National symbols are simply those symbols that represent a country or nation. It represent the people, values, way of life etc.
The national symbols are:
1. The National Flag
The Nigerian flag, which came into existence in October 1, 1960, signified the independence of Nigeria and replaced th British Flag known as the “Union Jack”.
The Nigerian Flag consists of two colours: green and white. The green colour of the Flag stands for the vast agricultural wealth of the country. The white colour represents peace and unity of the entire country.
The flag must be kept flying, however, there are few occasion it could be laid horizontally, Example; it could be laid horizontally over a coffin for a dead person who is a citizen of Nigeria but government’s approval is required for such use of the flag. There are days when the National flag is flown at half-mast, such as on Remembrance Day of the fallen Heroes, funeral occasion of a distinguished personality or a national tragedy.
2. The Coat Of Arms
The Coat of arms is an emblem, which represents the unity of Nigeria as one united nation that cannot be divided.
It is made up of the following:
1. A black shield, which stands for the good and fertile soil of the Country.
2. An eagle that symbolizes the strength of a United Nigeria nation.
3. Two white horses, representing the dignity and pride of the country.
4. The wavy silver bands which stand for the two major rivers in the Country (River Niger and Benue).
5. The flowers, which represent the beauty of Nigeria.
6. The National Motto of Unity and faith, peace and progress.
3. The National Anthem
Nigeria has had two national anthems since independence; a British lady composed the first national anthem. The title of the anthem was “Nigeria We Hail Thee”. It was used until 1977 when it was replace by a new one titled “Arise, O Compatriots” written by a Nigerian to reflect our self determination and freedom from all colonial influence. The new national anthem calls on all Nigerians to rise up and contribute their own share to the development of the Country (a call to brighten the corner where you are).
The new national anthem also expects Nigerians to emulate Nigerian heroes who had done a lot for the Country in the past. It also prats to God for national direction and guidance.
4. The Pledges
This is a promise of every Nigerian citizen to our father land. The pledge was introduced by the Murtala/Obasanjo regime in 1975. It reminds all Nigerians of our duty to the nation.
5. Other symbols of national identity include, the national identity cards issued recently to every Nigeria citizen for easy identification, the Nigeria passport for international travels which helps to identity a Nigerian citizen abroad, the Nigeria currency of Naira and kobo which is different from any other currency in the world and the constitution which can identify us as a state governed by the rules and regulations, the Nigerian stamper among others.
The Role Of National Symbols
1. To show case to the world, our existence and identity as a sovereign nation with right of self-determination.
2. To sustain peace and unity of the entire nation as one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign nation, dedicated to the promotion of inter-African solidarity, world peace, international co-operation and understanding.
3. To awake the spirit of patriotism and mass participation of the citizens in nation building.
4. To encourage the preservation of our environment and the prudent use of the abundant resources which nature has generously given to this nation.
5. To bring to focus the beauty, strength, dignity and pride of Nigeria as a nation.
6. To emphasize our uniqueness and social values like unity, faith, peace, progress, social justice and equality. A people with common goals and destiny (one nation, one destiny).
7. To encourage the citizens to exercise their civic responsibilities and guidance in national life.
8. To serve as a symbol of Authority for government agencies and functionaries and to command respect for constituted authority.