By John Silas
There is no history bookbefore today that recorded who designed the Nigeria Coat of Arms. All overgoggle and Wikipedia there are wrong information about who designed the NigeriaCoat of Arms, in some places they wrote Mr Taiwo Akinkumi while in other placesthey wrote Rev. Dr Hervis L. Bain Jr, Some of the sites even lay claimed thatit was General David Ejoor, these information are wrong.
Mr Taiwo Akinkumi, only designed the flag, so he told mehimself when I visited him, on the other hand Rev. Dr Hervis L. Bain Jrdesigned the coat of arms of his country Bahamas in 1975, while the NigerianCoat of Arms had been in existence since 1960. It is also not General DavidEjoor for he only designed the then ‘new’ army uniform, the cap, badge and rankinsignias according to his autobiography ‘Reminiscences’.
Dr Raphael James the DG of the Center For Research,Information and Media Development (CRIMMD) been researching since 2013, todaywe are happy to announce to Nigerians that in collaboration with our United KingdomRepresentative Mr John Redhead, we have unravelled who designed the coat ofArms.
On October 27th, 1958 Britain (the Colonial Government)agreed that Nigeria would become an independent country on October 1st, 1960.In preparation of Nigeria independence the Governor General of Nigeria SirJames Robertson liaised with the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army,Major General M. L. Forster to get a capable person to head the Independencecelebration committee and the baton fell on Colonel E.A. Hefford.An office was set up at number 34/36 Ikoyi Road, Lagos.
Colonel Hefford made open request for entries for anational anthem, a national flag and a letter was sent to the College of Armsin London requesting for a draft for the Coat of arms.
For the national anthem, the entry by LILLIAN JEAN WILLIAMS, a British expatriate who lived in Nigeria, wonher entry with titled “NIGERIA WE HAIL THEE”. The music for her entrywas composed by Frances Brenda. The anthem ran from October 1, 1960 – September30, 1978.
For the flag the Colonial Government placed an advert inthe newspaper requesting for entries for a new flag to replace the Colonial’Union Jack’ for the new Nigeria. Mr Taiwo Akinkunmi an Ibadan born, twentythree year old, electrical engineering student of Norwood Technical College inLondon, while reading in a library saw the advert and he sent in his entry of a’red radiating sun badge in the center of three horizontal sizes of green,white and a green colours. Its width to length ratio was 1 to 2. The greenrepresents agriculture while the white represents unity and peace. The redstar, represented divine protection and guidance. The committee for the flag,liked his entry, accepted it as the winning entry but dropped the red radiatingsun that was in the middle, and Nigeria got a flag.
Colonel E.A. Heffordon February 11, 1960 wrote a letter on behalf of Nigeria to The College ofArms, 130 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4BT, requesting the institutionto send a draft for approval of a coat of Arms for the soon to be independentNigeria.
Messrs Beverley Pick Associated of 118 Charing Cross Road,prepared the draft ‘Coat of Arms’ for the Federation of Nigeria, whilepreparing it, they obviously took into consideration the Lord Frederic Lugarddesign of interlaced triangles far back in 1913 in preparation of Amalgamationwhen he brought in the North and the South together as one with the silver bars in the center of ourmap.
The draft was approved by the Garter Principal King ofArms of the College of Arms, 130 Queen Victoria Street, London, the draft wasapproved by the Royal Warrant on May 1960 (Coll. Arms 182.185) and the designwas sent over to the Independence Celebration office in Ikoyi before it wassent over to the Sir James Robertson, His Excellency the Governor General ofNigeria who then signed it into law on September 16, 1960, when he admitted theCoat of Arms Ordinance Act Number 48 of 1960, thereby providing Nigeria with acoat of Arms. 14 days to Nigeria independence.
The Nigerian Coat of Arms was designed by Messrs BeverleyPick Associated, London.
In a letter from theCollege of Arms office to Colonel E.A. Hefford the Officer in charge of the NigeriaIndependence Celebrations, the college of Arms wrote:
“Messrs Beverley Pick Associated of 118 Charing Cross Road, haveprepared a draft Coat of Arms for the Federation of Nigeria to use when thiscountry attains Independence within the Commonwealth on 1st October1960. I have requested this firm to approach you, on our behalf, with therequest that you will make such adjustments as may be necessary to the presentdesign with a view to obtaining a Royal Warrant is due course.”
“Without using heraldic language, the black shield is meant torepresent Nigeria and the silver bars are meant to represent the River Nigerand the River Benue their junction and confluence. The ground depicts a commonwild flower which grows in most parts of this country. The stallions assupporters and the eagle as a Crest are both common in many parts of Nigeria.The National Colours of Nigeria are green and white and this will be explainedto you by Beverley Pick Associates.”
The first coat of Armscame with the motto ‘Unity and Faith’ but on October 1980 President Shehu UsmanAliyu Kangiwa Shagari (GCFR) recommended amongothers, a modification in the motto to ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress’ (Coll.Arms Addition to Records 4.76).
As Nigeria mark TOGETHERNESS @ 60, today, I am proud of mylittle contribution to our history and our purpose as a nation. God bless theFederal Republic of Nigeria.