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List of Nigeria National Symbols

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In this article, attempt will be made to present you with the list of Nigerian national symbols and their meanings. Do you want to learn all about that? If yes, please kindly read on. The need to write this article was borne out of the fact that a lot of Nigerians still don’t know the real meaning of most of our National symbols, and this rather bad situation is among the reason that accounts for their indifference attitude towards these respectable national symbols. Hence, without expending more time, here is all the National symbols in Nigeria and their different meanings

Every country and nationality in the world has its unique national symbols. Nigeria national symbols are symbols of entity that project the Nation to the world as a United National community.  National symbols intend to unite people by creating visual, verbal, or iconic representations of the national people, values, goals, or history.

These set of symbols are often rallied around as part of celebrations of patriotism or aspiring nationalism (such as independence, autonomy or separation movements) and are designed to represent and include all the people of the national community.

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meaning of Nigerian flag

Below is the list of the Nigeria national symbols and brief information about each of them

Nigerian Flag

nigeria national symbol

The Flag of Nigeria was designed in 1959 and was officially hoisted on October 1, 1960. The flag is a horizontal bi-color of green and white. The two green stripes represent Nigeria agricultural wealth, while the white band represents peace and unity. The flag was designed by Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi during a National Flag Design Competition.

Did you know that other flags cannot be raised higher than the Nigerian flag in the same room?

#Rules governing the hoisting of the Nigeria flag and its maintenance:

  • On no account should any other flag be raised higher than the Nigerian flag.
  • The Nigerian flag must be hung on important days or any important event. For instance, in cases of death across the country, the Nigerian flag is hoisted at half-length to respect the fallen heroes.
  • The flag must be hoisted at sunrise and lowered at sunset.
  • Finally, if for any reason, the Nigerian flag get torn, it must be replaced.

Nigeria Coat of Arms

Nigeria national symbols

The Nigeria coat of arms was adopted in May 1960, The coat of arms consist of a black shield with a wavy white palls, symbolizing the meeting of the Niger and Benue rivers at Lokoja, two wavy bands, two horses, an eagle and some plants at the foot of the shield. Each image in the picture has a symbolic meaning, The black shield represents Nigeria’s fertile soil, while the two horses or chargers on each side represent dignity. The eagle represents strength, while the green and white bands on the top of the shield represent the rich soil.

The red flowers at the base are Costus spectabilis, Nigeria’s national flower. This flower was chosen for inclusion in the coat of arms as it is found all over Nigeria and also stand for the beauty of the nation.

The motto of Nigeria since 1978 “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” is shown on the banderole around the base of the Coat of Arms. Formally, the Nigerian motto was “Peace, Unity, Freedom”.

National Flower

nigerian national symbols

Majority of Nigerians do not know that the country has a national flower as part of her national symbol. The national flower is a wonderful flower called Costus spectabilis.

This flower grows in the wild and it is found all over Africa.

According to history, there exist more than 100 varieties of the Costus spectabilis. More importantly, the flower has yellow petals, and most Nigerians have condemned the red painting of the flower on the coat of arm. The national flower became an official seal of authority in 1978 till date.

National Anthem and Pledge

The Nigerian National anthem is a symbol that does move and unite millions of Nigerians.

Nigeria, We Hail Thee” is the former national anthem of Nigeria, used from independence in 1960 until 1978. Nigeria’s present anthem, “Arise, O Compatriots”, was adopted in 1978, replacing “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.”

The first anthem’s lyrics were written by Lillian Jean Williams, a British expatriate who lived in Nigeria when it achieved independence.  Frances Berda composed the music for “Nigeria, We Hail Thee.”

Here is it, the first Nigerian anthem!

Nigeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ,
In brotherhood we stand,
Nigerians all, are proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland.
Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle honour’d,
And this we count as gain,
To hand on to 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.

When “Nigeria, We Hail Thee” was first announced, the new national anthem faced criticism for a number of reasons.

The Daily Service, a newspaper run by the Yoruba organisation Egbé Ọmọ Odùduwà, started a rebellious campaign against the national anthem, which led to a committee being established to collect signatures as a petition. This led to the decision to change the national anthem by the Government. This they did by announcing a competition for it.

The committee chose five winners and combined their entries into one. “Arise, O Compatriots” was composed in 1978. The five winners are: Eme Etim Akpan, John A. Ilechukwu, Sota Omoigui, P. O. Aderibigbe and B. A. Ogunnaike

The words were put to music by the Nigerian Police Band under the directorship of Benedict E. Odiase. The anthem uplifts the faith of Every Nigeria and reminds us of our goals.

National Anthem

Arise O’ Compatriots,
Nigeria’s call obey
To serve our fatherland
With love and strength and faith
The labours of our heroes past Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom,
peace and unity

Oh God of Creation, direct our noble cause,
Guide (thou) our leaders right,
Help our youth the truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign

National Pledge

The Nigerian National pledge is an oath of allegiance of support of the country. Often times, it is recited after the National anthem.

The National pledge was drafted by a Nigerian Professor, Prof (Mrs) Felicia Adebola in 1976 and in September 1976, General Olusegun Obasanjo decreed that all schools children should recite the national pledge on daily basis.

The National pledge is aimed at teaching every citizen of the country to honour and serve Nigeria in the best way possible. The national pledge goes thus:

“I pledge to Nigeria my country
To be faithful loyal an honest
To serve Nigeria with all my strength
To defend her unity
And uphold her honour and glory
So help me God.”

The National Anthem and pledge is considered to be the most important symbol of Nigeria, as the anthem unites all Nigerians into one sovereign state. And that is its meaning and purpose.

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Nigerian Naira

It will interest you to know that the Nigerian Naira is one of our important national symbol. The Naira is Nigeria’s official legal tender since 1973. It is used in day to day transaction within the country.

The central Bank of Nigeria is the only authorized issuer of the Naira. Currently, the Naira notes are in denominations: #5, #10, #20, #50, #100, #200, #500 and #1000. On these different notes are pictures of heroes of Nigeria.

The #50 notes most especially denote unity in diversity as the presence of various tribes and culture was fully depicted in it.

The National Orientation Agency (NOA) is doing a beautiful job as to curtailing the misuse and abuse  the National symbols in Nigeria. Let us all support them and serve and honor our fatherland. 

That is how far we can go with this article. Do you still have some other suggestions, contributions or questions? feel free to drop them via the comment section below, and we shall get back to you. Also, if you enjoyed reading this article, please share it to your friends and family members using the share button below.


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