Taiwo Akinkunmi

Young Akinkunmi matching with flag bearers of the flag he designed, at independence Day celebration. Photo: NNP

Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi; born on May 10, 1936 is the designer of the Nigerian national flag. Akinkunmi, who hails from Owu in Abeokuta, Ogun state, attended Baptist Day Secondary School, Ibadan for his primary education and Ibadan Grammar School, Ibadan for his secondary school education. He thereafter took up an appointment as a civil servant at Oyo State Secretariat, Ibadan. After some years of service, he travelled overseas to study Agricultural Engineering at Norway Technical College. In 1958, during his stay abroad, he stumbled on an advertisement in a national daily calling for submission of designs for the Nigerian national flag in view of the imminent Independence from British governance. He immediately began work on his own entry which was eventually selected as best among about 2000 entries submitted. The original design of the flag featured a white band flanked by two green ones; a red sun with streaming rays was located on the white band. The sun was eventually done away with by the overseeing committee to produce the present design.

Akinkunmi’s design was selected because of its ingenuity and profundity (the green bands represent the forests and abundant natural wealth of the country, while the white band represents peace) and he was awarded 100 pounds for a job well-done. The flag was officially hoisted on Independence Day (October 1, 1960) instead of the British Union Jack.

Akinkunmki continued to enjoy the fruit of his patriotic work. To mark his 77th birthday, an organization called G-Next did a home makeover in his Ibadan residence. The project which lasted from 8th to 10th of May 2013 was managed by Practivate. On September 29, 2014, Akinkunmi was awarded Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR)by President Goodluck Jonathan and placed on a salary of Special Assistant to the President for life.

Olubola Adegbosin
Profession: Medical Doctors