Thursday, 1 October 2020


The Nigerian Coat of Arms with Unity and Faith motto

There is no history book before today that recorded who designed the Nigeria Coat of Arms. All over goggle and Wikipedia there are wrong information about who designed the Nigeria Coat of Arms, in some places they wrote Mr Taiwo Akinkumi while in other places they wrote Rev. Dr Hervis L. Bain Jr, Some of the sites even lay claimed that it was General David Ejoor, these information are wrong. 

the current Coat of Arms with the modification of the motto

Mr Taiwo Akinkumi, only designed the flag, so he told me himself when I visited him, on the other hand Rev. Dr Hervis L. Bain Jr designed the coat of arms of his country Bahamas in 1975, while the Nigerian Coat of Arms had been in existence since 1960. It is also not General David Ejoor for he only designed the then ‘new’ army uniform, the cap, badge and rank insignias according to his autobiography 'Reminiscences'.

The seal of the Nigerian President with the Coat of Arms

Dr Raphael James the DG of the Center For Research, Information and Media Development (CRIMMD) been researching since 2013, today we are happy to announce to Nigerians that in collaboration with our United Kingdom Representative Mr John Redhead, we have unraveled who designed the coat of Arms. 

Nigerian International Pass Port with the Coat of Arms

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 Sir James Robertson liaised with the General Officer Commanding the Nigerian Army, Major General M. L. Forster to get a capable person to head the Independence celebration 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 a national anthem, a national flag and a letter was sent to the College of Arms in 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, won her entry with titled "NIGERIA WE HAIL THEE". The music for her entry was composed by Frances Brenda. The anthem ran from October 1, 1960 - September 30, 1978.

For the flag the Colonial Government placed an advert in the newspaper requesting for entries for a new flag to replace the Colonial 'Union Jack' for the new Nigeria. Mr Taiwo Akinkunmi an Ibadan born, twenty three year old, electrical engineering student of Norwood Technical College in London, 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 green represents agriculture while the white represents unity and peace. The red star, represented divine protection and guidance. The committee for the flag, liked his entry, accepted it as the winning entry but dropped the red radiating sun that was in the middle, and Nigeria got a flag.  

A 1961 Nigerian stamp with the Coat of Arms

Colonel E.A. Hefford on February 11, 1960 wrote a letter on behalf of Nigeria to The College of Arms, 130 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4BT, requesting the institution to send a draft for approval of a coat of Arms for the soon to be independent Nigeria.

A copy of the Nigerian constitution with the Coat of Arms

Messrs Beverley Pick Associated of 118 Charing Cross Road, prepared the draft ‘Coat of Arms’ for the Federation of Nigeria, while preparing it, they obviously took into consideration the Lord Frederic Lugard design of interlaced triangles far back in 1913 in preparation of Amalgamation when he brought in the North and the South together as one with the silver bars in the center of our map.

The draft was approved by the Garter Principal King of Arms of the College of Arms, 130 Queen Victoria Street, London, the draft was approved by the Royal Warrant on May 1960 (Coll. Arms 182.185) and the design was sent over to the Independence Celebration office in Ikoyi before it was sent over to the Sir James Robertson, His Excellency the Governor General of Nigeria who then signed it into law on September 16, 1960, when he admitted the Coat of Arms Ordinance Act Number 48 of 1960, thereby providing Nigeria with a coat of Arms. 14 days to Nigeria independence. 

A page from Daily Times of April of 1972 on the Coat of Arms

The Nigerian Coat of Arms was designed by Messrs Beverley Pick Associated, London.

In a letter from the College of Arms office to Colonel E.A. Hefford the Officer in charge of the Nigeria Independence Celebrations, the college of Arms wrote:

“Messrs Beverley Pick Associated of 118 Charing Cross Road, have prepared a draft Coat of Arms for the Federation of Nigeria to use when this country attains Independence within the Commonwealth on 1st October 1960. I have requested this firm to approach you, on our behalf, with the request that you will make such adjustments as may be necessary to the present design with a view to obtaining a Royal Warrant is due course.”

“Without using heraldic language, the black shield is meant to represent Nigeria and the silver bars are meant to represent the River Niger and the River Benue their junction and confluence. The ground depicts a common wild flower which grows in most parts of this country. The stallions as supporters 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 explained to you by Beverley Pick Associates.”

a page from Daily Times of 1960 on the Coat of Arms

The first coat of Arms came with the motto ‘Unity and Faith’ but on October 1980 President Shehu Usman Aliyu Kangiwa Shagari (GCFR) recommended among others, a modification in the motto to ‘Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress’ (Coll. Arms Addition to Records 4.76).   

front and back of the 10 kobo 1973 with the Coat of Arms

I wish to commend the United Kingdom Representative of CRIMMD (Center For Research, Information and Media Development) Mr John Redhead, for his massive contribution to the revelation for he was able to reach out to the College of Arms on our behalf to help us get the answer.

Back of 10 kobo 1976 with the Coat of Arms

 As Nigeria mark TOGETHERNESS @ 60, today, I am proud of my little contribution to our history and our purpose as a nation. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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