Submit Your Own Tribute For Professor Pius Adesanmi

Being a black man, Pius knew that Going actually means coming

Being black, Pius!
You knew that when we say good bye to the earth of flesh and blood,
We are welcome in the spiritus mundi.
There our ancestors resend us to another cycle of reincarnation in a remorseless concession.
Being black, Pius!
You knew that duration on earth and the time of death determines the reception one receives from our ancestors in the other world. Perhaps!
That’s why our preferred time of death is at night, hence our forefathers tend to be awake when we sleep.
To die during the day is abominable as one may risk being starved by our forefathers who one may meet asleep or that they have finished taking their dinner.
In that case, one will be hunger driven both in this world and in the other.
Being black, Pius!
That night represents old age,
The day premature.
Our belief system is not theirs.
Our gods under the supervision of our past generations forgive us even unto death.
Being black! Pius!
You knew our stay was well made.
We will meet again.
Yes, we will smile.
Being black! Pius!
We make appeal for your reincarnation.
May that wind that will stop you take away all the mad people of the world.
May that wind that will stop you take away all the lazy people of the world.
May we be consoled that being black,
Your reincarnation shall live with us yet again and soon so we could say,
Truly, you are back.
Let the long queue of recycling beings in the spiritus never hold you for a long time.
Our appeal!
Being black! Pius,
You must jump the queue for a revisit,
Black people like where they are received and celebrated.
Being black, Pius,
We won’t miss you for long.
Being black! Pius,
You died free. You shall come back to us accompanied.

– Ikechukwu Otuu Egbuta, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

I know him from afar

My first knowledge of Prof. Pius was through his almost daily opinions on twitter. I became enamored by his position on the political landscape of my dear country, Nigeria. How I loved reading from him daily as he commented on the varied situations that becloud our political landscape! Such a wealth among us that is now so shortly removed!!

– Noah Samuel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tribute To My Mentor

Your death Came as shocker
But your legacy remain evergreen

– Adeyeye Tomiwa

Pius Adesanmi: Holding Gods hands to the very end

I first got to know of Prof. Adesanmi in 2006 when he wrote an incisive article about a family friend in the US and the phenomenon we know as masquerade in Nigeria. Prof. was deriding the culture that despises and debases African culture. I was intrigued that one could stand up for Africa. I found him online and has since followed him. Years later, we would meet up and i would conduct interviews for him. I told him I envied him for he was living the life I wanted to live but couldn’t.

He would become a great source of encouragement especially in almost forcing me to go for my Masters degree years after my bachelors.

The respect he gave me was humbling I sometimes wondered if he was real at all.

A week before he died, he reached out to me that he wanted to grant another interview, if I had the gift of foresight I would have pulled him in and have the interview there and then. Unfortunately, its only his last message I have as consolation.

I was shattered at your death brother Bola. I was shattered because I thought you died young. But you didn’t, you were spared life enough to accomplish your assignment on earth. And what an appearance you made on earth.

Goodbye bro Bola, look, God himself is looking after your family.

– Seun Akioye

A Secular Saint and Spartan Social Gadfly

The storyteller appeals to the mind and appeals ultimately to generations and generations and generations -Chinua Achebe
A very beloved man is dead. We mourn. Every now and then a meteor drops from the sky and ten thousand tongues from across the globe are united in mourning. In Pius, faith in humanity is once more restored. Now a new generation that has been raised on a tasteless diet of mediocrity and poverty of the sense of self and human dignity, has the exciting obligation to discover the hefty totality of Pius Adesanmi’s crucial socio-cultural, cross-cultural, linguistic, literary and intellectual contributions to making Africa the forward-thinking continent the world needs to see.
Emma Lazarus words in the ‘New Colossus’ is true of Pius Adesanmi life-long intent:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Pius was a wayfarer, lived on many global highways, in many literary worlds, initiating meaningful connections, forging links and fora, curating spaces and places where young Africans could be planted, supported and left to bloom. He sought to harness all the budding starlight on the continent into a huge enlightening bonfire to power the Africa of our dream. With Pius national boundaries were artificial and as such bestrode them like a colossus and invited others to do the same. Professor Pius Adesanmi has left us so much of himself and we see so much more of himself in ourselves. He is us. The reign of his ideas, ideals, dreams have just begun. In death, he is still connecting us and summoning us to march on. And we will. As E.B. White asserted “A writer should tend to lift people up, not lower them down. Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life; they inform and shape life” These and much more are true of Pius. Requiescat in pace!.

