National symbols that strengthen Nigeria unity include the National flag, Nigerian coat of arms and National anthem.
Nigeria National flag is a piece of cloth with colours or pattern that stands for a nation. National flag is used to articulate some information concerning the struggle of a nation. Nigeria used the British flag “Union Jack”. In 1960 Nigeria regain her independence from Britain and changed her national flag to green, white, green.
The Nigerian National flag was designed in 1959 by Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi, A Nigerian student of Norwood Technical College, London. The flag has a rectangular shape with three equal colour division of green, white & green.
The green colour represents Nigerian vast fertile land and agriculture resources. The white colour stands for peace and unity of the country. Nigeria flag is a mark of national identity. It instills the spirit of patriotism and loyalty on the citizens of Nigeria.
The flag is hoisted in front of public buildings, government house, national stadium, government vehicles, international conference, National Assembly and House of Assembly, Embassies, Head quarter of ECOWAS, AU, UNO, Common Wealth of Nations etc.
National flag is used to express the mood of the nation at peace time, and in times of tension. The flag is flown at half mast when the country is experiencing serious political upheaval or national disaster.
It may also be used to signify mourning or sympathetic mood of a nation in the case of misfortune that either happened to the country or a friendly nation.
Although the culture of respecting national flag and other national symbols has not be learnt, Nigerians especially, the youths who did not experience the exit of the “disciplined white men” should be made to observe the value in respecting national symbols like the Nigerian flag.
The respect of the flag and other national symbols is a respect to one’s own dignity. The idea of checking out of Nigeria to USA or European countries where life is better should be seen as a mark of irresponsibility.
Contributing to the growth and progress of Nigeria is the only way we can achieve greatness. Running away from our responsibility cannot do anybody any good. A good Nigerian should always recite the national anthem just everyday and work towards achieving the goal of the nation, both internally and internationally.
The Nigerian Coat of Arms:
The Nigerian coat of arms is a very important symbol for the country. Coat of arms is a shield with pictures and designs. Nigeria coat of arms has an eagle mounted on a wreath which is rendered in national colours. The eagles and the wreath rest on a black shield.
The colour of the shield signifies fortuitous qualities of land in agriculture and mineral resources. The Y shaped silver coloured wavy band in the middle of the shield represents the two major rivers of Nigeria – River Niger and River Benue.
The two charger horses that support the shield on the left and right, signifies dignity and strength, the base upon which the shield rests is coctus spectabilis, wildflowers that grows in many part of Nigeria.
The coat of arms has Nigeria motto “unity and faith, peace and progress” at its base. The pictures and design in the coat of arms have great significance. The eagle stands for Nigeria strength and pride. The silver bands stands for two major Nigerian rivers, Niger and Benue, the charger horses stand for strength and dignity of Nigeria.
The flower at the background represents colourful flowers that grows everywhere in Nigeria. Nigeria coat of arms could be found on Nigerian currency, government documents, offices and public buildings.
It is often found in the ceremonial dress of the presidents, state governors and high ranking military officers. Apart from other functions, the Nigeria coat of arms helps to infuse a sense of unity, dignity and royalty among Nigerians of any tribe.
National anthem is a song of praise, devotion or patriotism aimed at rekindling the aspiration of a nation. The Nigeria National Anthem was composed by Ben Odiase in 1978.
Arise, O’ Compatriot, Nigeria’s call obey,
To serve our father land with love and strength and faith,
The labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vein,
To serve with heart and might, one nation bound in Freedom, peace and unity.
Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause,
Guide our leader’s 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.
The question one would ask is, do we see ourselves as a people from the same country. Why do you claims to be members of Igbo Nation, Benin Nation, Yoruba Nation, Ijaw Nation? Do we see fellow Nigerians as brothers and sisters? Do we serve our father land or do we exploit it for our selfish interest without caring for future generations.
The National pledge:
I pledge to Nigeria my country,
To be faithful, loyal and honest,
To serve Nigeria with all my strength,
To defend her unity,
And uphold her honour and glory
So help me God
A pledge is a solemn promise by an office holder or citizen to keep the rules and maintain orders. A person who makes a pledge must be bound by it. Most of our leaders or political office holders are sworn into office, not only to obey the law of the land but to keep to the rules and administrative procedures. They are to be faithful, loyal and honest in their dealings.
However, none of these political office holders who looted our treasury and corrupted the system were asked to account for breaking their pledge. The political office holders are supposed to serve Nigeria with all their might, defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory with the help of God.
A close look at our leader past and present will reveal that they did not obey the pledge they made to Nigeria. it will be good that we keep our rules for the safety of the next generation.
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