Every country in the world has its unique set of symbols that help the nation learn about their identity. National symbols like an anthem, currency, coat of arms, and others can tell the whole history of a country with just a few strokes.
One of the most impressive national symbols of Nigeria is the Nigerian flag. Learn more about the flag, its history, and find out who designed the Nigerian national flag right now!
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1. Nigeria flag history
The history of the Nigerian flag dates back to 1959 when the Nigerian government held a public contest to find the best possible design for the new national flag. The contest drew attention from professional and amateur artists from all over the country.
The winning entry was submitted by Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi, a then-23-year-old electrical engineering student. Mr. Akinkunmi came from the Ibadan region and studied in London. When his national flag design was named the best one, in addition to the praise from the audience, Michael also got a cash prize.
2. What happened next?
Now you know who designed the national flag of Nigeria, but the story doesn’t end there. For a while, Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi prospered thanks to his money prize from the flag contest, but soon his financial state started to deteriorate, and he spent the next several decades on the verge of poverty.
Luckily, the Nigerian people didn’t forget the hero who gave the nation its official flag. Nigerians found out about the poor living conditions of Mr. Akinkunmi and campaigned for a change. As a result, the former president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, awarded Akinkunmi with a lifetime salary for his achievements.
Currently, the man who designed the Nigerian flag lives in Ibadan and leads a very humble life. He says he is happy with what he has and the support of the public, and he couldn’t wish for anything more.
3. Nigeria flag meaning
It’s worth noting that even though Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi’s flag design was used for the final version, the board presiding over the contest made a few changes in the original sketch. This is what the flag originally looked like.
And this is what the official flag looks like today.
It’s clear that the only element gone from the original design is the red sun. However, the central white stripe and the two side green stripes remained unchanged.
There are several ways to think of the flag design. Most commonly, the white stripe is referred to as the Niger river, and the green stripes are the countryside bisected by the river. However, the white stripe also symbolizes the national desire for peace and unity, while the green stripes stand for Nigeria’s fertile land.
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