Biography of Bishop Anthony Saliu Sanusi

Bishop Anthony Saliu Sanusi was born into a deeply Muslim family on January 2nd 1911. His father was a Muslim chief and Balogun of Iperu town. The mother gave birth to 6 children, 3 boys and 3 girls among whom Anthony Sanusi was the last to be born. His family wanted him to become a chief Imam one day.

Providently he attended both Christian school and Koranic school which exposed him to the tenets of the Christian religion. But since there was no standard V and VI in Iperu town, he had to be Ijebu Ode to complete his standard education. His father rejected the idea because he had to stay with a Catholic priest. As God would have it, he secretly left home and took up residence with Fr. Van Leuven in Ijebu Ode and completed his standard education.

He was baptized on June 6th 1928 and given the name Anthony. When his father heard about it, he was furious. In response Anthony told them not to call him Saliu again but Anthony. The father then disowned him. While in the Seminary, his father rejected every form of communication with him but he sent a letter telegram to the priest at Ijebu Ode who baptized his dying father at sick bed before death.

The young and dynamic Sanusi was ordained a priest on the 17th of December 1944 by Bishop Leo Taylor at Holy Cross Cathedral Lagos. He was immediately sent to Ijebu Ode and in 1946 he was transferred to St. Gregory College Lagos till 1949. He then went to Ireland to badge a B.A and BMUS degrees in Arts and Music at the University of Cork being the first in the country to possess such a double degree at that time.

When he arrived after four years of studies, he was sent to St. Leo College Abeokuta.

In December 19, 1953 he started a new school in Esure known as St. Anthony Grammar School. It was the visit of Obafemi Awolowo to Esure community that prompted such an opportunity for the approval of Catholic Church to begin the school and this was granted.

In 1962 he was transferred to Abeokuta as the education secretary for the Archdiocese of Lagos.

From 1964 to 1969, he was the general education secretary for all Catholic schools in the old Western region which was made up Lagos Province, Ibadan province and Benin Province.

In January 1969 he was appointed the Rector of St. Theresa’s Minor Seminary Oke Are Ibadan, breaking the record of being the first indigenous Rector of the Minor seminary.

When the wind of change in the country and the Church blew on him based on ecclesiastical and administrative need, on May 29th 1969, he was appointed the pioneer Bishop of the newly created Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode. He was ordained a Bishop on 1st of August 1969 by His Holiness Pope Paul VI in Kampala, Uganda. His episcopacy spanned from 1969-1990. He increased the number of parishes from 5 to 18.

He invited a lot of missionaries and gave a land and building MSP to begin their training of seminarians in Iperu. He was a co-founder of the Knight of St. Mulumba in Nigeria.

His co-adjutor Bishop Albert Ayinde Fasina who was appointed in 1988 succeeded him on the 14th August 1990.

He retired from active service but still available to the people of God using his gifts and talent in pastoral affairs and music. He was a wonderful keyboardist even till a very old age.

Bishop Anthony Saliu Sanusi died on 8th of December 2009 at the age of 98, breaking the record of the longest living Bishop in Africa at that time.

Most have been forgotten. Most deserve to be forgotten. The heroes will always be remembered. Bishop Anthony Saliu Sanusi is our hero. Never shall he be forgotten”