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Adieu, Prof Pius Adesanmi (1972 – 2019)

SINCE Sunday March 10, 2019, Nigerians have been in deep mourning over the death of Professor Pius Adesanmi, one of the 157 victims of the Ethiopian Airliners Boeing 737 MAX 8 which crashed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  

Pius Adesanmi
Pius Adesanmi

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Besides Adesanmi, the Professor of Literary Arts in Carleton University, Ottawa Canada, another Nigerian, Ambassador Abiodun Bashua, a former United Nations and African Union, AU, Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan, was among 40 UN officials who died in the ill-fated flight.

Professor Adesanmi was a popular literary icon, social critic and very active on the social media. According to an intimate friend with whom he had communicated before the crash: “Pius had wanted explanations on how individuals behave – be they friends in government, our activist friends or his fellow writers. He also had his expectations on how Nigeria should be. Pius was always at a loss why people misbehave.”

Like many well-meaning Nigerians, Adesanmi was gravely upset with the state of affairs in his home country, Nigeria, and never kept silent over it. Through his writings and public speeches, he had attacked, with his infectious satire, every ill that is still with us today as a country. 

His friends and followers on Facebook know how deeply Pius loved his family, especially his young daughter, Tife and his wife in Canada. He was also fond of his aged mother, Mama Adesanmi. No doubt, they have lost a wonderful father, a great husband, a valuable brother and a loyal son whose heart was overflowing with affection.

Reading his award-winning books and listening to his humour-laced but incisive public lectures, no one would be left in any doubt that Kogi State, Nigeria and Africa have lost a gem. Professor Pius Adesanmi fought for good governance, justice and equality. He had wanted the best for Nigeria but was terribly heartbroken at the serial failures of governance which resulted in state failure.

The books authored by Professor Pius Adesanmi include: The Wayfarer and Other Poems (2001), You’re Not a Country, Africa (2011), and Naija No Dey Carry Last (2015). In 2001, Adesanmi’s The Wayfarer and Other Poems won the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA’s Poetry Prize, and in 2010, his You’re not a Country, Africa, a collection of essays, won the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing in the non-fiction category.

It is heart-rending that Adesanmi had to fly safely for 13 hours from Canada to Ethiopia only to end up on a short flight from Ethiopia to Kenya on his way to attend the Economic, Social and Cultural Council, ECOSOCC, meeting in Nairobi. We console all the family members of the late Professor Pius Adesanmi, Ambassador Abiodun Bashua and all victims of that fateful crash.

They will always be fondly remembered.


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