Nigeria’s Flag Designer Dies at Eighty-seven.


Micheal Taiwo Akinkunmi, commonly referred to as Mr. Flag Man was a Nigerian Civil servant best known as the Nigerian Flag designer. Taiwo, the older of a set of twins was born in Ibadan on May 10 1936  but originally hails from Abeokuta in Ogun State.


He relocated to the North when he was 8 years old and began his early education there. After his father retired, he came back to the West and re-enrolled at Baptist Day School, Idi-Ikan in Ibadan. He finished there in 1949 and proceeded to Ibadan Grammar School in 1950 where he enjoyed a very good education, leaving in 1955. 


He took an appointment as an agriculturist at the Western Region Secretariat in Ibadan as a civil servant. He worked there for years before gaining admission to the Norwood Technical College, currently known as Lambeth College in London where he studied electrical engineering. 


He designed the Nigerian flag while still studying at Norwood Technical College. He came back to Nigeria in 1963, returning to the agricultural department at the secretariat in Ibadan, and continued where he stopped.


He worked as a civil servant till 1994 when he was hired as the Assistant Superintendent of Agriculture. He was honored as an officer of the Order of the Federal Republic and honorary life presidential adviser on 29 September 1994 at the Abuja Conference Center. He has also been honored with the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award by President Goodluck Jonathan. He got married and had kids of his own.


Taiwo came across the competition to design the red flag in a library and he entered it. In 1958, his design was selected as the best among those that entered the competition; in his own words “I took details of what is [to be] expected to design a flag that would be used by a country that was about to witness [its] independence”. Micheal Taiwo Akinkunmi unveiled the world’s largest national flag in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.


The original design of the flag is the usual green, white, and green featuring a red sun with streaming rays on the white band. The overseeing committee in charge of the flag eventually did away with the sun to produce the present design. Taiwo’s design was selected because of its ingenuity and profundity; the representation of the forests and natural wealth of the country, and the representation of peace. He was awarded 100 pounds by the government when his design was selected and the flag was officially hoisted on Independence Day instead of the British Union Jack. 


Pa Akinkunmi died on the 29th of August, 2023 at the age of 87. His son, Samuel Akinkunmi announced his death on Wednesday, 30th of August, in a recent post where he wrote “Life is indeed transient; I can say boldly you lived a life with a landmark. Continue to rest on, my father! Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (O.F.R) Great Man has gone.”


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