Taiwo Akinkunmi

Taiwo Akinkunmi marching with force men
Taiwo Akinkunmi In 1960 Presenting The National Flag He Designed Photo: Unknown

Taiwo Akinkunmi, born on 10 May, 1936, was 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 education. He took up an appointment as a Civil Servant at Secretariat Ibadan. After some years of service, he travelled overseas to study Agricultural Engineering at Norway Technical College.

In 1958, during his stay abroad, Akinkunmi 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 the roughly 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). The flag was officially hoisted on Independence Day (October 1, 1960) instead of the British Union Jack.

Akinkunmi was awarded 100 pounds by the government when his design was selected. He has also been honoured with the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award by President Goodluck Jonathan. To mark his 77th birthday, a Christian 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.

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer