One of the most glaring symbols of Nigeria as a nation is the ‘green-white-green’; colours of the Nigerian flag. Without a doubt, the history of Nigeria could be regarded as incomplete without a mention of the flag; more so, the list of Nigeria’s heroes cannot be regarded as comprehensive without a mention of the designer of the Nigerian Flag, Michael Taiwo Akinwunmi.
Taiwo Akinwunmu and the Green-White-Dream
At the age of 23, Michael Taiwo Akinwunmi qualified to become a National Hero; a timeless Nigerian Hero. Though it wasn’t a story of saving someone from harms’ way, Taiwo Akinwunmi walked into the Heroes Hall of Fame by gifting Nigeria with the National Symbol of the National Flag; the Green and White. As a student of the Norwood Technical College in London, Michael Taiwo Akinwunmi stumbled upon a newspaper advert, calling for submissions for a design of the Nigerian Flag. The promised remuneration was about 100 British pounds (about 281 dollars in 1959). Taiwo Akinwunmi’s submission eventually got selected and the green-white-green became, well, the ‘green-white-green’ which stands out anywhere, anyday. It is however important to note that the initial submission of Michael Taiwo Akinwunmi had a red sun badge in the middle white band of the flag. The panel of judges however decided to remove the red sun badge and the flag has remained unchanged ever since.
Taiwo Akinwunmi and the Long Journey
Pa Michael Taiwo Akinwunmi was born in Ibadan, Oyo state, but relocated, at the age of eight, to begin his early education in the Northern part of Nigeria. He eventually relocated back to the West after his father’s retirement and was re-enrolled in Baptist Day School, Idi-Ikan Ibadan. After finishing in 1949, He proceeded to the Ibadan Grammar School (IGS) in 1950. After his time at Ibadan Grammar School in 1955, he took up an appointment in the civil service as an Agriculturist at the Western Region Secretariat in Ibadan. It was hereafter, that Michael Taiwo Akinwunmi left Nigeria for London to study towards being an Engineer; a time which became the defining moment of his ascent towards national Heroics.
The flag of Nigeria was designed in 1959 and first officially hoisted on the 1st of October 1960. The flag has three vertical bands of green, white and green. The Nigerian flag is a vertical bicolor triband of Green, White and Green. The two green stripes represent Nigeria’s natural wealth, while the white band represents peace.
Pa Michael Taiwo Akinwunmi returned to Nigeria from London in 1963, and resumed with the Agricultural Department at the Secretariat in Ibadan to continue from where he stopped. He worked in this department until his retirement in 1994 as the Assistant Superintendent of Agriculture.
On September 20014, Pa Akinwunmi was honored with the National honour of the Officer of the Order of the Federal Rebublic of Nigeria (OFR) and Honorary Life Presidential Adviser, on a salary scale of about 800,000 thousand naira monthly pay at that time at the conference centre in Abuja.
Featured image source: therenaissanceng.com