Independence Day: Fed Govt to Honour Akinkunmi, 10 Others
The designer of the Nigerian national flag, the late Pa Taiwo Micheal Akinkunmi, and 10 other Nigerian heroes will be honoured with citizenship and patriots award ahead of the country’s 63rd Independent Day celebration on Sunday.
Nigeria got independence from Great Britain on October 1, 1960.
The honours for the national heroes, which will be part of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) efforts to promote civic education in Nigeria, are scheduled for October 5, 2023.
The other awardees are Naval Rating Salaudeen Akano, who hoisted the Nigerian flag at midnight to mark the nation’s Independence in 1960; the late Commander Onwurah Zonyanuno Chiazor, the commandant who issued the order for Salaudeen to hoist the national flag.
Others include John A. Ilechukwu, Eme Etim Akpan, B. A. Ogunnaike, Sota Omoigui, and P. O. Aderibigbe, all of who contributed to the lyrics of the country’s National Anthem.
Also slated for honour is the man who directed the Nigerian Police Band in composing the national anthem, the late Benedict E. Odiase.
Also listed for honour is the woman that created the National Pledge, the late Mrs. Felicia Adebola Adedoyin, and Adewusi, her (Adedoyin’s) friend who introduced her to the President.
Addressing reporters ahead of the event, NOA’s Director-General, Dr. Garba Abari, said September 16 every year has been set aside as the National Symbols Day, and September 30 as Citizens’ and Patriots’ Day.
Abari said the Symbols’ Day marked the date Nigeria’s Coat of Arms and National Ordinance were signed into law in 1960 ahead of Nigeria’s Independence Day.
The day, the NOA boss said, was also used to re-emphasise the need for citizens to handle Nigeria’s national symbols with pride, loyalty, and respect as instruments that represented the sovereignty and presence of Nigeria.
He said: “Nigeria today stands in dire need of an uprising of more patriots to meet the challenging demands of this moment of her history. Never before has this need been more pressing than it is today.
“In the face of the economic difficulties of the time, the persistent ‘Japa’ syndrome among our youth, the disturbing insecurity in parts of the country, and the failure of our power supply systems, Nigeria needs Nigerians to rise up with initiatives that will bring the necessary solutions, even if it is at some personal cost. That is what patriotic citizenship is all about.
“We have consistently campaigned for Nigerians to take pride in our nation, its symbols and people. For us, the task of mobilising the people to become part of the progress of their fatherland is a special task which must be accomplished.
“It is for this reason and in furtherance of our campaign for citizens-inclusive national celebrations that NOA, in 2021, began to collaborate with team ‘HIYA NIGERIA’ to celebrate the National Citizens’ and Patriots’ Day on September 30 to reenact the significance of the unity of Nigerians and, most importantly, restage the 1960 nostalgias that preluded the commemoration of the nation’s Independence Day.
“The events of September 30 and October 5, 2023 marking the 2023 edition of these celebrations are results of this continuing partnership.”