Meaning Of National Identity
This is a state of being closely involved with ones nation, it is a concept used to associate a person with his nation or country.
Every nation desire to build an efficient and dynamic modern state with a distinctive identity. When this is done, an individual citizen becomes very proud to associate or identify himself with the state. National identity is seen as a nationalistic feeling of love for ones own nation and ready to work towards the development of the nation and even to pay the supreme sacrifice for the security of the nation if the need arise.
A patriotic citizen is one who identifies himself with the values of his nation and promotes the image of his nation locally and internationally by his works and conduct.
The Citizen Can Exhibit National Identity In Many Ways, Which Include:
1. Leadership By Example
This involves selfless service to the nation by being an honest and dependable leader who ensures good governance and upholds the rules in the game of politics. Leaders like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania had the love for their country. They were seen to be firm, just, and resourceful and contributed immensely towards their nation building.
2. Service To The Nation
A person that identifies strongly with his nation will represent his nation well in diplomatic service, international competitions like sports and football game and be highly devoted to his duty, work with pride, maintain dignity of labour and contribute towards political, economic and social development of his nation.
Infact, he would serve the nation well by placing national interest first before personal interest.
3. Discharge Of Civic Responsibility
National identity is evidenced when a citizen discharges his civic responsibility like payment of taxes and rates, being law abiding and having respect for constituted authorities.
4. Maintenance Of Peace And Unity
A person who identifies himself properly with his state will always maintain peace, order and unity within the community where he lives.
Need For National Identity
1. National Cohesion
When one identifies with his nation, it means that he loves his country and his people and will not like to involve himself in any act or omission that will threaten the unity and corporate existence of his nation.
2. Social Regulation
By identifying with the nation, citizens become law abiding and avoid any act or omission that is capable of breaching the public peace and order.
3. Defence And Security
The internal cohesion arising from national identity will make the people come together and form a formidable force against external aggression.
4. It will enhance good governance. This is because people will support and give encouragement to their leaders and in turn the leaders will be propelled to discharge their obligation to the citizens like provision of social amenities.
The will also be compelled by conscience to rule according to the law and have respect for the fundamental rights of the citizen.
5. It encourages development because mass mobilization of the people to carry out development projects will be easy.
6. It enhances mass participation of the citizen in policies, which strengthens the democratic process.
Ways Of Preserving National Identity
National identity can be preserved through the following ways:
1. Good Governance
A genuine democratic government that takes care of the welfare of the citizens will make the citizen to say, “This is our country” and hence, preserve their national identity. Example is the United States Citizens.
2. Security Of Lives And Property
Where there is adequate security of lives and property, people will identify with the nation and hold the leadership of that nation to a high esteem, but where there is political assassinations and killings here and there, looting of public funds, excessive armed robbery cases due to hunger and unemployment, religious riot, students unrest, civil disturbances and violence like in Nigeria, preservation of national identity becomes a difficult task as some people will not like to identity with that nation.
This is one of the causes of Brain Drain problem in Nigeria where the best talents in sports and football, medical profession, engineering, science and technology have migrated to America, Europe and Asia continents and acquired their citizenship after the renunciation of Nigerian citizenship and national identity.
When a nation is politically, economically, socially and culturally developed, there will be the greatest happiness of the greatest number and national identity will be preserved.
4. Discipline In National Life
Discipline in national life will preserve national identity because, discipline in the society forms the foundation of peace, harmony and progress of a people. A disciplined society provides the correct atmosphere for development and prosperity.
Disciplined society finds it easy to obey rules and regulations without the use of force.