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Late JABU VC ‘Had Premonition’ Of Death, Flown To Houston, Texas For Burial

The deceased Vice Chancellor of the Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Professor Kola Sonaike, may have had a premonition of his death, going by testimonies that emerged at a commemoration of his life and times in Lagos at the weekend.

EX-CAC PRESIDENT AKINOSUN TESTIFIES

Speaking during the programme held for the VC, who died March 20 in his lodge on the JABU campus at Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State, immediate past President of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Worldwide, Pastor Abraham Akinosun, dropped hints indicating that the Professor might have had an inkling of a final departure.

Akinosun recalled that several weeks prior to Sonaike’s death at the age of 70, about 30 chaplains of JABU had gathered in a prayer meeting, specifically aimed at averting the demise of a “mighty person.”

“Sonaike, who had partaken in the session, addressed them thereafter. He told them that such a prayer should not be uttered by Christians, as the heavenly plain held more attraction for a saved person who had accepted Jesus as Lord and Saviour,” Akinosun recalled.

After being appointed VC, Sonaike had pledged to ensure his tenure would wean the university away from depending on traditional allocations from CAC, but would become financially independent enough to enrich the purse of the ministry, Akinosun recalled.

The former CAC President told the hundreds of people, who came from all parts of Nigeria and abroad in honour of Sonaike, that several JABU students enjoyed the deceased’s personal scholarship and financial assistance; and they grieved deeply on learning of their benefactor’s unexpected transition.

DOTUN SONAIKE, BROTHER

Brother to the deceased, Mr. Dotun Sonaike, had alluded to a phone call with his late sibling some weeks earlier.

Dotun Sonaike, brother of the deceased

“He was telling me that time had come for me to begin to take my position as a capable man in the family,” Dotun recalled. “He had never spoken to me that way in our 65 years together. He was my elder brother by five years and I suckled on our mother’s breast immediately after him. On that day that he dropped that jolting remark, my brother immediately cut the call. I found those words strange. Thereafter, I tried to call him back to no avail; my phone never connected. I began to plan to visit him on campus. The next thing, a phone call came announcing his death to me. We never got to speak again until he died.”

He described the late VC as not only his brother, but also his mentor and advisor.

“My brother prefers where he is now to this place,” Dotun said.

He, however, expressed some reservation about the wife and children’s decision to take his remains from Nigeria for burial in Houston, US.

COMMEMORATION BY CAC ITIRE DCC

CAC Itire Districts Coordinating Council (DCC) had put together the commemoration service at its headquarters in Mushin, Lagos, to celebrate Sonaike, its former Elder, Pastor and Choirmaster.

The five-hour programme featured a celebration of the late academic and clergyman in songs and tributes, spiced up by choristers and acquaintances from CAC and beyond.

Everyone spoke glowingly of Sonaike as a generous, large-hearted, humble and creative personality, who had made immense contributions to the local church and CAC Worldwide, as well as to individual lives, which saw him assisting many to secure employments, to pay bills and to travel abroad.

The university and CAC headquarters have differently scheduled similar celebrations for later this month and June.

The Itire programme was put together by a 20-member committee headed by Pastor Tope Dada, a long-time associate of Sonaike.

Pastor Tope Dada

Others included the committee’s Vice Chairman Pastor Lanre Adekunle, Secretary Elder Adeleke Benedict, and members like Pastor Taiwo Sokunbi, Elder John Folahan, Deaconess Dorcas Modupe Adeosun and Elder Matthew Aderemi Adedokun.

ACTING JABU VC AND IDCC SUPERINTENDENT

Acting VC, Professor Kehinde Eniola, described Sonaike as a goal-getter, who cleared all the backlog of salary arrears owed the university staff and contributed to its infrastructural development.

“When he resumed, the university owed salaries. However, Professor Sonaike cleared everything within three months of his resumption. Thereafter, he ensured that staff received emoluments before the end of the month,” he said.

Acting JABU VC, Professor Eniola

Itire DCC Superintendent, Pastor Gideon Oladokun, said of the deceased: “He built both the choir and human capital therein. He identified talents within the choir and encouraged talented members to be better individuals, some of whom are now in the Diaspora.

“Although he lived far away in the United States of America, it is on record that he never forgot his base. Every month, he sent to Itire Assembly sizeable amounts of money.”

SONAIKE: PASTOR, ENGINEER, VC

A 1976 alumnus of the University of Ibadan where he studied Petroleum Engineering, Sonaike was born at Jos, Plateau State, on December 1, 1951 to Pa George Adenuga Sonaike and Madam Angelina Oluyemi Sonaike, natives of Ago-Iwoye and Ode-Remo in present-day Ogun State.

He joined Mobil Producing Nigeria in 1976 as a Petroleum Engineer and served the company for 30 years.

The oil giant transferred him to New Orleans, Louisiana, but later returned him to Eket, Nigeria in 1983, accompanied by his wife Omolola, whom he married the previous year in the US.

Mobil later moved him to its Lagos office, affording him the opportunity to join CAC, Itire, where he distinguished himself in youth, drama and choir activities, and rose to become the Choirmaster, an Elder and, in 1998, a Pastor.

Once more, he was transferred back to Mobil at Houston, US, where he founded the CAC Mercyfield Assembly in 2001, a seed that later mushroomed into CAC Texas DCC having 25 assemblies.

In September 2019, Sonaike was appointed third substantive VC of JABU, a position he proved eminently qualified to fill, armed with two doctoral degrees, with “a wealth of academic, professional, spiritual and industrial experience.”

He is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter, who all live in Houston US, the Professor’s final resting place.

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