10 national symbols of Nigeria and their meanings

Nigeria is not only the giant of Africa but a home of ancient culture, history and mysterious symbols. She has undergone stages of tears, struggle, victories and laughter. These experiences collectively have influenced not only her political and social structure but also the design of her national symbols. They are also a unique to her culture, belief and value system present her stories to the world.

Do you know the meaning and significance of each national symbol?

Join me as I show you interesting facts and amazing stories behind the Nigerian national symbols.

Symbols of Authority in Nigeria

Not all Nigerian national symbols stand as for authority, whether within or outside the country.

These do not mean that the others are irrelevant or of lesser respect.

All of them are of high esteem, but each has its unique significance and meaning in the county of Nigeria.

Among the Nigerian National symbols, the following represents authority in the country and they are:

1. The Coat of Arms

The coat of arms of Nigeria was adopted in May 1960.

It is the amalgam of different images that possesses unique meanings, giving it a central look of authority. They are:

  • The black shield and the colourful wreath over the shield represents the Nigerian fertile and rich soil
  • The two supporting white horses represent the dignity of the Nigerian society
  • The red eagle at the top of the colourful wreath stands for strength of the Nigerian nation.
  • The white “Y” wavy shape stands for the two main rivers in Nigeria, which are river Niger and Benue. It also represents the confluence of both rivers.
  • The red flower beneath the black shield represents the national flower called Costus Spectabilis, also called the Yellow Trumpet. The national flower represents the beauty of Nigeria.
  • “Unity and faith, peace and Progress” line written beneath the black shield on the coat of arms represents the Nigerian national motto. This motto adopted in the year 1978. It was formerly “Peace, Unity and Freedom.”

2. The Official Seal of the President

The official seal of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is the symbol of authority of the President to authenticate any dealings.

Also adopted the first in the year 1979 at the emergence of the second republic by President Shehu Shagari.

It was later discard during the military regime from the year 1983 to 1999.

At the emergence of the fourth republic which ushered in Olusegun Obasanjo as the President of the nation Nigeria, the official seal helped back to usage.

It is still present till date.

Any information from the table of the President without seal on it is not legal, so, the seal represents the authority to enforce any dealings from the presidential table in the Nigerian society.

3. The Mace

The mace serves as a symbol of authority of the legislative arm of the Nigeria government structure.

The mace is a treasured stick made of gold that is about three feet long.

The reproduction of the coat of arms is engraft at the top of the mace.

The mace must be present before any plenary or meeting can hold in either the House of Representatives or Senate.

It precedes the commencement of any meeting. It remains in the custody of the Sargent-at-Arms.

Without the mace being present, no meeting can hold among the legislation, who is known as the law-makers in the Nigerian nation.

4. The National Flag

The Nigerian national flag is known as the basic amongst other Nigerian national symbols.

It stands for authority both within and outside Nigeria.

Any time it is being raise, all citizens are to stand erect for some minutes in respect of the national flag.

Taiwo Akinkunmi designed the Nigerian flag in the year 1959.


In the contest of designing the best Nigerian flag, Mr Taiwo Akinkunmi contested and won.

The flag was first raised on 1st October 1960 to commission our independence.

The flag consists of two colours, green and white; the green colour at both ends and the white colour in the middle. The green colour stands for:

  • The rich natural resources of the country Nigerian
  • The wealth of the Nigerian nation

The white colour stands for:

  • Peace and
  • Unity

Having explained the four national symbols that depict that of authority in Nigeria society, I will now be looking at the historical symbols in Nigeria.

Historical Symbols in Nigeria

The national anthem and the national pledge are a historical epitome amongst the other Nigerian national symbols.

The national anthem, in particular, gives us a highlight of the struggles of our national heroes.

5. The National Anthem

The National anthem is regard as one of the basic national symbols, as its song reveal the history of the Nigerian society.

It for everyone to stand erect when the song is played as a sign of respect to the Nigerian nation.

Normally before the commencement of any official meeting or plenary in the country, the national anthem is first sung.

The present national anthem which is up of two verses, and in the year 1978 replace the former anthem, “Nigeria we hail thee”, which sung at independence.

The present national anthem was written and compose by the Nigerian police band under the directorship of late Pa Benedict E. Odiase.

Arise O' Compatriots,
Nigeria's call obey
To serve our fatherland.
With love and strength and faith
The labour of our heroes' past

Shall never be in vain
To serve with heart and might
One nation bound in freedom, peace and unity
The second verse is usually called the national prayer
Oh God of Creation

Direct our noble cause
Guide 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

6. The National Pledge

The National Pledge composed by Prof. (Mrs.) Felicia Adebola Adedoyin in June 1976.

Hence, in September 1976, General Olusegun Obasanjo made it compulsory for all Nigerian schools to recite the national pledge on the assembly ground every morning.

That’s how the singing of the national pledge in Nigerian primary and secondary schools started and continues to date.

I pledge to Nigeria my country
To be faithful loyal and honesty
to serve Nigeria with all my strength
To defend her unity and uphold her honour and glory
So help me God

Other National Symbols of Nigeria

Apart from that of authority and history, other Nigerian national symbols signify other aspects of the beautiful nation, and they are:

7. The Nigerian National flower

The National flower is called Costus Spectabilis, also known as the yellow trumpet.


But for an unexplainable reason, the flower is paint in red on the coat of arms.

The national flower represents the beauty of the Nigerian society.

It is one of the most common flowers in the country, as can be seen everywhere.

8. The Nigerian Naira

The Nigerian Naira has the official currency of the country.

Also, it is a medium of exchange in business and financial transactions within or outside the Nigerian nation.

The naira was adopted on 1st January 1973, to replace the British pound sterling.

But the naira notes were not all introduced at the same time.

It was a gradual event.

On 1st January 1973, the central bank introduced the notes for 50 kobos, NI, N2, N3 and N20.

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In 1991, the N50 notes were introduced, followed by N100 in 1999.

Then N200 in 2000, N500 in 2001 and lastly the N1000 note was introduce on 12th October 2005.

Amongst the Nigerian national symbols, only the naira is said to symbolize the Nigerian economy.

For the state of the economy determines the value of the naira in both the international and national markets.

If the economy of the country is weak, the value of the naira deteriorates, while if the economy is strong, the value of the naira increases.

9. The Nigerian Armed forces

The Nigerian armed forces consist part of the executive arm of the Nigerian government.

It stands for the country’s defence and shield of protection.

And also, the Nigerian armed forces have been well known across the borders of the country for their selfless peacekeeping mission to other African countries.

This gained Nigeria the name, “the big brother of Africa”.

Their uniform colours are known to be fierce-looking, and so no individual outside the armed forces is permit to wear the colour of any of their uniforms.

If one does, he or she will be severely punish, as it is a disrespect to the armed force.

10. The Nigerian Colours

The colour green and white is regard as the official colours of the Nigerian nation.

The colours on the national flag are of high importance and meaning.

The green colour represents the Nigerian rich natural resources base, while the white colour stands for peace and unity.


Normally, Nigerians wear clothes of green and white colours on every 1st October to celebrate independence.

Also, when Nigerian athletes go to the Olympic to represent the country, they usually carry or tie a small cloth of green and white colour on their necks as a representation of where they are coming from.

Therefore Nigerian national symbols convey our ideals and values. Respect is given to them as an act of nationalism and patriotism.

The notion of a true Nigerian is manifest in one’s attitude towards the national symbols. Are you a true Nigerian? Then do the right thing.

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