– Fr. Michael Umameh

An inspiring being and erudite scholar

When I first heard him on a local TV station in my country I said to myself this is a man worth plugging into and learn from and since then on I have a student of his. You inspire me a lot in numerous ways. I love you but God loves you better. Rest in the bosom of iyr Lord Jesus Christ.

– Babalola Ajamobe

You are gone, but your legacy lives on

You had an unusual way of touching issues where they mattered most and did it with such finesse that it was clear what outcomes you were seeking to explain from the write- up or discourse.

It is sad that we have had to lose you at your prime; but we take solace in the fact that your good works will never be erased. Rest in peace Prof. Adesanmi. You were indeed a rare and uncommon scholar and intellectual, badly needed to continuously hold the feet of Nigeria’s polity and its stakeholders to the fire! Rest in peace.

– Charles Oyedeji

We miss you

We miss Pius – his energy, his laughter, warmth, and love for all things African. Sincere condolences to the Adesanmi family and to Pius’ Carleton family in the Institute of African Studies and throughout the University.

– Louise De La Gorgendiere, Carleton University

Ancestor Pius Adebola Adesanmi Shrine

Ancestor Pius Adebola Adesanmi Shrine

Notes to an Ancestor

Dear Ancestor Pius Adebola Adesanmi,

I know you are resting but not sleeping.

Look upon this shrine you have caused to be set up in your name
In your name because you were always in a hurry
In a hurry to become an Ancestor
An Ancestor you are now

Now we have set up a Shrine
A shrine all in your name
In your name because you were in a hurry
In a hurry to write more powerfully
Powerfully spinning words to admonish
Admonishing with satire, wit and fearlessness
Fearlessness, even in the face of death
Death not minding because it was only a Gateway
A Gateway to becoming an Ancestor
An Ancestor you are now

Rest on but do not sleep
Sleep not because of this shrine
Shrine all in your name
In your name, in your space
Space we all inhabited
Inhabited while learning, wining and dining, joking and laughing,
Joking and laughing even in this hallway
This hallway will never be the same again

Rest on O Ancestor, but do not sleep
Sleep not because of this shrine
Shrine all in your name
In your name, in your space

Space we all inhabited
Inhabited against our wish, against our desire
Our desire to move on to a bigger and better place
And a better place you are now
Rest on but do not sleep
Sleep not because we will call
We will call on you to edit those proposals
We will call on you for those references; academic and spiritual
We will draw on your inspiration as we forge ahead on those many fronts you have blazed trails for us!

Be not far from this space, this shrine
This shrine you have caused to be set up in your name

Rest on but do not sleep
Sleep not because of your sons and daughters O Ancestor
Sleep not O Ancestor

Ancestor Pius Adebola Adesanmi (admitted to the order of an Ancestor on March 10, 2019)

– Femi Ajidahun

Academic blood may be thicker than water too

So this is finally real.
And his Wikipedia page already updated with death details.
What a life!

Adesanmi’s stunning idea of literary categorization formed the basis of my thesis’ literary classification argument. Tonight as I edit my chapter I came upon his name and words again and again. I paused to pay a minute tribute to an icon with whom my doctoral journey began and to whom I feel a connection as if by birth. I can’t stop wondering: academic blood may be thicker than water too.

Rest in peace my academic brother, you have a line on the pages of my doctoral acknowledgment whenever the time comes.

Be at rest with the Lord PROFESSOR PIUS ADESANMI and pray for us.

– Mary Okolie, Stellenbosch University

Brevity Professor Pius Adesanmi

Heavy wind blows
away the fire, the logs,
and the boiled water
in the cooking pot.

