Nigerian National Symbols & Ambassadors

The Nigerian national symbols are fundamental features of the Nigerian national identity with profound emotional and socio-cultural connections to the sub-consciousness of Nigerians eliciting a sense of belonging, love, trust and unity. In Nigeria, these symbols and their importance are taught from the earliest stage of learning at immediate environments and schools as well as to be accorded with great respect.

The Nigerian national symbols embody the collective history, heritage and values of the Nigerian state and largely include the following:

  1. The National Anthem and Pledge of Nigeria

Composed and adopted in 1978, this is the country’s national song with a nationalistic call for patriotism, love, hardwork, peace, unity, freedom, truth and justice.

The national pledge is recited immediately after the national anthem as a promise, vow or commitment of loyalthy, honesty, service and unity to the country.

  1. The National Flag of Nigeria

The national flag symbolizes in peace, the collective national wealth/prosperity of Nigeria.

  1. The Coat of Arms of Nigeria

The Coat of Arms of Nigeria represents the rich natural diversity and historical splendour of Nigeria.

These are common symbols; and there exist more of them such as the Nigerian currency (Naira and Kobo), the seat of the Presidency, etc.

Therefore, the Nigerian national symbols express strong and specific national ideas and serve as representations of Nigerians at home and abroad, their values, aims, or history, without which no nation can be strong.

Nigerian national symbols

After independence, Nigeria will largely be judged by the quality of the representation overseas, its diplomatic service. It is very easy to say that Nigeria should only be represented by the best; it is rather more difficult to define what the best is. In determining the qualifications for the new service, government has these considerations in mind: first, the candidate should be well educated; second, he must be or should be trained to be a civil servant divorced from politics, and third, he must acquire proficiency in languages.

Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (27 February, 1958)

As stated in the article Appointing Nigerian Ambassadors (2016), Nigerian ambassadors are official envoys, the highest ranking diplomats who represent the country and are usually accredited to another sovereign country/state, or to an international organization as resident representatives of the government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment.

Furthermore, the crucial image and responsibility bestowed on Nigerian ambassadors was succinctly described by Nigeria’s current Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama; “In understanding the role, functions and procedures of appointing ambassadors, an ambassador is an extension of the President in a country,.. and who the President believes will best represent him…”

Indeed, such an honour, privilege and enormous responsibility!

An honour that requires knowledge and understanding of the Nigerian national identity of which the Nigerian national symbols are the cornerstones.

Last year (2016) however saw a recurring incident in which ambassadorial nominees screened before the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari were unable to confidently display their knowledge of the Nigerian national symbols notably the national anthem and pledge and in most instances required the intervention or assistance of the panelists. This national blunders goes beyond the debate of appointing career and non-career diplomats as ambassadors, which could be attributed to genuine ignorance, panic/fear of the occasion, lack of self-confidence, lack of a true patriotic spirit, unpreparedness, etc.

Significantly, such dramas questions the quality of Nigeria’s representation overseas; the knowledge and patriotism of its accredited foreign representatives; the state of our education considering that from the cradle we are taught and exposed to the national symbols; the standard measurement of treatment between when a Primary 5 student fails to recite the anthem or pledge and when a nominated ambassador does same; institutional effectiveness considering if all Nigerians not just foreigners display basic knowledge of the Nigerian national symbols before obtaining the Nigerian passport; as well as a lot of other questions.

Nigerian National Symbols & Ambassadors: Your Opinion!

Therefore, from your experiences, insights, observations and understanding of the importance of the Nigerian national symbols, do you believe that it is mandatory for nominated and accredited Nigerian diplomats and ambassadors to know and understand the Nigerian national symbols?

Knowledge of Nigerian national symbols should be mandatory in appointing ambassadors?

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*This piece was first researched and written by Toju Micheal Ogbe on the 7th of January, 2017 and was last modified on the 19th of August, 2019 by Toju Micheal Ogbe.

Diplomatic Qualities of a Nigerian Diplomat

The qualities of a Nigerian diplomat are distinct, honourable and indeed learnable. A Nigerian diplomat is an individual appointed by the Federal Republic of Nigeria to conduct international or diplomatic relations and negotiations with one or more other states or international organisations on behalf of the country. Such important responsibility and honour requires adequate preparation, distinctive qualities, attributes, characteristics and skills to perform excellently in representing the interest(s) of the country effectively.

Nigerian diplomatqualities of a Nigerian diplomat






The following are recommended diplomatic qualities of a Nigerian diplomat.

Be Patriotic

In the discharge of his or her duties, every Nigerian diplomat must be patriotic enough to love the country – Nigeria and be ready to promote and defend the country’s interests and set goals. It is important to recommend at this point that a Nigerian diplomat must be able to define his or her personal political ideology and consider how compatible it is with those which he or she is to represent before accepting this significant responsibility. This is important to avoid any unforeseeable professional dissatisfaction and treachery.

Be Passionate

To be a successful diplomat, have an enduring interest in and passion for the technique and profession of international relations and diplomacy – you have to be excited by the engagements of the international community and openness to understand world affairs.

