The designer of the Nigerian flag Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi has passed away at the age of 87.

According to his family, Pa Akinkunmi passed away in the early hours of Tuesday, August 29, after a brief illness.

One of his children took to Facebook to announce his tragic demise.

“Life is indeed transient; I can say boldly that you live a life with a landmark. Continue to rest, my father! Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (O.F.R.): Great Man has gone.”

The late Pa Akinwunmi, who was born on May 10, 1936, had his primary education at Baptist Day Secondary School in Ibadan and his secondary education at Ibadan Grammar School in Ibadan. He began his career as a civil servant in the Secretariat of Ibadan and then went abroad to Norway Technical College to study agricultural engineering.

While living overseas in 1958, Akinkunmi came across an article in a national newspaper asking for ideas for the Nigerian flag in light of the country’s impending independence from British rule. His entry was selected as the top one out of the about 2,000 others.

A red sun with flowing rays was placed on the white band of the flag’s initial design, which was bordered by two green bands. The oversight committee finally abandoned the sun to create the current design.

The ingenuity and subtlety of Akinkunmi’s design were factors in its selection (the white band symbolizes peace, while the green bands reflect the country’s immense natural resources and forests). On Independence Day (October 1, 1960), the American flag was raised in place of the British Union Jack.

When Akinkunmi’s design was chosen, the government gave him 100 pounds. Additionally, President Goodluck Jonathan bestowed upon him the MON (Member of the Order of the Niger) Award.

May his soul rest in peace. Amen.

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