10 Nigerian National Symbols and Their Meanings


Nigeria is the most populous black country in the world and regarded as the giant of Africa. The country got its name from “Niger Area” in 1914, when Mrs Flora Shaw who later became known as Mrs. Florence Lugard coined the name and gave it to the newly amalgamated country. The British who were the colonial masters of the country then assumed leadership of the country.

After several campaigns and call for independence, the country was eventually granted independence in 1960, with the Monarch of England as the head of state. The federal government was then given exclusive powers to carry out specific functions. This didn’t go on well with the heroes who supported independence and the country was eventually made a republic three years after gaining independence.

10 Nigerian National Symbols and Their Meanings

Just like every country of the world has its own unique symbols which represent different ideologies, beliefs and history. Nigeria is not left out and its symbols are attached to its history. They define something about what happened during the colonial and post-colonial period. National symbols are also used to recognize the country as an entity in the outside world. Some of them also stand as symbol of authority of an authorized body. Here are the top ten Nigerian national symbols and their meanings.

10. Nigerian National Flower

Costus spectabilis

Costus spectabilis, a yellow flower found in all parts of Nigeria is recognized as the national flower. It is also known as yellow trumpet. Its design is infused into the Nigerian coat of arms to drive home the point that it signifies the beauty of the country. Although it is painted red in the coat of arms, there has been call for it to be changed to yellow.

9. Seal Of The President

The seal of the president was first adopted in 1979, during the reign of Alhaji Shehu Shagari but was stopped due to the military regimes that followed the period. It was later re-adopted in 1999. It is a crest with the Nigerian coat of arms displayed on it. It is the official symbol of the president of Nigeria and used on documents addressed from the president to the parliament. It is also a symbol found on presidential vehicles, lecterns and other places.

8. The Maze

The Nigerian maze is a symbol of authority in the two legislative arms of Nigerian government, which are, house of representatives and house of assembly. It is a stick of about three feet long, with the coat of arms on top of it. It is carried by the sergeant-at-arms and placed on the central table at the beginning of each sitting in the house. There has been incidence of the maze being seized or stolen by mobs or individual during power tussle or when they feel they are no longer satisfied with the leaders of the house.

7. Nigerian Currency

The Nigerian currency serves as the means of exchange and the only acceptable legal tender in the country. It is called the naira and in form of notes. The currency is also available in coin form and called kobo. 100 kobo equal 1 naira. The naira is written as “N” with two horizontal crosses on it. The naira notes are in denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. The Nigerian currency is expected to be treated with respect by all citizens.

6. Nigerian National Passport

The national passport is a document which every citizen of Nigeria interested in traveling outside the country must have. It also serves as a means of identification. It contains vital information of the bearer and belongs to him alone. It is issued by the Nigerian Immigration Service and provides access to 47 countries without visa.

5. National Identity Card

Every citizen of Nigeria is expected to have a national identity card. This provides proof of citizenship. It is issued by national identity management commission. It is designed to be an e-card with a unique chip design carrying the details of the bearer including his or her identification number. The card is only issued to registered Nigerians and legal residents who are 16 years and above.

4. Nigerian National Pledge

The National pledge serves as a promise and oath of allegiance to the country. It was written by Professor Felicia Adebola Adedoyin in 1976 after the civil war. It is recited immediately after reciting the national anthem. It was created with the goal of inculcating in all Nigerians, the norms of the nation and national ethics of faithfulness, loyalty, service, unity and honour.

3. Nigerian National Anthem

National anthems are designed to motivate the citizens of a country. Just like every other country of the world Nigeria has its own national anthem. The anthem unites all the citizens as one sovereign state. The first national anthem of the country was composed by the British. After careful thoughts that having a national anthem composed by the colonial masters didn’t signify the independence the country wanted, a new anthem was composed by Mr. Benedict Odiase in 1978. It has two stanzas and calls upon the citizens to serve the country dutifully.

2. Nigerian Coat Of Arms

The coat of arms is a symbol of authority, power, unity and strength. It also stands as a stamp to the seal of the president, vice president, house of senate and the house of assembly. It comprises of two white horses clinging to a black shied with a “Y” shaped band drawn on it. A red eagle is perched on top of the black shied. While the base of the shield houses the flower of the country, costus spectabilis. Below the wreath of flowers is the motto, unity and faith, peace and progress. The two white horses represent dignity and pride, the red eagle signifies strength, while the black shied represent the fertile soil of the country. The “Y” shaped band at the middle of the shield represent the two main rivers that cut across the Nigerian map.

1. Nigerian National Flag

The Nigerian national flag is recognized anywhere in the world with its two distinguishable colours. It was designed by Mr Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi and was first raised in 1960 when the union Jack was lowered. It is in rectangular form and designed in horizontal shape. The horizontal shape is then divided into three and painted green, white and green. The green colour stands for the rich agricultural resources in the country, while the white stands for peace. It is believed that when the national anthem is being recited especially at public occasions, the national flag must be raised. Other flags also should not be raised higher than the national flag because the country’s flag is supreme. And when it is torn or damaged, it should be burnt.

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