Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi (OFR), the man who designed Nigeria’s national flag, has passed away at the age of 87 in his Ibadan home. His family announced that he died on Tuesday, August 29, after a short illness.
The news of his death was shared by one of his children on Facebook, who wrote, “Life is indeed transient; I can say boldly that you live a life with a landmark. Continue to rest, my father! Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (O.F.R.): Great Man has gone.”
Born on May 10, 1936, Akinkunmi attended Baptist Day Secondary School for his primary education and Ibadan Grammar School for his secondary education. He began his career as a civil servant in Ibadan before traveling abroad to study Agricultural Engineering at Norway Technical College.
In 1958, while he was overseas, Akinkunmi came across an advertisement in a national newspaper calling for designs for Nigeria’s national flag in anticipation of the country’s independence from British rule. Out of approximately 2,000 entries, his design was chosen as the best.
The original design featured a white band flanked by two green ones, with a red sun and streaming rays located on the white band. However, the overseeing committee decided to remove the sun and rays to create the current design.
Akinkunmi’s design was selected for its creativity and symbolism, with the green bands representing the country’s forests and natural resources, and the white band representing peace. The flag was officially raised on Independence Day, October 1, 1960, replacing the British Union Jack.
When his design was chosen, Akinkunmi received a reward of 100 pounds from the government. He was also honored with the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award by President Goodluck Jonathan.