Be Knowledgeable

Relevant history, geography, law, religion, economics, politics, sociology, philosophy, language and literature, media and communication are all very important disciplines that should make up the knowledge base of a successful diplomat. The diplomat is an inter-disciplinary professional and should be well informed with the understanding that these various inter-related disciplines does illuminate choices and prove valuable in providing answers to central questions of policy formulation and implementation. Relevant knowledge about Nigeria is also very crucial.

Be Factual, Analytical & Objective

As a diplomat, it is hugely beneficial to consistently convey a good sense of judgement and reason by possessing an intelligent and sound mind of patiently examining relevant facts available within your reach before deciding and pursing on a set course of action. In other words, always pay attention to detail.

Be a Good Communicator

It is a very important skill for a diplomat to be able to effectively communicate his or her positions to relevant audience both verbally and in writing. Due to the increasingly dynamic environment in which the diplomat operates, he or she must continuously, be conscious to quickly and smartly process information, listen attentively, be clear, brief, and maintain a friendly ambience. It is also very rewarding for the diplomat to be learn, understand and interact in the primary language of the host country especially if this language differs from the diplomat’s natural language.

Be Teachable and Dynamic

All through the career of a diplomat is a constant learning experience, which must be quickly embraced to be able to perform at an optimal level. Regular travels, different cultures and peoples with unique perspectives, extraordinary assignments, etc. would be encountered by the diplomat and therefore has to be teachable, dynamic and flexible.

Be Professional

The Nigerian diplomat as a professional must be disciplined, honest, truthful, courageous, accountable, hardworking, respectful, tolerant, polite, courteous as well as exemplify diplomatic behaviour and protocol.

Be an Effective Negotiator

In the international environment, at the very least, every diplomat has a principal duty to promote the interests of his or her country or state and as such expected to be able to tactfully try to reach an agreement or compromise by discussion with other diplomats or foreign government representatives. It is not a kill-zone and should not be looked to or treated as such rather, be open to seek for a win-win solution and maintain awareness of beneficial opportunities towards the negotiated issue considering first, the clear line(s) to be maintained guided by the diplomat’s national interest. Thus, a Nigerian diplomat must be conversant with various useful and positive negotiation techniques to be able to achieve his set aim and agenda.

Be Physically and Mentally Fit

With the huge responsibility of a diplomat and the associated pressures, being fit physically and mentally with convenient exercises is highly recommended to be in good health, sound mind and resilient spirit.

Qualities of a Nigerian Diplomat: Your Opinion!

Therefore, from your experiences, insights, observations and understanding of the qualities of a Nigerian diplomat, do you believe Nigerian diplomats currently possess the appropriate diplomatic qualities?

Nigerian diplomats have appropriate diplomatic qualities

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Visa Application Fees in Nigeria

Applicable visa application fees in Nigeria and in most parts of the world are a major requirement towards processing the travel requests of Nigerians (immigrants and non-immigrants) to other countries.

visa application fees in Nigeria

To understand the importance and administrative process of obtaining a (travel) visa, is to appreciate it as a permission – commonly a sticker endorsed in the applicant’s passport or other travel document, granted by a country through its proper embassy or local consulates to a foreigner to enter and stay (temporarily or permanently), or to leave that country (also referred to as an exit visa).

This means that to be granted a visa to enter most countries, a request or application must be presented seeking the required permission or authorization to enter a country. This application is to assess one’s eligibility to be granted this permission based on the certain stated conditions or criteria to be fulfilled. An important aspect of such application process almost first commences with the payment of the applicable visa application fees. These fees cover for the administrative costs involved in processing the application by the embassy or consulate and also to an extent show the commitment of the intending traveller towards fulfilling the visa requirements.

Nevertheless, such first show of commitment through paying the visa application fees might not be enough as numerous Nigerians seeking entry to different countries for different purposes are denied visas due to various reasons – some are communicated to improve the applicant’s re-application while depressingly and unjustly, some are not communicated. If denied a visa, the situation even becomes more unfortunate when such applicants ‘realise or remember’ that some countries’ embassies or consulates have a non-refundable, non-transferable and good for only one application policy on visa application fees even though some of these fees are comparatively; low, average and high (depending to an extent on the type of visa being requested or applied for, your country of citizenship and your current location).

The refund policy on visa application fees of most embassies or consulates in Nigeria varies with for example, that of the United States of America (USA), Republic of India and Republic of South Africa (RSA) as non-refundable and non-transferable; the United Kingdom  as non-refundable and refundable if your application has not been processed yet; Canada as non-refundable once processing of application commences and refundable if your application is returned to you because it was incomplete or application was made before a program opens or after a program closed; Federal Republic of Germany as non-refundable but under certain conditions there might be a reduction / exemption from the general visa fee – however, these circumstances are checked by the visa officer during the submission of the application.

Therefore, from your experiences, insights, observations and understanding of visa application fees in Nigeria, do you believe the refund policy of visa application fees should be refundable, non-refundable, or partially refundable (payment in 2 installments – second and final payment made after a visa is granted)?

What should the visa application fee refund policy in Nigeria be?

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