By National identity it simply means things that citizens of a country have in common. Those things are valued the same anywhere one goes within the country. Thus, the national identity of Nigeria are things that Nigerians have in common in all parts of the country. They consist of symbols such as Coat of Arms, National Anthem, National Flag, National Pledge and some of our cultural values. National identity, according to Abidina Coomasie, could be expressed in terms of nationality, language, religion and sub-National Unit (State). Non adherence to the National Identity by citizens means lack of unity, progress and development. Therefore, citizens have to demonstrate their National Identity. Let us briefly look at the Coat of Arms of Nigeria and the National Flag of Nigeria.

Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of Nigeria as a symbol of National identity represents the unity, authority and power of the country. This, however, becomes ironical according to Adamu Waziri if choice m a democratic set up is not allowed to take place. In other words, National Identity is best perceived under good political process.
The Coat of Arms of Nigeria is a composition of many signs. Each sign is signifying something. For instance, the black shield represents the strength of Nigeria. The dignity and pride of Nigeria are represented by the two horses. The mark in the middle of the shield that looks like a letter. ‘Y1 represents the direction of the flow of rivers Niger and Benue. It show how the two rivers flow throughout Nigeria. The masses of flowers represent the beauty of Nigeria.

The National Flag

Mr. Taiwo Akinkunmi designed the Nigerian Flag in 19 5 9 On 1st October, 1960 the Flag was unfolded for the first time to mark Nigeria’s Independence from Britain.

Culture and Nigerian People

Culture is simply defined as a set of values that operates at the most general level of the society, which is believed to regulate the actions of all members. Elements of the society such as institutions, values, norms, ideas, science and technology, attitude, beliefs and behaviours of members are what make the culture. It, therefore, depicts, analyses, and interprets important aspects of any society. Thus, culture can be seen as a reflection of the standard attained in the history of any society.
Therefore, the historical experiences, events and ideas of the people of a society have a great influence on their culture. Culture normally has two aspects, the material and non-material.
The culture of Nigerians can be seen in the following aspects, namely: language, dress, housing, music,’ dance, arts and craft as well as weaving. This is captured by Ade Obayemi in the following words: The culture of Nigerians is portrayed in the following: artistic creativity in the various media, clay, iron, bronze, brass, wood, textile, stone, ivory,, calabash , language, and music. And these cut across the over 350 different communities.
However, culture in Nigeria is represented by symbol such as hair styles, facial marks, and body marks. These seem to vary from one area to another. However, there is the dominance of Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo cultures over the other cultures. Each of the three dominant cultures seem to have influence over other cultures where it dominates. Thus, the culture of Nigerians is part of National Identity because it makes them to have certain things in common.

Ways to Demonstrate National Identity

A good citizen tries to promote the development of things that he and his fellow citizens have in common. The citizen is expected to do that by not only having the conviction that the National identity of his country is an instrument to meaningful development but also he finds means by which he demonstrates it for others to know its worth. If a citizen demonstrates National identify he becomes part of it, hence he participates in activities that lead to the development of his country. The following are means by which citizens demonstrate the National identity of their country.
1.      Obeying the Law:    Citizens demonstrate the National identity of Nigeria by obeying the law of the land, which include traffic regulations. And that if citizen fail to obey the law of the land, anarchy or lawlessness may ensue; a state where the National identity is not valued.
2.      Assisting law enforcement agents: Citizens demonstrate the Nation identity in them by assisting law enforcement agents such as the police to arrest law breakers in the country.
3.      Paying Taxes: A citizen demonstrates hi s National identity when he pays his tax regularly and honestly. Refusal to pay tax by citizens may make it impossible for the government to provide essential services for the people.
4.      Loyalty: A citizen demonstrates National identity if he is loyal to the government of the day. A good citizen will never subvert the government or play for its downfall.
5.      Defense: Citizens demonstrate their National identity by defending their country in the event of war with a foreign country or where certain groups within the Federation try to break way. In some advanced countries, it is compulsory for citizens to serve briefly in the army.
6.      National Service: In Nigeria and Ghana young graduates from higher institutions are expected to serve the nation for a year. This is a means by which citizens show a sense of common belonging.
7.      Citizens also demonstrate National identity of their county by respecting the National Flag and stand at attention!! while the National Anthem is being played or sung.


Culture is shared knowledge by members of a social group. As shared knowledge it includes ideas about what is right and what. wrong. It prescribes how we should behave: It influence our pattern of communication. It conditions our religious beliefs as well as our world view and how we interpret the world. The concept of cult helps us to analyze and interpret important aspects of society and human conduct or behaviour within the society. Consequently, Tylor (1991) maintains that “culture is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, law, moral, custom, and all other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society. Similarly, Ashiwaju and Areola (1995) define cultured as a system of ideas values, ethics, beliefs, norms, customs and technology shared almost everyone in a particular society. Culture is a society’s syste of common heritage.