– Aremu Adams Adebisi, University of Ilorin

Pius Adesanmi – Life, Scholarship and Legacy

Life is fleeting, like a passing mist.
It is like trying to catch hold of a breath;
All vanishes like a vapour.
-Ecclesiastes 1: 2

It is clear that life in this fast-fading world
is as fleeting and inconsistent as the morning wind,
and this being so, how fortunate are the great
who leave a good name behind them,
and the memory of a lifetime spent
in the pathway of the good pleasure of God.

Pius Adesanmi was a well-known, Nigerian-born, professor from Carleton University.  He was described by many as brilliant scholar, a prize-winning author, a beloved teacher, a sought-after public intellectual, a post-colonial scholar, an advisor to governments and to the African Union, a mentor, a colleague and friend. He was down-to-earth, modest and humble. That humility can be found on his twitter feed where he described himself simply as: “Teacher”

A “Festival of Life” was held in Ottawa, at his home institution, Carleton, as the Institute of African Studies which he led, the Department of English and the Department of French gathered members of the community, family and friends, on March 26, 2019, featuring music, poetry, readings and tributes from Carleton and the wider Ottawa community in honour of the life of this wonderful man. But this was but one of a multitude of memorials, connecting continental Africa with the new world, with outpourings of grief and sadness, questions and pain, yet overlaid with moving tributes and, ironically, joyous celebration for a life well-lived.

But we all must deal with the reality that Pius’ life was unnecessarily cut short, much too soon, in that horrible, tragic air crash in Ethiopia. After all, he was only 47 years old; at the prime of his life. He was like that flower in spring, just about to bloom. We can attest to this when we see his burgeoning work as a humanist, a writer, as prophet, a teacher, a columnist, a critic, a satirist, and a public policy analyst. And, yet, the radiance and fragrance of those blossoms were what attracted us most about Pius. He was indeed pious – a good man, a great mind, a goodwill Ambassador, thoughtful, kind, loving, humble, friendly, erudite, witty, intelligent.

As soon as I learned of his passing, I notified members of my on-line group of scholars, diplomats, government leaders, and UN officials. Pius was on that Ethiopian Airline flight 302, along with 156 other victims from 35 nations, including 19 UN staff members – colleagues of ours who worked with the World Food Programme, the Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees, the International Telecommunications Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the World Bank, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia and the United Nations Environmental Programme office in Nairobi. I am wearing my UN tie today, not as a fashion statement, but to commemorate the legacy of my frequent flyer UN brothers and sister, whose lives were cut short, along with Pius’, in the service of humanity.

I received several responses to my online missive, from colleagues and friends – many of whom knew Pius. From scholars who worked on issues related to Africa and the African diaspora; from Pan-Africanists who saw Pius as a 21st century Pan-Africanist; from Nigerian government Officials who were familiar with his work; and from students who were impacted by his transdisciplinary musings. But there was one person who was very close to Pius who did not initially respond to my note, or to my tweets. I found that rather surprising. However, just a few days ago, I received an email from this person. He is Dr. Obijiofor Aginam, the Deputy Director of the United Nations University’s International Institute for Global Health. We are colleagues and buddies who go way back.

Here is the note he sent to me. He said,

Hi Andy, I’ve been in a depressed mood since the tragic death of my very close friend and soul mate, Professor Pius Adesanmi, in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. Pius and I started our PhD the same year (1998) at UBC and were roommates for a semester. We also overlapped for 2-3 years as young professors at Carleton University before I joined UNU in 2007. I convinced him to join Carleton from Penn State University because Carleton had set up its new African Studies Institute at that time and was interested in recruiting young scholars with his expertise. Very solid scholar but also humble and compassionate guy. He’s like a twin brother to me. We were inseparable at UBC. At 47, he made his mark as one of Africa’s best columnists and essayists on a range of issues. His engagements regularly took him to Universities across Africa including Legos, Johannesburg, Nairobi etc. I chatted with him about 10 days or so before his tragic death. God bless his soul. It took me two weeks after that to get myself together to write about his death. Below are two pics of Pius and me on UBC campus on 1998!

Scholarly Interests

Pius had a very eclectic research and writing scope that ranged from recent trends in theoretical approaches to African and postcolonial literatures to new political and cultural life-worlds in Africa and the Black Diaspora. He was also proficient in French literature.

