Readers took my last week’s article more seriously than I intended it to be taken. It was alternately serious and tongue-in-cheek. Well, enjoy a sample of the responses below:
I'll say for the first time I disagree with you sir! I may agree with you that the repetition of green colour may be odd, but in my opinion the Nigerian flag is in order. Agreed that the Nigerian flag no longer represents what it is believed to stand for! What I expected you to say is that we should revisit what the Nigerian Flag stands for and portray same in our attitude. I wonder what addition you want! Do you want it to have stars? To me, the green white green is better than the British Union Jack!
Auwal Sani (email@example.com)
To be sincere with you, Prof, when I started reading this, I was like, 'where is Prof heading with today's article?' I really thought it was against our historical artifacts. But as I kept reading, I didn't know when frustration gripped my thoughts. I said to myself: how on earth hasn't any historian thought like you long ago?! Your reasons ended up being so overwhelming. I concur with you, Sir. There has to be a rethink about this 'green-white-green.' As you said, "after all, it's not a sacred symbol." It is a colonial product!
Abdullahi Abubakar, Kano
Since we are no longer an agricultural nation, the green in our flag should be Indian or Thailand flags because we eat their expired rice. Or it should be black for our dependence on crude oil. Since we are no longer peaceful, the white should be changed to red for the blood spilled in Plateau, Yobe, Borno, etc. I will forward this during our constitutional alteration…
Abubakar Mohammed Isa, Bauchi
Your mindset is so avant-garde it will take only a profound thinker like you to reflect on this. The only caveat in the article is the condemnation of that baba whose brainwave was very "futuristic" in his time. At least, his thought process was relevant, albeit parochial; which in the harsh light of modern reality, seems rather simplistic and pedestrian.
Back in the day, I believe many African "intellectuals" lacked the creative imagination to come up with something more poignant and they just resorted to copying each other - Green Red Yellow. Compared to those who designed most of the other African countries' flags, Mr Akinkunmi seems rather original - a welcoming departure from the norm.
However, one can't fault the logic you advance. The colours are no longer symbolic of the actuality that the country has become. Back to the drawing board, then.
Samira Edi, London
Your people from the North are the stumbling block in the way to address the most vital issue -- Sovereign National Convention. Until when that is done, minor issues like flag's re-design will not see the light of the day. Even if done at the expense of SNC, it's a mere papering of a national crack. Gaskiyah!
Omotoso Olalekan, Lagos
I am undoubtedly in support of your argument for our national flag to be changed, but I have few reservations about some points you made in your argument. Firstly about Mr Akinwunmi, the man credited with the design of our current flag. He is old, sick and not different from millions of old people in this country that the government does not care about. Your description of his work as an “uninspiring and irredeemably nondescript esthetic embarrassment” is an insult on that old man and the national flag that deserves our collective respect. The publicity that his condition has generated shows the depth of government neglect of its primary assignment.
Let me be clear again that I understand your message clearly and support it, but the choice of words used in describing the man and his work are clearly unacceptable. This flag, according to you, stands for what we used to have and it is not Mr Akinwunmi that made the groundnut pyramids and the tonnes of cocoa to disappear, neither did he put our country in this present insecurity that threatens our daily existence as a nation.
Anyway, I think you should apologise to Mr Akinwunmi in your column for portraying his good work in a bad view. Albeit we need a national flag that will showcase our identity culture and diversity and this argument should not diminish the original message and its intent, which is CHANGE.
Dr Toluwani Oladele (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Everything in Nigeria is bad, why not the flag? Everything in Nigeria needs changing and the flag, I assure you, is not among the priorities.
Aminu Aliyu Abdulmalik, Kano
This is one of the few pieces you’ve written that I disagreed with. Concerning the designer, I think he deserves commendation rather than condemnation and derision for as long as we continue to hoist the flag he designed. In my opinion, the flag was crafted based on the realities of the time and which are still applicable today if only we can wake up to our responsibilities and re-embrace agriculture for which we have competitive advantage. I would advocate for revision, though such as that which we have seen in the inclusion of new states of American flags.
Sidi Murtala, Sokoto
Any critical mind will agree that flags, as national symbols will, over time, need review and redesign because they are representational depictions. But courtesy demands that Akinkumi be showered some benevolent favors and mercy for the simple fact that he is the author of our half-century national pride. It takes a discerning mind to probe such a simple but unnoticed subject-matter.
Abdulmalik Mustapha Abbamaina, Maiduguri