Features of Culture

1.      Culture is a learned behaviour. Culture is not part of th biological make up of the human being. As humans we creafl symbols and attach meanings to them.
2.      Culture channels behaviour to the extent that it makes predictable   and  also  makes   societal   life   stable.   Mcj importantly culture constrains the individual.
3.      Culture is a dynamic process. As individual interact on any kind of sustained basis they exchange ideas about all sorts of things. With time they develop common ideas, common ways of doing things, common interpretation and similar way of looking at the world. So doing they have created the world.
4. Culture is historically derived. Its historical origin implies that culture is transmitted from one generation to another.

Components of Culture

a.         Non-material Culture: non-material includes aspects such as values, literature, philosophy, festivals, folklore, ideology, music, religion, dance, ceremonies and drama. Essentially non-material culture consists of abstract phenomena, which are learned through the process of socialization. Language which is the systematized usage of speech and hearing to convey or express feelings and ideas is the principal  medium  through which  our values,  belief and knowledge are transmitted, expressed and shared.
b.         Material Culture: Material culture refers to information, techniques tools, artifacts and crafts used by people to satisfy their varied needs and desires. The practical production and application of techniques constitute the technology of a particular group. Most people conceive technology only in terms of knowledge gain through science. It is imperative to point out that there are social aspects of technology. Social technology is the knowledge about how to establish, maintain and operate the technical aspect of social organization.

Concepts Associated with the Study of Culture

Ethnocentrism: This refers to attitude that one’s own culture and world view is superior to others. That one’s beliefs, values, and behaviour are more correct than that of others. Consequently other people’s cultures, beliefs, and values are evaluated in terms of one’s own culture.
Temprocentrism: Temprocentrism is the belief that one’s own time is more important than the past or the future. This leads to the view that all problems should be solved immediately.
Cultural Lag: The introduction of new technological desires or needs may not be immediately accepted because they are inconsistent with the existing value system. In other words, cultural lag occurs when changes in technology and materials culture come more rapidly than changes in the non-material culture.
Sub-Culture: Sub-culture Suggests that individuals participate in several groups within a society. These groups may be racial, ethnic, religious, occupational, age, sex, etc. We share some distinct cultural complexities within the society. But the fundamental values and beliefs of these groups are assumed to be in conformity with those of the large society. It is these distinct cultural differences within thi: group that are called sub-culture.

People and Cultures of Nigeria

Nigeria is constituted by different cultural groups Nigerian; rich cultural heritage persisted especially in rural areas than wit alien culture. Inspire attempts by British colonialist to replace Ana and Craft, tools, artifacts, festivals, music, myths and so on; Dane; religion, languages, mode of dressing and forms of greetings arti found among the different groups in Nigeria.
The Hausa
Smith (1987) suggested that the word Hausa may Songhai origin meaning ‘East1 it is pointing out that the Hausas inhibit the land east of Songhai Empire. The Hausas were not able to create one central state-until after the Islamic Jihad  of the 19th Century. What was obtained in Hausa land before then was the existence numerous city-states known as “Birane’ some gaining temperary hegemony over the others and vice-versa.
Recent research in linguistics  suggest that the Hausa Language, might have evolved in the area to the north-east of present day Kano state. That the Hausa might have broken away from heir distant relatives the Ngizim. Bolanci, Kuru Kan, Angas ect, about two thousand years ago (lavers 1976). The Hausa culture is largely influenced by the Islamic religion. The Hausa cultural groups in Northern Nigerian are noted for their beautiful leatherworks. The Argungu fishing festival, Durbar are among some of the popular Hausa festivals.
The Kanuri
The Kanuri differ slightly, linguistically, from the Kanembu. Levers (1976) have claimed that intermarriage on a large scale between the Kenembu and the women of the south-western side of lake Chad over several generations must have given rise to the Kanuri. Kanuri traditions collectively known as the “girgam” do claim that a grant Arab hero from Yemen named Saif bin Yanzam, gained control of a group of nomads, the Zaghawa, who he used to establish his control over a number of other tribal Zaghawa groups (i.e the Ngalaga, the Kangu, the Kayi, the Tabu, the Kaguwa etc) classified as belonging to the Teda-Baza -group of language established the Saifawa dynasty of the Mai’.s. in the 9lh and 10th century AD, which continued to rule the Kanuri for the best part of a thousand years. Presently, the Kanuri are concentrated in Borno state and part ofYobe state.
The Nupe
The Nupe tradition does claim that they were unified into one nation by a Legendary Tsoede. After capturing all of Nupe land Tsoede became the overall ruler assuming the title of Etsu. He was reputed to have brought back with him from Idah, where he briefly stayed special knowledge of certain crafts such as silver smiting, glass making and canoe building for which Nupe are famous:
The ‘Petegi regatta’ is the most important festivals among the Nupes of Niger state. The festival involves the display of the use of boats and canoes on the river. The regatta is characterized by singing and dancing. Its purpose to enhance peace and unity of the Nupes.
The Yoruba
There is no doubt that Ile-Ife is the ancestral home of the Yoruba as a people and their dispersal centre and that their ancestor was Oduduwa. Today, the Yoruba are mostly found in Western Nigeria, they belongs to the Kwa Linguistic group of languages Some of the common Yoruba festival include Sango, Ogun, Oshun. Oloolu and Igogo among others. In the sphere of art, the famous Ife bronze and the works of art and crafts of the people of Owo in Ondc state are known locally and world-wide. The Yoruba are also known for their talking drums, which are royal drums as well as the “Sekere” and Igbin”(Oyeneye 1979).
The lgbo
About the origin of the Igbo, there is still some doubt. While some have claimed Hebrew origin, others claim their origin from Egypt. But there has not been any evidence to justify these claims Linguistic evidence however classifies them among the Kwa group of languages, which include the Yoruba, Edo, Idoma, Igala etc. The areas first inhabited by the Igbo and which are generally believed to be their dispersal centres are Nri, Akwa, and Isuama areas. The external factors were the results of the expansion of Benin and Igah j Kingdoms and the Atlantic trade. The expansion of Benin to the Eas: brought about the traditional Kinship institutions in Igbo land. Thej expansion of Igala introduced Igala vocabularies;  titles,  social institution of masquerades and facial marks to the Igbo. While thd Atlantic trade brought forth the importance of the Aro trading organization and ritual agents. The “Offala” Festival is the mosi poplar among the Igbo. Works of arts also abound in Igbo land. Akwa is noted for its iron works, Okigwe is known for its pottery while tha people of Okwa-nka’s are reputed sculptures.
The Edo
There is so much cultural ties between the Yoruba and the Edoi Even the myth about the origin of the Edo itself suggest ties between! them. The mythology of the existence of the Edo also says that they were there from the beginning of creation, that it was founded when Ife was also founded. Beside the “Ugie-erhoba” festival the Edo people are reputed for their human heads cast in bronze. The present Edo state is the home of the Edo people.
The ljaw
The people of coastal zones also lack clear traditions of origin. The Ijaw do not have a traditions of a plausible place of migration but a tradition of migration and spread within the Niger Delta. The Ijaw have existed as a separate language group from the Igbo, Edo or the Yoruba. They have assimilated to the peculiar delta environment.
Historical studies have suggested that the various Ijaw groups migrated to the outlying regions of the Delta from the central area of the delta. Founders of the states of Ellen Kalahari and Bonny seem to have come from the central delta. Their pattern of migration is thus, migrant from the central delta moved from a fresh water environment to a salt-water, swampy environment. They therefore, had to change from a farming community with little fishing to a fishing community and manufactures of salt.

The Role of Culture in National Integration

Culture can foster national integration in a heterogeneous society like Nigeria, through the following ways:
Firstly, culture can unify the diverse cultural groups in a country through mutual dependence. Each cultural group has its own language, custom, food, arts, dress, technology, etc. Since no group posses all its needs this suggests that these groups must depend on one another if they must survive. Beside this fact, interdependence enhances peaceful coexistence, it also encourages the exchange and cross- fertilization of ideas and culture. Mutual dependence has shown that it is capable of uniting diverse cultural groups in a society.
Secondly, National integration can be fostered through similarities in materials and non-material aspects of culture. Cultural groups who share same language, custom, religion and technology are bound to evolve the feeling of oneness, which provides the bond for national unity.
Thirdly, National festivals of Arts and Culture are held periodically and brings together the various people of Nigeria, the festival enable the people to see and appreciate the diverse culture in the country. The awareness created through such festivals promotes national integration.
Fourthly, technology being part of information technology has converted the world into a global village. The changes brought about by the revolution have ensured an easy flow of information to all nooks and crannies and in the process stimulating national integration.
National identity refers to a situation in which the citizens of a nation have a sense of belonging to the nation and identifying with national goals and objectives. Symbols such as coat of Arms. National Flag, National Pledge, and National Anthem are all symbols of unity that unite all the Nigerian people together. Culture as a way ol life of a people can foster national integration in a heterogeneous | society like Nigeria through mutual dependence, National Festival oi Arts and Culture, Music, Literature, Films and so on.
Therefore, the bond of solidarity among people is furthei enhanced when they are conscious of their cultural differences.
Abidina, C. (1994): “National Identity and Nationalist Struggle”. In: Mahadi, A et al (eds): State of the Nation and the way Forward. Arewa House, Kaduna.
Ashiwaju, G and Areola, O. (ed) (1995): Nigeria: The First 25years. Ibadan University Press.
Lavers J. E. (1976): “Kanem-Borno” In: Ground Work of Nigerian History.
Nnoli O. (1990): Ethnicity and Development in Nigeria. Fourth Dimension Publishers.
Oyeneye, O. Y. and Shoreme, M. O. (1993): “The Concept of Culture andNigerian Society” in: Oyeneye, O. Y. et al (eds) Nigerian Culture and Citizenship Education, Maokus Publishers, Lagos.
Smith A. (1987): A Little New Light: Selected Historical Writing of Abdullahi A. Smith Gaskiya Corporation Limited, Zaria.
Tylor, E. B. (1891) -.Primitive Culture John Murray, London.
Waziri, A. (1994): “Choice in Democratic Setup”. In: Mahadi, A. etal (eds): State of the Nation and the Way Forward. Arewa House, Kaduna.

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