His scholarship overlaped with an active career as an African public intellectual who was clearly interested in a broad range of issues such as the role of culture in shaping citizenship, subjectivity, human rights, identity, and the environment in post-colonial societies affected by globalization and the fragility of Westphalian statehood. Recently, Pius was reflecting, studying, and writing on the social media revolution in Africa and in the postcolonial Pan-Africanist world. He was exploring how social media has come to affect the materiality of literature and culture, how it has affected our understanding of the (literary) text and how it tends to inflect old categories of postcolonial knowledge and cultures. But his work covered the gamut of

  • Postcolonial writing and social media
  • African & Black Diasporic literatures and Cultures both in English and French
  • Popular Culture, Street Culture in Africa
  • Postcolonial and cultural theory
  • Third World feminist discourses
  • African Language literature (Yoruba)

I was fascinated by some iof the titles of his recent work:

“I’m Endowed: Hip-Hop, Twittertainment, and Black Musical Internationalism.” Lecture delivered at the Cultural Transfers series of the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture and the Centre for Transnational Cultural Analysis, Carleton University, January 26, 2012.

“Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa: Reconsidering a Classic.” Lectured delivered at the Vanderbilt History Seminar, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, March 19, 2012.

“When is the African Diaspora in Canada?”. Keynote Lecture delivered at a Forum convened by the Africa Society of Guelph, the Department of History, and the School of English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph, March 24, 2012.

“America, My Africa”. Lecture delivered at the Bowdoin Africana Speakers Series, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, April 9, 2012.

“The Impala Generation: Youth Culture and the Imperatives of Democracy in Nigeria in the Age of the Arab Protests.” Lecture delivered at a colloquium convened jointly by the Nigerian Advancement Institute and the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, April 2, 2011.

“Capitalism and Memory: Of Golf Courses and Massage Parlors in Badagry, Nigeria.” Keynote lecture delivered at the annual conference of the Stanford Forum for African Studies, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California. Saturday, October 29, 2011

Someone recently said of Pius that he “was a wordsmith and he deployed his resources in the various communities where he operate….” “For him, it wasn’t enough to be holed up in the library in an ivory tower.”

As many of you will know, Pius Adesanmi was a longtime columnist for Nigerian newspapers. His often satirical columns sometimes targeted Nigerian politicians and public figures. He was a sought-after speaker and a widely followed public intellectual.

He wrote frequently on social media and had a large following.

I want to end this tribute by reading one of his cutting, sarcastic pieces that speaks truth to power in the era of Donald Trump. It is a timely, relevant and biting opinion piece, published on May 12, 2017, in an African online news outlet – Y!/YNaija


Donald Trump | Africa is not the owner of this corpse

Africa and similes are now back in big business. Our friends in America’s punditry are all rushing to Africa for explanations of their current predicament.

It does not happen here.
It happens only in Africa.
It happens only in the banana Republics of the Third World.
He is like an African dictator.
He is like an African despot.
He is like an African this.
He is like an African that.
He is anything but us, this beast, this monstrosity, this aberration.

And the similes pour from the pundits on American TV. And the metaphors rain on radio, in newspaper opinion pages. Only Africa can help explain the phenomenon of an ignorant racial-supremacist fascist in the White House in 2017.
Even the liberal punditry in Europe is not left out of this scramble to mobilize Africa as the explanation for this cancer in the heart of their history, culture, and civilization.
Dazed by the buffoonery of the leader of their Free World in Washington, every pundit in Germany, Spain, Italy, France and Britain suddenly is wringing hands, gnashing teeth, and claiming that this level of fascism is found only in Africa.

Suddenly, the owners of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco need Mobutu Sese Seko, Omar Bongo, Gnassingbe Eyadema, Arap Moi to help them understand this “aberration” to their culture. And the similes and the metaphors are pouring in from Europe. Trump is like an African this. Trump is like an African that. Trump…is African?

