Chief Sunday Awoniyi (1932-2007)

Sunday Bolorunduro Awoniyi, CON, was a Nigerian Yoruba politician and the Aro of Mopa in Kogi State. He was one of the founders of the People’s Democratic Party from which he was expelled and then reinstated; Awoniyi was also the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).

Awoniyi was born in Mopa- Muro Local Government Area of Kogi State to Pa Solomon Iwalaye and Dorcas Omobaja in Mopa on April 30, 1932.

He attended Baptist Day School in Mopa from 1938 to 1944, moving to Holy Trinity School in Lokoja from 1945 to 1946 and later to Provincial Middle School in Okene from 1947 to 1949.

He went to the Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology (now Ahmadu Bello University), from 1951 until 1956 when he proceeded to University College (now University of Ibadan) from 1956 to 1959, and later went to the Imperia Defence College (now Royal College of Defence Studies) from 1970 to 1971.

Awoniyi’s first appointment was as a District Officer for the British Colonial administration (he was one of the few Nigerians to hold the post, most being reserved to Britons).

After independence in 1960, he held several posts in the Northern Regional Government, including that of secretary to the Executive Council, where he worked with Sarduana Ahmadu Bello, Premier of Northern Nigeria. Awoniyi was often referred to as “Sarduana Keremi” or “Little Sardauna”.

During the Third Republic, Awoniyi was a member of the National Republican Convention (NRC), and was elected to the senate of Nigeria for the Kogi West district.

He attempted to become the chairman of People’s Democratic Party in 1999, but was unsuccessful. The party under the chairmanship of Barnabas Gemade expelled him and six others in 2001 for anti-party activities, but reinstated them later that year.

Awoniyi opposed the Third Term Agenda proposed by supporters of outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo in favor of his reelection, and was attacked at his Abuja house on March 12, 2006 during the debate.

He later became the chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a northern political organization commonly viewed as exclusively Hausa-Fulani by some from the southern Nigeria. He held the position until his death in 2007.

On November 18, 2007, while being driven from Abuja to Kaduna, Awoniyi’s car flipped over. He was taken to the National Hospital in Abuja and then flown to London, where he died on November 28.

On December 11, 2007, a one-minute silence honoring him was observed in senate. His funeral was held at Mopa on December 15, 2007 and was attended by former presidents Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalmi Abubakar and President Goodluck Jonathan who represented the then president, late Umaru Ya’Adua.

Awoniyi was a Baptist until his death; he attended the First Baptist Church in Ileteju, Mopa.

He had two wives, Florence Ebun Awoniyi and Benedicta Omowunmi Awoniyi and eleven children; among his children is Abayomi, an architect and politician, currently the deputy governor of Kogi State

Quotes Credited to Sunday Awoniyi

“I was brought up in my own part of the world to act well our part wherever we may find ourselves” This quote was noted to him in his response after being appointed as the chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum

“I beg of you, for your own good and for our country’s good, make a simple announcement to say that you are not interested in a Third Term and that you plan to go back to Otta in 2007” to Obasanjo during the Third Term saga.

News where Sunday Awoniyi was mentioned
Reference: Wikipedia

Category: Who is who in Kogi State

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