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7 Nigeria National Symbols and Meaning

Nigerian Flag, Coat of Arms, National Flower, Nigerian Anthem & Pledge, Armed Forces


Every nation has its national symbols which makes it unique and different from another. National symbols are used to identify a country, state or nation.

Also, there represent a country and its citizens, the national symbol of a person gives you a picture of the nationality of that person. Additionally, national symbols represent the historical background, culture, norms, values, tradition and ideology of a nation. You can know more about a country from its national symbols and emblems.

Just like other countries in the world, Nigeria has its own national symbols. Nigerian residents and Nigerians in diaspora identify some of the national symbols such as the Nigerian Flag, Nigeria Coat of Arm, The Nigerian Passport, The Nigerian Naira currency etc.

Do you know the meaning of the Nigerian symbols? In this article, we will explain the Nigerian national symbols and give you some interesting facts about it.

National Symbols | The Nigerian Flag

This is the primary symbol of the country, the Nigerian flag is symbolic because it represents the country and its citizens. The Nigerian flag represents everything about Nigeria especially in international events, sports tournaments and competitions. It also conveys the message that Nigeria is a sovereign nation.

The Nigerian Flag was designed in 1959 by a young student named Mr Taiwo Akinkunmi. The flag has two colours: Green and White, the Green colour stands vertically on both sides of the flag while the White colour stays in the middle.

The Green colour represents Nigeria’s rich natural resources and the country’s wealth while the White colour means Peace and Unity. The Nigerian flag was first raised and presented to the world on her Independence day, which is October 1st, 1960.

The Nigerian flag is raised higher than any other flag in Nigeria. During important events such as a presidential rally, memorial or burial of an important personality, the Nigerian flag is raised. For example, during the burial of the former Military Governor of the Eastern Region, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, the Nigerian flag was raised and placed on the coffin; he was given a national honour.

National Symbol | Nigerian National Anthem

The Nigerian National Anthem is another Nigerian national symbol you should know about. The Nigerian National Anthem unities all Nigerians and it is proof of Nigeria’s sovereignty. The former anthem of Nigeria ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was written and composed in 1960.

However, the Federal government decided to change the National anthem of the country. A competition was held to receive entries from singers and writers for a New Nigerian Anthem. The committee selected five winners and combined all their entries into one.

The current Nigerian National Anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots” was composed in 1978 during the regime of the then Military President, General Olusegun Obasanjo. It was composed and turned into a song by Mr Benedict .E. Odiase, who was the director of the Nigerian music band at that time.

The Nigerian Anthem is considered as a strong symbol of the country, it has two stanzas and is sang in schools, political gatherings, meetings, football matches, and contests.

National Symbol | The Nigerian Pledge

The Nigerian National Pledge is a solemn promise to be a good and law-abiding citizen of Nigeria. The Pledge is recited in all Nigerian primary and secondary schools immediately after the National Anthem is sung.

Professor Felicia Adebola wrote the Nigerian National Pledge in 1976, the pledge aims at teaching every Nigerian citizen to honour the country and serve it in the best way possible.

National Symbol | The Nigerian Coat of Arms

The Nigerian Coat of Arm is one of the core national symbols of Nigeria. A lot of Nigerians do not know the meanings of the symbols in the Coat of Arms.  Below are some of the features of Nigerian Coat of Arms:

Each symbol on the Nigerian Coat of Arm has a meaning. The Black shield and the colorful wreath on the top of the shield mean the fertile and rich soil of Nigeria.

The White Horses on both sides of the Shield stand for dignity. The Red Eagle means the strength of the nation. The White lines take a ‘Y’ shape on the shield represents two main rivers of Nigeria: River Niger and River Benue. These rivers meet at Lokoja, Kogi state.

The Costus Spectabilis or Yellow Trumpet is the national flower of Nigeria. The Costus Spectabilis is beneath the Black Shield, it stands for the beauty of Nigeria.

The country’s motto can also be found below the shield, it bears the inscription; “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”. It was adopted in 1978 with the aim to unite the country and make Nigeria grow stronger a country.

Other symbols that are used to identify Nigeria are her language, her currency, her passport, her National Identity card and more.

Many Nigerians do not know Nigeria’s national symbols and some do not have regards for them. It is essential that you respect the national symbols of the country and also be a good citizen.

National Symbol | National Flower

Have you heard about the National flower, many young Nigerians and even adults are yet to know about the Nigerian national flower, so if you’re also reading or knowing about it for the very first time, the National flower is part of Nigeria’s national symbol, it is the flower you can see as the foundation on the Coat of Arms representation.

The flower can be found in major parts of Africa and it’s called Costus Spectabilis which has more than 100 species of it.

This plant has yellow petals, while the red color seen on the version of the flower used on the coat of arms is painted red, which many Nigerians have opinionated about, but if the flower has more than 100 species could it be there is a specie with red plants?

National Symbol | Nigeria Armed Forces

The Nigerian Armed Forces is a notable one of the Nigerian National Symbol, it is made up of the Army,  Navy, and Air force. These are the security units of government that are responsible for securing the National territory against external intrusion and internal disruptions.

Through numerous peacekeeping missions that have won international recognition, they have fought many times for Nigerian Republic, Africa and the world as a whole.

Ways of Respecting the National Symbol

  • Always make the national flag stand in an upright position
  • Tattered and worn-out flags should be done away with properly
  • National Symbols should be redressed and repaired when the need arises
  • The national flag and other national symbols should not be used, as a handkerchief, napkin, table cover or drapery
  • The national symbol of Nigeria should not be used in advertisements in a disrespectful way

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