Sunday Awoniyi

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Sunday Bolorunduro Awoniyi
Senator for Kogi West
In office
July 1993 – November 1993
Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum
In office
December 2003 – November 2007
Personal details
Born April 30, 1932
Mopa-Muro Local Government Area, Kogi State, Northern Nigeria
Died November 28, 2007

Sunday Bolorunduro Awoniyi, CON (April 30, 1932 – November 28, 2007) was a Northern Nigerian Yoruba politician and tribal aristocrat as the Aro of Mopa in Kogi State, formerly Kabba Province. Known as little Sardauna, Awoniyi was a founder of the People's Democratic Party from which he was expelled and then reinstated, Awoniyi was also chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF); a pan Northern Nigerian organisation.

Family and education[edit]

Awoniyi was born in what is now the Mopa-Muro Local Government Area of Kogi State to Pa Solomon Iwalaye and Dorcas Omoboja. A Baptist,[1] he attended the First Baptist Church in Ileteju, Mopa.[2] He began his education at Baptist Day School in Mopa from 1938 to 1944, moving on to Holy Trinity School in Lokoja from 1945 to 1946, and Provincial Middle School in Okene from 1947 to 1949. He attended the Nigeria College of Arts, Science and Technology (now Ahmadu Bello University) from 1951 until 1956, University College (now the University of Ibadan) from 1956 to 1959, and the Imperial Defence College (now the Royal College of Defence Studies) from 1970 to 1971.[3]

Awoniyi had two wives, Florence Ebun Awoniyi and Benedicta Omowunmi Awoniyi, and eleven children; among his children is Abayomi, an architect and politician.[4]

Political career[edit]

First Republic[edit]

Awoniyi's first political appointment was as a District Officer for the British colonial administration (he was one of few Northern 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,[3] where he worked with Sardauna Ahmadu Bello, Premier of Northern Nigeria.[5] Awoniyi often held up the assassinated premier as an example of good governance, and was known as "Sardauna Keremi", or "little Sardauna".[5]

Third Republic[edit]

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.[5]

Fourth Republic[edit]

Awoniyi was one of the founding members of the People's Democratic Party.[5] He attempted to become chairman in 1999, but was unsuccessful. The party under Chairman Barnabas Gemade expelled him and six others in 2001 for "anti party activities", but reinstated them later that year.[6]

Ever identifying himself as a Northern Nigerian, he later became Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a pan Northern Nigerian political organization detested by many Southern Nigerians; questioned about his acceptance of this position, he said he was "brought up in my own part of the world to act well our part wherever we may find ourselves."[7] He held the chairmanship until his death.[8]

Awoniyi opposed the Third Term Agenda proposed by supporters of outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo in favor of his re-election, and was attacked at his Abuja house on March 12, 2006 during the debate.[5] In April 2006, he wrote an open letter to Obasanjo, saying "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."[1]


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.[9]

On December 11, 2007, a one-minute silence honoring him was observed in the Senate.[10] His funeral was held at Mopa on December 15, 2007, and was attended by former Presidents Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida, and Abdulsalami Abubakar, and Vice President Goodluck Jonathan, who represented President Umaru Yar'Adua.[11]


  1. ^ a b Awoniyi, Sunday (2004-06-10). "Leave office gracefully, Awoniyi tells Obasanjo". Open letter to Olusegun Obasanjo. The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-12-02. [dead link]
  2. ^ Kolawole, Simon (2007-12-02). "What Did He Want to Tell Me?". Thisday. Leaders & Company. Archived from the original on 2007-12-04. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  3. ^ a b Oladipo, Olaolu (2007-12-01). "Awoniyi: Exit of Ahmadu Bello's inheritor". Vanguard Online. Vanguard Media. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  4. ^ Agbana, Ralph Omololu (2007-06-09). "The 'Ibro Family' Factor In Kogi Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-12-02. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b c d e Ojeifo, Sufuyan (2007-11-30). "S.B. Awoniyi: The Life and Exit of Sardauna Keremi". Thisday. Leaders & Company. Archived from the original on 2007-12-08. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  6. ^ Akunna, Chuks (2001-11-23). "PDP Recalls Awoniyi, Etiebet, Tukur Others". Thisday. Leaders & Company. Archived from the original on 2005-11-29. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  7. ^ Ologbondiyan, Kola (2003-12-20). "'I'm a Northern Yoruba Christian'". Thisday. Leaders & Company. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  8. ^ Mamah, Emeka (2007-12-02). "ACF: Awoniyi died serving his people". Vanguard Online. Vanguard Media. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  9. ^ Gulloma, Abdullahi M; Hamza Idris; Sani Babadoko; Aliyu Machika; Muideen Olaniyi; Hassan Karofi (2007-11-30). "Awoniyi dies at 75". Daily Trust. Retrieved 2007-12-02. [permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Ojeifo, Sufuyan; Chuks Okocha (2007-12-12). "Senate Observes 1-Minute Silence for Awoniyi". Thisday. Leaders & Company. Retrieved 2007-12-16. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ Okocha, Chucks; Wole Ayodele (2007-12-16). "Yar'Adua: I Owe Awoniyi Purposeful Leadership". Thisday. Leaders & Company. Retrieved 2007-12-16. [permanent dead link]

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