Nationalism can be defined as a certain form of unity which grows out of historical experience. It is the sense of oneness that emerges from social groups, trying to control their destiny, environment and defend their interest against competing groups.
National identity is based on history, culture and often language. Nationalism can be seen as the defence of this identity, the defence of the rights of a nation to remain or become a recognized entity. It can be classed as standing against the forces of oppression and tyranny.
National consciousness is being aware or able to understand what is happening in your nation and how they affect oneself and other individuals in the nation. A good citizen in a nation will always consider what he/she needs to do to make his/her country a better place to live.
This can be defined as having sound mind completely to value what the nation has. Citizens must value what the nation has to bring progress to that nation. When every citizen, reason together with a sound mind about developing their nation, there will be existence of unity.
This can be seen as an act of persuading people to believe and work together to make the idea of national consciousness and integrity to be registered in the minds of individuals. To promote national unity, there should be constant practice and efforts to correct those that flout the honour that the nation deserves.
Ways of Promoting National Consciousness, Integrity and Unity in the Society
1) Tolerating one Another: This means the willingness or a way of allowing people to do what they want to say without criticizing or punishing them.
2) Living in Harmony: People should live with good understanding of themselves, no fighting or disagreement with one another.
3) Patriotism of the Citizens: This refers to one’s love towards his country or nation. A patriotic citizen will wish his country well.
4) Showing Hospitality: That is where the citizens exhibit friendly behaviour towards their visitors in a nation.
5) Inter-Marriage: When people of different ethnic background engage in inter-tribal marriage, it fosters unity among them.
6) There Should be no Discrimination: A country that is devoid of discrimination on the basis of tribe, language or any other matter and citizens see themselves as fellow brothers and sisters will promote love and unity.
ROLES OF NATIONALIST LEADERS
1) They help to put an end to colonial rule in Nigeria and other countries that were colonised at one period or another.
2) They help to gain political and economic freedom from the British and French colonial rule.
3) They help to train the leaders that took the mantle of leadership after them.
4) Their activities enhances the educational development of Nigeria e.g. Yaba College of Technology (1934) and University of Ibadan (1948) were established due to their agitation.
5) They enhanced the participation of people in politics and decision making process of their communities.
6) They helped in the formation of political parties e.g. NNDP, NCNC, AG, NPC etc.
7) They caused constitutional changes. The nationalists always points out the weaknesses of each constitution and as they criticized such constitution they forced such to be changed.
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