The man behind the design of the Nigerian national flag, Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (O.F.R), has died, leaving behind a legacy that has become an enduring symbol of the nation.
His son, Akinkunmi Akinwumi Samuel, announced his father’s demise through a heartfelt Facebook post, noting that Pa Akinkunmi’s life was marked by significant accomplishments.
Akinkunmi Akinwumi Samuel wrote, “Life is indeed transient; I can say boldly you lived a life with a landmark. Continue to rest on, my father! Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (O.F.R) Great Man has gone.”
Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi was born on May 10, 1936, and hailed from Owu in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
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He received his primary education at Baptist Day Secondary School, Ibadan, and later pursued his secondary education at Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan.
After joining the civil service at Secretariat Ibadan, he embarked on further studies overseas, where he specialized in Agricultural Engineering at Norway Technical College.
His most iconic contribution came in 1958 when he saw an advertisement in a national newspaper calling for submissions of designs for the Nigerian national flag, timed to coincide with the country’s impending independence from British governance.
Akinkunmi’s creative vision yielded a design that incorporated three bands: two green bands representing Nigeria’s lush forests and abundant natural resources, flanking a white band symbolizing peace.
A red sun with streaming rays originally adorned the white band. The flag’s design went on to undergo modifications, removing the sun, to become the present-day version that is instantly recognizable as Nigeria’s flag.
His design was chosen from approximately 2,000 entries due to its ingenuity and the meaningful symbolism it conveyed.
The flag, featuring his design, was officially hoisted on Nigeria’s Independence Day, October 1, 1960, replacing the British Union Jack.
Upon the selection of his design, Akinkunmi was awarded 100 pounds by the government.
His contributions have been honored over the years, including the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award bestowed by President Goodluck Jonathan.