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The rearing white horses flanking the shield are symbols of the dignity of this largest and most populous of the new nations south of the Sahara. The animals stand on a green mound bearing depictions in white of the coctus spectabilis, an indigenous wild flower. Above the design a red eagle. symbolizing national strength, perches on a green and white wand, or heraldic wealth. A yellow scroll beneath the emblem carries in black letters the nation's motto "Unity and Faith." The coat of arms was authorized by the British Government in 1960, the year in which Nigeria first became an independent nation under Royal allegiance. Since 1963 the Federation has been an independent republic, at times torn by strife among its tribally and regionally disparate elements but remaining one of the most influential southern African states. A 1959 competition for the design of a new national flag for the emerging Nigeria was won by a twenty-five year old student of the Yoruba tribe, Michael Taiwo Sunday Akinkunmi. The flag is a vertical tricolor of equal width green stripes divided by a white center stripe. Green is symbolic of Nigerian agriculture. The white stands for unity of the country's diverse linguistic and tribal peoples and peace both within the nation and towards its African neighbors.?ÿ?ÿ Symbols Of The Nation, 206

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