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  • News - North Central - FCT
  • Updated: May 12, 2024

Taiwo Akinkunmi: Yoruba group petitions Tinubu over delay in burial of national flag designer

Taiwo Akinkunmi: Yoruba group petitions Tinubu over delay in

The Yoruba World Congress Worldwide, YWC, has penned a petition to President Bola Tinubu concerning the delayed burial of the late Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi, OFR, the renowned designer of Nigeria's flag.

In an open letter addressed to Tinubu, the group urged the President to intervene and ensure the deceased receives a timely burial.

The letter, shared with journalists on Sunday, was signed by YWC Vice President, Engineer Adekunle Ogundana.

Late Pa Akinkunmi, hailing from Abeokuta in Ogun state but residing in Ibadan, Oyo State, passed away on August 29, 2023, with his body currently in a morgue in Ibadan.

Akinkunmi's design was chosen as the winning entry in 1958 during a competition for Nigeria's new national flag design as the country approached independence from colonial rule.

Following his demise, a delegation from the Federal Government led by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammad Idris, visited the Akinkunmi family in Ibadan, assuring them of government support.

Additionally, the Oyo State Government conveyed its condolences through a letter from the office of the Executive Governor, Engineer Seyi Makinde.

However, despite these assurances, the deceased has yet to be buried, prompting YWC to implore Tinubu to address the matter urgently.

According to information from the family, they have been footing a daily mortuary bill of =N=2,000.00 without government assistance.

Describing Akinkunmi as a national hero, YWC emphasized the importance of giving him a proper burial and urged Tinubu to facilitate prompt action for the family's peace of mind.

The open letter reads, "This open letter is for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to personally look into this issue as a matter of urgency. The designer of the flag of Nigeria Late Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (OFR) (Mr Flag Man) died on the 21st of August 2023 and his body was deposited in a morgue at a location in Ibadan, Oyo State.

"His design was selected as the best in the year 1958 amongst all the presented designs for the competition to get a new national flag design for the country (Nigeria) that was about to get her independence from the Colonial masters.

"Late Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi was a native of Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun State but lived his life in Ibadan. The spokesperson of the Akinkunmi family, Mr Akinkunmi Akinwumi confirmed that the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammad Idris, led a delegation of the Federal Government to visit the family of late Pa Akinkunmi in Ibadan.

"The Minister promised that the Nigerian government would stand by the family. The Oyo State Government also sent their condolence letter from the office of the Executive Governor, signed by the Amiable Governor Engr. ‘Seyi Makinde.

"It was also gathered that the Senate has asked the Federal Government to immortalize the designer of the Nigerian national flag, late Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi. The resolution of the Red Chamber was sequel to a motion sponsored via Point of Order on the matter of national importance in one of the house plenary sessions by Senator Sharafadeen Alli (APC, Oyo South) and seconded by Senator Sadiq Umar (APC, Kwara North), who noted that the late Pa Akinkunmi should be immortalised with a national honour.

"The Senate President Godswill Akpabio in his remarks, directed members of the upper legislative chamber to observe a one-minute silence in honour of the designer of the national flag, late Pa Taiwo Akinkunmi.

"The deceased family had planned the burial for the 7th and 8th of December 2023 for the burial but it was annulled by the Oyo State Government on the ground that there was no representation from the Government to confirm the date chosen by the family.

"It was also confirmed by the family spokesperson, that a meeting was held on 29th November 2023 by the Oyo State House of Assembly with the family representatives of late Pa Akinkunmi. Where it was concluded that the Oyo State Government (which has been inconclusive) would communicate a suitable date for the late icon’s burial to the family through a committee set up by the government.

"Since his death on 21st August 2023, the family made it known that they have been paying =N=2,000.00 (Two Thousand Naira Only) daily as mortuary bill till-date without any support from the government.

"After several attempts by the Akinkunmi family representatives to get the burial done, the Oyo State government representatives further confirmed that Late Pa Akinkunmi’s burial is a state burial and that the government will take charge of the entire programme.

"It was gathered that the Oyo State government requested another date for the late icon’s burial to which the family of the deceased sent April 10, 11 and 12 2024 for the state burial of their late father and national icon, but this date has also lapsed; as all attempts to get to the governor or his representatives were futile.

"This is too much to bear for the family and all loved ones. It is worthy of note that the Nigerian government needs to take care of all identified heroes and play their part in order to encourage citizens to contribute to the nation and be more patriotic.

"Failure of the Nigerian government to step in and do the needful now could cause a national embarrassment to Nigeria as a whole. 

"Late Pa Michael Taiwo Akinkunmi (OFR) was a hero of Yoruba origin who did his best for this country and his body should not be allowed to remain in the mortuary without attention and without a befitting burial.

"By this open letter the Yoruba World Congress (YWC), UK, is calling on the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to urgently look into this matter so that the family can bury their dead and be pacified.

"Yoruba World Congress (YWC) is a socio-cultural organisation of the Yoruba descent worldwide with the responsibility to promote, defend and achieve the collective growth and developmental aspirations and interests, prosperity, security, wellbeing, welfare and sustenance of Yoruba People and culture."

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