By Debo Popoola
A country’s national emblems are the materials, physical or abstract, that symbolize that country’s historical, physical, social, cultural and political beliefs. They are the nexus between the past, present and the future of a country. These emblems are narratives that generations gone have collected for the ones coming. And if there seems to be confusion in the beliefs of the people of a nation, those emblems are referred to for clarification and they become the ancestral map towards a pre-defined destination.
All the nations of the world have their own emblems, and these emblems are unique in their own ways. The national emblems of Peru are different from the national emblems of Nigeria. Even if those emblems accidentally resemble each other, their interpretation will be different, after all, the process of emblem creation is artistic and art itself is subjective.
From the historical perspective of emblems, they are memorabilia of a nation’s exploit or conquest, especially during the time of war. There was a time when a nation is powerful according to the number of land it was able to carve for itself; emblems were then used to symbolize each conquest.
Focusing on Nigeria, our national emblems are the flag and the coat of arm. These emblems are enshrined with rich history of where we are coming from as a nation and where we are going.Unfortunately, most Nigerians have little or no regard for these emblems, and some do not even understand what they mean.
There was a time in this country when an ambassadorial nominee was asked to recite the national anthem. The man could not as he faltered at every attempt. We cannot isolate this to the man alone; a lot of people in Nigeria cannot recite either the national anthem or pledge correctly.
The national flag should be a ubiquitous feature of every homes, offices and cars but what you find most times in these places are other nations’ flags. In fact, it is easier to find the flag of USA, UK and other western nations than finding the Nigeria national flag in most homes.
Why Do People Prefer Other Nations’ Flag to Theirs?
A lot of reasons have been attributed to why most Nigerians don’t like to associate themselves with the Nigeria flag: the loss of sense of belonging by the people and negative internal and external perception of the country’s image are some of the reasons.
Most news coming from Nigeria have always been negative – criminal activities, corruption by the leaders and recently, terrorism. All these have made the citizen disillusioned and their pride on the nation withers. Truly no one wants to associate with negativity, that is why most Nigeria opted for the flags of those nations that are doing well.
Whenever Nigeria is being mentioned in the foreign media, it is likely not for good reason. Most foreigners think Nigeria is a wasteland filled with poverty, disease and pestilence, and this has always been the case for a long time.
All these have made Nigerians to lose faith in their country. They feel marginalized and oppressed in their own land. A country where a single person will steal 13billion pounds meant for the whole country will not appeal to the average people living in it. A country where lives are lost daily due to terrorism will not command any pride or respect from its helpless citizens. Some even blame their creator for creating them in a country such as this. It will be hard to be proud of a country where basic infrastructures that should make life easy are not available.
And what makes the Nigeria situation more pitiful and painful is that the country is among the most blessed nation on earth both with human and natural resources, but greed and selfishness of her leaders have made her one of the poorest in the world. Nigeria in personification is a woman who sleeps on treasure box but begs for food.
For Nigerian flag to gain respect again and be a thing of pride for her people, all the problems mentioned earlier must be addressed. Our leaders must be honest and accountable. Corruption must be dealt with through proper enforcement of laws against corruption. Also, Nigeria government should work towards ensuring all citizens are saved because it is a fundamental right. Infrastructures should be invested in. If all these are done, Nigerians would be proud of themselves and their land; they will be able to proudly flaunt their national flag wherever they find themselves in the world.
By Debo Popoola