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…And Lagos also remembered Pius Adesanmi


Nigeria’s most populous city pays tribute to a great pan-African scholar

By Timeyin Mammah

It was the turn of Nigeria’s most populous city to join in the throng of cities hosting memorials in honour of the departed pan-African icon and immediate past Director of the African Studies Institute at Carleton University, Professor Pius Adesanmi.

The event was a candlelight memorial service held at the Gani Fawehinmi Park, Ojota, and saw friends, students and well-wishers coming together to celebrate the iconic public intellectual.

Professor Pius Adesanmi who sadly passed away a week ago in an ill-fated plane crash. was a man of many talents and colours. A scholar, Pan-Africanist, Writer, Poet, Satirist, Teacher, Husband, Father and Patriot, he was a Professor of English and African Studies at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
At the event, a condolence register was opened in his honour and guests took turns to pay their respects to a man of many achievements.

The first stanza of the Nigerian National Anthem was recited and a minute silence was observed.
There was a fairly large turnout at the event with over 150 people in attendance. The Nigerian Police was available in good numbers to ensure the safety of participants and the smooth running of the programme.
The moderator, Inibehe Effiong, who admitted to being an admirer of Prof Adesanmi had nothing but sweet words to say about him. And from the crowd, one-word descriptions of the deceased flowed: voice, motivation, breath-taking, genuine, pious, challenging, brilliant and genius.
Mr Femi Falana, SAN had this to say about Pious Adesanmi at the memorial, “…a Nigerian of extraordinary commitment to the fatherland. He was a man of ideas, words, and intellect and like Professor Wole Soyinka, Pious believed that a writer must go beyond writing and actualise your dreams and march with the people in their struggle for change.”
Professor Akila also spoke in loving memory of the deceased, “…his wits, ability to improvise and empathise, join people in their weight…thorough preparation. He would call you to verify a date in history, call to check an expression. He was very meticulous and hardworking.”
Ogaga Ifowodo, a writer, said this about Pius Adesanmi, “if I were to try to go down memory lane to recount those innumerable moments of hilarity, deep introspection, bellyaching about Nigeria, Africa, the world, I would take up an hour and still not be done.”
His death prediction was also pointed out at the event given that his last Facebook Post was Psalms 139:9-10, “If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall hold me.”
A candlelight procession was done in honour of Prof Pius Adesanmi with solidarity songs rendered for the fallen hero. He is survived by his mother, wife and two daughters.

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