In a solemn moment, Nigeria mourns the loss of a great visionary as Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi (OFR), the man behind the design of Nigeria’s national flag, passed away early on Tuesday after a brief illness.
Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi’s death was announced by one of his children on Facebook, where he shared a heartfelt tribute: “Life is indeed transient; I can say boldly that you lived a life with a landmark. Continue to rest, my father! Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (O.F.R.): A great man has gone.”
Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi Biography
Born on May 10, 1936, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi resided in Ibadan until his passing. His educational journey led him to Baptist Day Secondary School, Ibadan, for his primary education, and later to Ibadan Grammar School for his secondary education.
Commencing his career as a Civil Servant at the Secretariat of Ibadan, Pa Akinkunmi’s path eventually led him overseas to pursue studies in Agricultural Engineering at Norway Technical College.
In 1958, during his time abroad, destiny played its hand when Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi stumbled upon an advertisement in a national daily. This call for designs for Nigeria’s national flag in anticipation of the nation’s impending independence from British rule caught his attention.
Among roughly 2,000 entries, his design stood out as the best. His original design featured a white band flanked by two green ones, with a red sun and streaming rays positioned on the white band. Though the overseeing committee later removed the sun to create the present flag design, Akinkunmi’s creation was selected due to its ingenuity and deep symbolism. The green bands symbolized the country’s lush forests and abundant natural resources, while the white band signified peace.
On Nigeria’s Independence Day, October 1, 1960, the flag that bore Akinkunmi’s design was officially raised, replacing the British Union Jack.
His achievement did not go unrecognized, as the government awarded him 100 pounds when his design was chosen. Furthermore, President Goodluck Jonathan honored him with the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award.
The legacy of Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi as the visionary behind Nigeria’s iconic flag design remains an enduring symbol of the nation’s unity, diversity, and resilience. As Nigeria bids farewell to this exceptional individual, his impact on the country’s identity continues to shine brightly.