Nigeria’s flag designer, Taiwo Akinkunmi dies at 84

THE man who designed the Nigerian Flag, Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (OFR) is dead.

Announcing his death via his Facebook post, his son Akinkunmi Akinwumi Samuel wrote “Life is indeed transient; i can say boldly you live a life with a landmark. Continue to rest on, my father! Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (O.F.R) Great Man has gone”

Although the cause of his death hasn’t been publicly known, the deceased had been nursing an undisclosed illness for quite a long time. According to a report by Al-Jazeera in 2015, the late Akinkunmi couldn’t remember what the doctors diagnosed him with, nor could his son confirm the nature of the illness.

The only symptoms he could remember were recurrent fever. 

Born on May 10, 1936, in Owu, Abeokuta, Ogun state, Akinkunmi attended Baptist Day Secondary School in Ibadan for his primary education and pursued his secondary education at Ibadan Grammar School in the same city.

While he was studying engineering at Norwood Technical College in London in 1959, he saw a newspaper advert calling on people for submission of designs for the Nigerian national flag in view of the imminent Independence from British governance.

His design triumphed among over two thousand entries submitted as part of a competition to create the nation’s finest flag.

However, it wasn’t until October 1, 1960, when Nigeria gained independence from Britain, that this flag officially became the Nigerian National flag.

Akinkunmi was awarded 100 pounds, equal to $ 281, by the government when his design was selected.

In the October 2010 celebrations marking Nigeria’s golden jubilee, Akinkunmi was bestowed with a presidential award in recognition of his distinguished status as a Nigerian.

Subsequently, in 2014, he received the National Honours Award of Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) during the administration of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

The former president, while conferring him with the national honour award, also announced his appointment as a Special Assistant, with a salary for life.

Speaking at an event unveiling the world’s largest national flag in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital in 2021, Akinkunmi said the journey to creating Nigeria’s national flag started about sixty-three years ago when he was studying electrical engineering at Norwood Technical College in London.

He added that: “I have always dreamt about Nigeria being at the front of every good thing and I’m delighted to be part of this historical event.”

Also, in one of the interview he had, one memory that didn’t forsake him was the support he received from Nigerians. “I was well-known all over the place,” he says. “Everybody was calling me Mr Flag Man.”

Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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