No, no, no, my friends in Western punditry. Africa is not the owner of this corpse. Donald Trump is your father’s corpse. Donald Trump is your mother’s corpse. You have to own it. We are not even interested in co-ownership.
You see, nothing happens in your present that your history, culture, and civilization cannot account for. There is no aberration in your present that is a stranger to your history and culture, to be understood and explained away as the making of other people’s history and culture.

You have grown too accustomed to claiming singular credit for Modernity, Civilization, the Enlightenment, and attributing the other side of these things to peoples outside of your culture. But some of us know that slavery, genocide against native Americans, colonialism, Apartheid, the Holocaust, racism, etc, are the other side of the coin of modernity.

They are co-producers of your Western present. You just do not want to acknowledge it. This explains why every pundit on American cable television imagines he or she needs a mental leap to Africa to understand a racial-supremacist fascist in the White House in 2017.

When I want to explain all the tragedies of the Nigerian present, I look within. I look within Nigeria’s errors of the rendering. I look at Nigeria’s long history of needless and avoidable self-inflicted injuries.

I do not need to travel to America to help me understand why Nigerian Senators and Reps have budgeted new cars for themselves in 2017. Nigeria’s National Assembly is a gathering of Orangutans. I do not attribute responsibility to America. I own my history, my present, and my tragedies. Own yours.

For instance, your racist in the White House appoints another racist White male to oversee his Justice Department. The racist white male in the Justice Department says there will be no federal charges when white police men shoot black men in the back in broad daylight. Instead, he is interested in voter suppression in black areas and enforcing the most stringent prison terms for minor drug offenses against people of colour. And you need to take your similes to Africa to help you understand all of these things?

So what do you imagine that the Civil Rights Movement was against? Against fascists, despots, dictators and tin-gods in Africa?

From CNN to NBC to ABC to everywhere, I see pundits and talk show hosts shell-shocked as they contemplate an American landscape in which institutions are being violated, free speech is being suppressed, journalists are being arrested for asking questions, the media is fake news, and racism is riding the horse of fascism.

The pundits look stunned, dumbfounded. Then they find their voice and scream that it reminds them of Africa.
Helloo! No sir, it reminds me of McCarthy and McCarthyism in your own immediate history and culture. You really do not need the Africa reference to help you understand your problem.
We have lots of problems in Africa that are actually traceable to you.

You have been saying that we should stop blaming colonialism, imperialism, and neocolonialism for our woes. Ok, when you gather around Anderson Cooper tonight for the screaming festival he moderates and calls debates on his show, remember not to blame Africa for the possible tape recording of James Comey by the Frankenstein on your laps.
Look within!

You have all the explanations in you!

Since his passing, his award-winning book, You are not a country Africa, has been soaring on the bestseller list for African literature, overtaking books by such legendary authors as Toyin Falola; Nelson Mandela, post-apartheid president of South Africa; Joseph Conrad, Mark Twain and other great authors.

The book, which won the inaugural Penguin Prize for African literature soared into the top 20 best selling books on African literature, at number 19, just after Adesanmi’s passing.

His latest book, Naija no dey carry last, climbed to the fourth position on the Amazon bestseller list for West African history, displacing the likes Chinua Achebe’s There was a country; John Paden’s Muhammadu Buhari: the challenges of leadership in Nigeria; and Okonjo-Iweala’s reforming the unreformable.

Let’s remember this great man who was more than a Nigerian-Canadian. As Tim Shaw recently said in a note to me:

“Glad you are honouring Pius, as we doi Bob Cox today in Toronto. Pius was a great bridge between the African continent and Canada.

I would add to that, that Pius symbolized the best in what we call “Pan-Africanism”. May you rest in eternal peace my dear friend, Colleague and brother.

Andy Knight

An ode to Professor Pius Adesanmi

“I believe that any language is capable of carrying the weight, culture, intellectual traditions and civilization of the people whom it belongs. No language is more civilized than the other.” – The Late Professor Pius Adesanmi

I would like to thank Professor Pius for not only being a mentor and a teacher to me, but also for being a close friend and a father figure. As these days pass, I cherish all the conversations we had in his office. Even though he was swamped with papers and assignments, he always made time to see me and ask me about my travels. He has left a lasting impact on my life. I have made up my mind that I will write a book that will honour his life.

