By ‘Dayo Adu

On Wednesday 30th August 2023, the news of the death of Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi, OFR, the designer of Nigeria’s flag took the media space after it was announced via his son’s Facebook page.

Pa Akinkunmi, who died on 29th August, 2023, designed the green-white-green flag in a competition in 1958 and thereafter unveiled world’s largest national flag in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital in 2021.

The national hero who was fondly called Mr. flag, gifted the nation a symbol of unity in form of the national flag. The London trained Electrical Engineer, attained this feat at age 22.

This made him a rally point, even in death, for ingenuity and intuition in modelling and mobilising the youths for Nigeria’s development.

As an honour for his contribution to nation building, the Federal government conferred on him a national honour of ‘Officer of Order of the Federal Republic, (OFR) in 2014.

On the 4th of September, 2023, President Bola Tinubu sent a federal government delegation led by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris on a condolence visit to the family of the late designer of the national flag at his country home in Elebu area of Ibadan, Oyo state capital.

There, the Minister while paying tribute to “Mr Flag”, on a live television broadcast, announced that this national hero would not be buried like a mean man.

This commitment was also reiterated during the delegate’s meeting with the Oyo state governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Barrister Bayo Lawal at the exco chambers.

Subsequently, the southwest governors, at a meeting with Governor Seyi Makinde in Ibadan pledged that a committee would be commissioned to fashion out a programme of activities for the burial.

Unfortunately, till now, nothing has been done as the lifeless body of Pa Akinkunmi remains in the morgue without any date to foreclose his final journey home.

Eight months since his demise, feelers from the family have it that government is yet to set a committee to plan the burial as the family finds it difficult to arrive at a sole decision to take their father out of the morgue for burial, but only left with the option of settling the monthly mortuary expenses while waiting on government to take action.

From records, whenever, an elder stateman is billed for a state burial, it is usually done within the shortest time frame. At times, it does not take up to a month before the ceremony takes place.

One then begin to wonder why the delay in giving the man whose enduring work has remained the symbol of unity even despite the public declaration by federal and state governments to give him a befitting burial.

What then has been responsible for the delay in giving Mr Flag a befiting burial?

How long will it take the government to organize a ceremony to put the holder of the national honour of Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) to eternal rest?

If the federal government is foot dragging, what of the southwest state governors; are they also incapacitated to carry their acclaimed pride to his place of final rest in pomp and ceremony?

These and many more are questions running in the minds of close watchers.

Going forward, the federal government, Southwest governors, Management of Oodua Investment Company Limited, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, Dawn Commission, are hereby advised to, within the shortest time, remember Mr Flag’s contribution to Nigeria and accord him the deserved final honour on his eternal journey home so as to rightly place him in posterity.

Enough is Enough, Give Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi a Befitting Burial, Let him Rest!

The legislative arm of government should also enact a law stipulating the time frame for setting up a committee and mobilisation of funds to execute burial activities for citizens placed on state burial so as to prevent incidents of their corpses being abandoned in the morgue.

By so doing, this prompt act will rekindle the spirit of statesmanship, selfless service and commitment to nationhood by citizens in their various works of life.


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *