors That Militate Against The Achievement Of Nigeria National Identity

Irrespective of our common national heritage and identity, there are still some factors that hinder effective national identity. This is so considering the diversity of ethnic groups and the multiplicity of languages in the country. Most of these factors will be treated as follows:

1. Cultural Diversity

The difference in culture of various people of Nigeria greatly affect the unity and oneness of the people. People tend to cooperate and react more with their fellow of the same culture. Based on that, they do not have much trust on the people of different culture which in the long run lead to socio-cultural conflicts. It reduces unity and oneness which of course affect the entity called Nigeria.

2. Illiteracy

The high rate of mass illiteracy in the country is greatly affecting the integrity and oneness of the country. This is so as greater number of people in the country considering their eductional backwardness do not understand and believe on the need for national identity. They always have the erroneous impression that Nigeria is too large to be one country. This is because they do not see anything good in the unity of the country.

3. Ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism entails a type of prejudice which makes one believes, says or behaves in a way that one’s own culture is right and better than other culture. It refers to a tendency of a cultural group to regard its own culture as a standard for judging the goodness or badness of other cultures. This ethnic consciousness affects our unity. It detract us from harnessing our diversities for our national identity. It retards societal development.

4. Parochial Nature Of The Political Class

The politicians in no small measure have put Nigeria national unity in jeopardy. They are always tribalistic in their political campaign and electioneering. They do not campaign as people from the same nation. The issue of North-South dichotomy is always put in place. Political class always pay lip service in cohering cultural homogeneity and Nigeria’s national identity.

5. National Insecurity And Crisis

The climate of social instability greatly threathen the unity and existence of the country. It affects national identity. The inter-ethnic crises and even religious crises affect the oneness of the citizens. All these social problems and the zeal towards proffering the far-fetched solution still make us not to appreciate our national unity, oneness and identity.

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