– Emmanuel Otchere, Carleton University

I met him last night

I met with Pius last night, and we talked about African literature. I was so surprised to see him and asked him, “You didn’t die Pius!” He nodded and said gravely, “No”. I said, “I should tell everybody that you didn’t die. People think you died!” He sulked and said no word. He was tired though. he was sitting in a desk in a classroom, his head down his shoulders and arms on the desk. And I woke up.

– Hicham Gourgem, Carleton University

Rest in Peace

Though I never met Pius in real life, his articles were a delight to read. I am deeply saddened by his untimely death; may his soul rest in peace.

– Obinna Onuaguluchi, UBC

How We Never Met

Professor Pius Adesanmi’s thought kept banging at my heart since the day I heard of his death. First I can’t believe it, second, I can’t rest with all the thoughts of him lying in my body until I finally gathered strength today to get this out of my chest. Till now, my heart jumps at the sight of the social media avi bearing his pictures.

I have never felt so personal for the death of someone I had never met. I found myself receiving condolence from friends whom I shared Prof Pius Adesanmis’s writing with. His death, in the words of one of them, “is a loss of intellectual giant” but we cannot measure his loss in worth, as Siward said in Macbeth, because it is endless.

For days I would be woken up in the middle of the night by disturbing thoughts and murmuring disbelievingly to myself, meditating in moody solemnity what would all of this mean! If those of us who know him only through social media and texts feel as deeply touched, what of those of you who know him personally?

Pius was warm and affable. This could be felt even through social media screen. As he was to everyone who knew him as a public intellectual, mentor, teacher; he is an activist who took Panadol for our own headache.
Pius was who we go to every day to seek interpretation of our own life. His verbal artistry and humor gave us laughter in the midst of tragedy, consoled us and offered insights into the sublime, the most common and the most mundane. His swift, timely intervention and interpretation to political events made us quickly realize the error in our own thinking, how we are violated and traumatized as citizens to accept the unnormal as normal without us knowing.

We live in a cave, as he showed boldly in his writings, but in knowing there is a light outside we became terribly disturbed and agitated. For it was him who told us if you are a Nigerian living in Nigeria you can never experience twenty-first century in the twenty-first century. His absence is acutely felt already in the face of current political happenings.

At the global level, Pius was able to open our mind to see things from the Africanist humanist perspective.

Prof Adesanmi believed the solution to all of these is quality education.

I have come to interact with him once, back as an undergraduate in university. After mentioning a book he coedited with Georges Herault in one of his posts, Jeunes Culture de la rue et Violence Urbaine en Afrique acts du Symposium International d’Abidjan, I went to the school library and excavated the book and reported back to him what I believed were some corrections. But as a student, and this was a whole professor, I was afraid to tell him. I risked it anyway, instead of wielding mighty high degrees, he taught me that he was a human who could err and had the courage of intellectual honesty. He accepted the corrections and promised to amend in the next edition. No if, no but, no at that time there was…

I am not used to that. I was stunned and reeled in a mixture of disbelief and excitement. This warmth gave me an inch to go further. I requested a gift of his You’re Not A Country, Africa (2011). He collected my number and in his characteristic ebullience – easily noticeable in his writing – promised to see me anytime he came to Nigeria. I was in Zaria then.

That was how we never met. We did not exchange any correspondence on this again, me giving him so much room considering his busy schedule and status, keeping at the back of my mind that somehow he was aware but caught in some other commitments, somehow he had forgotten but we were going to meet one day in whatever case. Already with a leg in Theory and Literature and as an African, your encounter with postcoloniality and subalternity is unavoidable and Pius was a master of these.

I owe so much to Pius as citizen and student for working on the quality of my thinking and sharpening my political consciousness, literary enthusiasm and for serving as a role model in various spheres of life. He made us proud and determined to hold unto the truth and humanity.

– Abubakar Muhd, Kano Nigeria

Good night son of my mother

Pius My mother’s son. My Mama pikin. My twin brother.

Those were our names for each other. It was a feeble attempt to capture a kindred spirit and brotherhood too deep for words.

