By John Ikani
Pa. Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (OFR), the creative mind behind Nigeria’s iconic flag, has died at the age of 93.
Pa. Akinkunmi’s passing occurred during the early hours of Tuesday following a brief bout of illness.
The news of his departure was shared through his child’s Facebook account, with a heartfelt message that acknowledged his significant contributions to nation-building: “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, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Pa Akinwumi resided in Ibadan until his passing.
His educational journey included attending Baptist Day Secondary School, Ibadan, for his primary education and Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan, for his secondary education.
Commencing his professional career as a Civil Servant at the Secretariat of Ibadan, he later pursued his studies in Agricultural Engineering at Norway Technical College.
During his time abroad in 1958, Pa Akinkunmi chanced upon a national daily advertisement seeking designs for Nigeria’s national flag, as the country approached independence from British governance.
Among the approximately 2,000 submissions, his entry was crowned the best.
The initial design showcased a white band flanked by two green ones, with a red sun accompanied by rays gracing the white band.
The sun was eventually omitted by the overseeing committee, leading to the flag’s present design.
Akinkunmi’s design was chosen for its clever representation: the green bands symbolize the nation’s lush forests and abundant natural resources, while the white band signifies peace.
On the historic day of Nigeria’s independence, October 1, 1960, the flag replaced the British Union Jack and was proudly hoisted.
When his design was selected, Akinkunmi was awarded 100 pounds by the government.
Furthermore, he was bestowed with the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award by President Goodluck Jonathan in recognition of his impactful legacy.