Home News My Father, Mentor Gone — K. K Raji Mourns Afonja

My Father, Mentor Gone — K. K Raji Mourns Afonja


With a heavy heart, I mourn the passing of Prince Sulaiman Ajibola Afonja, a father figure whose influence and guidance have been a cornerstone in my life. To say that I have lost a father and a mentor par excellence is an understatement; the void left by his departure is profound and deeply personal. Yet, it was his personal touch, his genuine care, and his commitment to nurturing and guiding those around him that truly set him apart.

Born in Oyo town, Prince Afonja’s life was a tapestry of distinguished service, professional excellence, and unwavering commitment to the betterment of society.

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Prince Afonja’s journey began in Oyo town, where he was born in 1942. His early years were marked by a relentless pursuit of education and self-improvement, culminating in his qualification as a Chartered Accountant—a credential that set the stage for a career defined by integrity and professionalism. His expertise in financial management and governance earned him a place among Nigeria’s most respected accountants.

His contributions to the corporate world were substantial. As a former Non-Executive Director of First Bank of Nigeria, Prince Afonja’s insights and leadership were invaluable. His tenure as Chairman of the bank, spanning two consecutive terms, was characterized by strategic vision and steady stewardship, helping to solidify First Bank’s standing as a pillar of the Nigerian banking industry. Under his guidance, the bank navigated the complexities of the financial sector with resilience and foresight.

In 1993, Prince Afonja was called to serve his country in the capacity of Minister of Labour and Productivity under the interim government of Chief Ernest Shonekan. In this role, he worked tirelessly to improve labor relations and productivity in Nigeria, addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing the workforce at the time. His tenure was marked by a commitment to fairness, worker’s rights, and the promotion of harmonious industrial relations.

In every interaction, Prince Afonja embodied the virtues of integrity, kindness, and generosity. His advice was always rooted in experience and compassion, helping me navigate both professional challenges and personal growth. His philanthropic spirit, which uplifted countless lives, was a testament to his belief in the power of giving and community support.

As we reflect on his legacy, we remember not just his many accomplishments but the profound impact he had on those fortunate enough to know him. Prince Afonja’s legacy is one of inspiration, a beacon of hope, and a model of what it means to lead with both strength and heart.

Today, as we mourn his loss, we also celebrate the extraordinary life he lived and the indelible mark he left on our lives. Rest in peace, Prince Sulaiman Ajibola Afonja. Your legacy of mentorship, fatherly guidance, and unparalleled excellence will continue to inspire and guide us.

Adieu! Prince Sulaiman Ajibola Afonja. Baba oninu re!

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