A coat of arms is a special symbol that represents a specific individual, family, or entity. Though the presentation of these symbols differs from one entity or nation to another around the world, they contain deep meanings to the people who place much value on them. The Nigeria Coat of Arm is one of those symbols that represent national unity, state power, and authority. It is one more national symbol that carries profound meaning to every Nigerian and concerned individual around the world. Such symbols are very important to every nation and everyone who considers himself a patriot.
The Nigeria Coat of Arm was officially adopted by the Nigerian government in 1975. Before its adoption, each of the country’s constituent political units had its own Coat of Arms. This is because the country had at the time practiced a federal system of government that allowed component states to have their own flag, coat of arms, and anthem. They, however, were not allowed to print their own currency or have their own armed forces.
Who Designed The Nigeria Coat of Arms?
The search for a unique symbol that would represent Nigeria’s unity in diversity became necessary during the country’s preparation for independence. Though the designer of the Nigeria Coat of Arm is not officially documented, it is believed that the symbol was designed along with the country’s other national symbols. The national flag, for example, was designed by a student named Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi – a retired Nigerian civil servant of Yoruba origin who won a nationwide competition in 1959.
The Nigeria coat of arms is one of the strongest symbols of the Nigerian authority. Though with bits of color variations, these symbols are used by persons of authority like the President, Vice President, House of Representatives, and Senate, as stamps to a seal.
What are the Symbols and Features of the Nigeria Coat of Arms
The creation and use of coats of arms are dictated by heraldry – a system that researchers believe dates back to the 11th century. A coat of arms contains a number of images, including a shield, crest, helmet, and two attendants. It also contains the motto which is usually at the bottom of the symbol. The Nigerian Coat of Arms is a unique heraldic design that consists of seven features — each symbolizing the virtue the country possesses. Here’s a brief look at the components of the Nigerian coat of arms.
- The Black Shield: The black shield used on the coat of arms represents the country’s fertile soil.
- The Wavy White Pall: The wavy occupies the space in the middle of the black shield, forming a “Y” shape. It is a symbol that represents Nigeria’s two main inland rivers — River Niger and River Benue. The two rivers meet at a point in Lokoja to form a confluence, hence the symbol of the “Y” shape.
- Two White Horses: The horses on both sides of the black shield are very symbolic. It represents the country’s dignity.
- The Red Eagle: The red flying bird is a symbol of Nigeria’s strength.
- The Green and White Wreath: The wreath which is sitting atop the shield and beneath the eagle, is a reference to the agricultural potentials of the country.
- The Green Grass: The green field at the base of the shield gives a representation of love for the motherland. It could also be termed love for agricultural activities.
- The Flowers: Located beneath the coat of arms are red flowers called Costus Spectabilis. These are Nigeria’s national flowers. They were included in the coat of arms because they grow in all soil types in the country. The flower symbolizes the country’s beauty.
- The National Motto: The banderole spread around the base of the coat of arms is Nigeria’s national motto which reads – “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress”. It was formerly “Peace, Unity, Freedom.”
Here’s a video that could help you understand everything about the Nigerian coat of arms
The Meaning of Eagle in the Nigeria Coat of Arms
An eagle is one of the most powerful birds roaming the skies. They capture your attention as they fly overhead, and it is hard not to stop and stare when you notice one. The eagle symbolizes everything that includes inspiration, release from bondage, victory, longevity, speed, pride, and royalty.
Being the supreme winged creature, the confident red eagle sitting atop the shield in the Nigeria coat of arms symbolizes the strength power, resilience, and pride of the country.
The Meaning of Black Shield in the Nigeria Coat of Arms
While black can represent protection, transformation, and rebirth, which can be easily associated with the lifecycle of a nation, the black shield on the Nigeria coat of arms represents the country’s fertile soil for all forms of agricultural resources. It could also mean that Nigeria is a home for technological and industrial innovations.
What Does The Horse in the Coat of Arms Represent?
White horses have a special significance in the mythologies of cultures around the world. Generally, these species of horses can represent purity, heroism, spiritual enlightenment, and the triumph of good over evil. In the coat of arms, the two white horses standing on both sides of the shield symbolize harmony and nobility. They can also be used to represent a balanced combination of the country’s inner strength with peace-loving intentions. Their white colors represent the nation’s purity and wealth.
What Does the Coat of Arms Symbolize?
Coats of arms are special designs in the form of a shield that is used as a symbol of identity. A national coat of arms is a symbol that denotes an independent state in the form of a heraldic achievement. Dating back to the 12th Century, coats of arms were usually worn over armor in battle and in tournaments as a way of distinguishing one knight from another on a battlefield.
For a person to have a right to a coat of arms, such person must either have had it granted to him. It could also be descended in the legitimate male line from a person to whom arms were granted or confirmed in the past.