Taiwo Akinkunmi, the visionary mind behind Nigeria’s national flag, has passed away at the age of 87.
The news of his demise was shared by his son, Samuel Akinkunmi, on August 30, 2023, through a heartfelt post on Facebook. Akinkunmi’s legacy as the creator of Nigeria’s iconic flag design will endure, as he leaves behind a remarkable life.
Born on May 10, 1936, in Owu, Abeokuta, Ogun State, he attended Baptist Day Secondary School and Ibadan Grammar School, later embarking on a civil service career at the Ibadan secretariat. His journey led him overseas, where he pursued Agricultural Engineering studies at Norway Technical College.
In 1958, while abroad, he responded to a national newspaper advertisement calling for flag designs in anticipation of Nigeria’s upcoming independence from British rule. His design, chosen from approximately 2000 submissions, featured green bands symbolizing the nation’s lush forests and natural wealth, flanking a white band representing peace.
Although the original design included a red sun with rays, this element was omitted by the committee overseeing the project. On October 1, 1960, Independence Day, Akinkunmi’s flag design replaced the British Union Jack, becoming a symbol of Nigeria’s sovereignty.
His exceptional ingenuity earned him recognition, including a government award of 100 pounds and the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award from President Goodluck Jonathan.
His contributions were commemorated by a Christian organization, G-Next, who transformed his Ibadan home for his 77th birthday.
As Taiwo Akinkunmi departs, his enduring legacy lives on in the flag that represents the nation’s identity.