Back to: Jss1 Civic Education (NVE)
Topic: National Consciousness and Identity
WEEK: 4 – 6
There must be elements that bind the people of a country together as a single entity if they are to survive long enough to congregate behind the banner of a single nation. This phenomenon is referred to as “national awareness.” A shared sense of knowing that a people or group has, such as a common linguistic, cultural, or ethnic heritage is an example of what is meant by the term “national consciousness.”
Meaning of National Consciousness and Identity
Being conscious is having the ability to make use of one’s senses and mental abilities in order to comprehend the activities that are taking place at a certain moment in time. The state or quality of awareness, also known as the state of being aware of an external object or something inside oneself, is what we mean when we talk about consciousness. Sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the capacity to experience or feel alertness, the possession of a feeling of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind are all terms that have been used to describe it.
National consciousness refers to the sense of belonging and shared identity that people within a nation or country feel towards their common history, culture, and values. It is a feeling of loyalty and attachment to one’s country, and a recognition of the shared experiences and aspirations of its citizens. National consciousness can be fostered through education, civic engagement, and cultural activities, and is often associated with a strong sense of patriotism and national pride. It can also be influenced by political and social factors, such as the presence of shared institutions and symbols, and the presence of national myths and narratives that reinforce a sense of collective identity.
The act of belonging to and identifying with a country is what is meant by “national identity.” It is represented by the symbols, tenets, cultural practices, and historical legacies for which the nation is famous and for which it is identified. These include things like the currency, the pledge, the national anthem, the coat of arms, and other similar things. An individual’s identification or feeling of belonging to a certain state or country is referred to as their national identity. A nation’s feeling of itself as an integrated whole, as reflected in its particular customs, culture, language, and politics, is referred to as nationalism.
The National Symbols
The following are some common Nigerian national symbols;
i. The coat of arm
ii. The national flag
ni. National currency
iii. The national identity card
iv. National Anthem
v. National pledge
vi. The national passport
vii. The Constitution
The Nigerian national flag is a horizontal bicolour of green and white. The flag was designed in 1959 by a Nigerian student named Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi, and it was officially adopted on October 1, 1960, when Nigeria gained independence from British colonial rule.
The green colour on the Nigerian flag represents the country’s agricultural wealth and its lush vegetation. Nigeria is known for its vast forests, rich farmland, and abundant wildlife. The white colour on the flag represents peace, purity, and unity. It also represents Nigeria’s desire for peace, both within the country and in its relations with other nations.
The Nigerian flag is a symbol of the country’s independence, freedom, and sovereignty. It is flown in government buildings, schools, and public places across the country. It is also displayed during national holidays and events, such as Independence Day, Armed Forces Remembrance Day, and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) ceremonies.
The Nigerian flag is a source of pride and unity for the Nigerian people. It serves as a reminder of the country’s history and its struggles for independence and freedom. It also represents the hope and aspirations of the Nigerian people for a better future.
Coat of Arms
The Nigerian Coat of Arms was designed by a British heraldist, G. C. Miles, in 1960, following a national competition to create a new coat of arms for Nigeria, which had gained independence from Britain on October 1, 1960.
The Coat of Arms features a black shield with two supporting horses or chargers, standing on a green mount. The black shield represents Nigeria’s fertile soil, while the two supporting horses or chargers on each side represent dignity. The green mount symbolizes Nigeria’s rich soil, while the Y shape in the middle of the shield represents the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers at Lokoja.
The Coat of Arms also includes a red flower located at the base that represents the beauty of the nation, while the white wavy pall represents Nigeria’s rivers. At the top of the shield is an eagle, which is a symbol of strength, courage, and freedom.
Above the shield is a green and white band with the national motto of Nigeria, “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress.”
The Coat of Arms of Nigeria is an important national symbol that represents the country’s identity, values, and aspirations. It is widely used on official documents, government buildings, and in other contexts where the Nigerian identity is being displayed.
The Constitution of Nigeria is the supreme law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It was first adopted in 1960, when Nigeria gained independence from British colonial rule, and has since been amended several times.
The current Constitution of Nigeria was adopted in 1999, following a process of transition from military to civilian rule. It provides for a federal system of government, with power shared between the national government and 36 state governments, as well as the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja.
The Constitution outlines the fundamental rights and freedoms of Nigerian citizens, including the right to life, liberty, and security of person, freedom of expression and religion, and equality before the law. It also establishes the three branches of government: the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary.
The Executive branch consists of the President, Vice President, and members of the Cabinet, while the Legislative branch is made up of the National Assembly, consisting of the Senate and House of Representatives. The Judiciary branch is headed by the Supreme Court, with lower courts including the Court of Appeal and High Courts.
In addition to outlining the structure of government and protecting individual rights, the Constitution also outlines the procedures for elections, impeachment, and the amendment to the Constitution itself. It is considered one of the most important documents in Nigeria’s history, as it lays the foundation for the country’s governance and democracy.
The Nigerian passport
The Nigerian passport is a travel document issued to Nigerian citizens by the Nigerian Immigration Service. It is a necessary document for international travel and serves as proof of Nigerian citizenship. The Nigerian passport is also a form of identification and is recognized by government agencies, financial institutions, and other organizations.
The Nigerian passport is issued in three different types: the regular passport, the official passport, and the diplomatic passport. The regular passport is the most commonly issued type and is available to all Nigerian citizens. The official passport is issued to government officials and members of the diplomatic corps, while the diplomatic passport is issued to Nigerian diplomats and high-ranking government officials.
The Nigerian passport has several security features that make it difficult to counterfeit. It contains a biometric chip that stores the passport holder’s personal information, including their name, date of birth, photograph, and fingerprints. It also has watermarks, holographic images, and other security features that help prevent fraud.
The Nigerian passport has a validity of ten years for adults and five years for minors. However, the validity period of the passport may vary depending on the type of passport and the purpose of travel.
Nigerian national currency
The Nigerian national currency is the Naira, which is abbreviated as NGN. The Naira was introduced on 1st January 1973 to replace the British pound as the official currency of Nigeria. It is issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and is the legal tender for all transactions in Nigeria.
The Naira is divided into 100 kobos, although the value of the kobo has become so small that it is almost never used. Banknotes in circulation in Nigeria include N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N200, N500, and N1,000, while coins include N1, N2, N5, N10, N20, and N50.
Over the years, the Naira has faced several challenges, including inflation, devaluation, and scarcity. However, efforts are being made by the CBN to stabilize the currency and ensure its value is maintained. Despite its challenges, the Naira remains an important symbol of Nigeria’s sovereignty and economic strength.
The National Anthem and the National Pledge
The National Pledge
The National Pledge is a solemn promise made by citizens of Nigeria. It was written by Prof. (Mrs.) Felicia Adebola Adedoyin in 1976 and was officially adopted on October 1, 1978. The pledge is recited by citizens during national events, public functions, and in schools. It reads as follows:
“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 honor and glory,
So help me God.”
The Nigerian National Pledge is a symbol of patriotism and national unity. It represents the commitment of Nigerians to work together towards building a better country, promoting peace and stability, and upholding the values of democracy and justice.
The National Anthem
The Nigerian national anthem is “Arise, O Compatriots.” It was adopted in 1978 and has been used ever since. Here are the lyrics:
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.
O 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.
Old National Anthem
The old Nigerian National Anthem was used from 1960 until 1978 when it was replaced by the current National Anthem. The lyrics of the old National Anthem were as follows:
Nigeria we hail thee,
Our own dear native land,
Though tribe and tongue may differ,
In brotherhood, we stand,
Nigerians all, and proud to serve
Our sovereign Motherland.
Our flag shall be a symbol
That truth and justice reign,
In peace or battle, honoured,
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.
The old National Anthem had a more formal tone and emphasized Nigeria’s aspiration for peace, justice, and unity. It was replaced in 1978 with the current National Anthem, which has a more uplifting and patriotic tone.
Nigerian national flower
The Nigerian national flower is the Costus spectabilis, also known as the Yellow Trumpet. It is a bright yellow flower that is commonly found in Nigeria’s tropical forests. The Costus spectabilis has long, narrow leaves, and large, showy flowers that are shaped like trumpets. The flower is a symbol of the beauty and diversity of Nigeria’s natural environment. It is often used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, and its roots are used to make tea. The Costus spectabilis is also popular among horticulturists and is grown in gardens and parks for its aesthetic value.
The Nigerian national bird is the Eagle. The eagle is a symbol of strength, courage, and freedom. It is also known for its keen sight, which represents the country’s ability to see beyond the surface and perceive the truth. The eagle is featured prominently in the Nigerian coat of arms, and it is also a common feature in Nigerian folklore and art.