You were a son of the universe. Your life was an indictment of every form of conceptual provincialism, which condemned people to husbanding irrelevancies, instead of celebrating the differences and the unity of it, which makes life a kaleidoscope of beauty, truth and warmth.

You were brother’s heart. Your departure broke many to pieces.

You who was a priest in the temple of words, left us no words, with which to say good bye to you.

Pius son of my mother, good night!

Hear you all: We lost one of the brightest stars in our firmament. The pain is still excruciating. The weight is still too hard to bear.

See you brother. See you!

– Onyemaechi Emmanuel Franklyne Ogbunwezeh, International Society for Human Rights, Frankfurt Germany

National Arts Centre

On behalf of the National Arts Centre, we extend sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Professor Pius Adesanmi. We were honoured to have him at the NAC as a distinguished guest speaker in 2015, in connection with our presentation of “Obaaberima”, by Ghanian-Canadian playwright/performer Tawiah M’Carthy. We were deeply saddened to learn of his tragic passing, and our thoughts go out to all who knew and loved him.

– Judi Pearl, National Arts Centre

A brief memorable friendship

Pius and I both lived in the Fulbright compound at the University of Ghana for a few months in 2014. We had a brief friendship born out of the situation but also from his generosity of spirit and wisdom. In the few months when our paths ran in tandem I really appreciated our conversations on balmy evenings outside or during campus events. I hoped we’d reconnect at some point in the future; I knew should we do so I’d be met with warmth having had a shared experience and knowing Piuswas such a lover of people and good conversation. My heart is heavy that the world has lost him way too soon; am so grateful to have shared time with him.

– Susan Yawa Wilcox

Pius Adesanmi: Death in the Age of Social Media

Social media scares me. It should scare anyone alive. While the world mourns a 6- foot plus giant whose abrasive combination of the Horatian and Juvenalian satire earned him global acclaim, a few of us grieves a son, a brother, a wife and a father. In the era of social media, a few people have read their own obituary; while some of us have had the misfortune of being informed about the death of loved ones on social media. Some psychopaths appear to be in competition to announce bad news. In that contest, people fail to realise that people grief differently.

For me, Pius Adebola Adesanmi has not always been ‘the prof’. I am trying to come to terms with the demise of the gentle giant that addressed me with honorific pronouns, the one who bestowed on me consanguinity and affinity and shared the joys of growing as well as the worries of life…Read more

– Tunde Asaju, Daily Trust

Pius, Swag, Photos and Quality WiFi

A thousand words are not enough to describe you Pius,
A thousand essays will never be able to capture your influence,
You were full of life, gracious, witty, bold, down to earth, and lovely;
You were many things to me; family, friend, confidant, mentor and compass – providing direction

Things are not the same since you left,
Things are happening so fast, yet in slow motion,

Pius: Oh earthlings, your Wi-Fi connection sucks. I have not had time to write this article since I arrived here; I have been busy enjoying endless tours of inconceivable and uncontainable beauty. There is so much “wonderment” here (as my naija people say).

Me: Really! That sounds super exciting. Is it like a 7-star resort?

Pius: (chuckles) You have no idea. The Control Room here is unfathomable. Just beyond words. I am shocked at the level of details here; we see ALL of you, yes ALL of you. Your waking up, eating, walking, and even what goes on in za oza room. I heard what you said under your breath before answering that phone call. Yes, I heard it loud and clear. You see that NASA’s internet connection you boast of eh, it is infinitesimal compared to what we have here. I was told you guys don’t have any word for it. Some smart dude will call it mega tetra gazillion Gbps. Raabish.

Me: Haba! Prof., that is impossicant.

Pius: They even want me to give a speech. Imagine! Me? How come? I just arrived.

The tour guide smiles and says “Oota, you are one of us. Why did you stay out so long?”

Go on, enjoy the serenity that comes with your new home on God’s celestial shores,
Go on, pose for them. show them your swag. Let the angels take endless pictures of you in resolutions invisible to human eyes
Go on, relish the endless beauty and the superior Wi-Fi connection we cannot fathom

How else will you choose to stay on the other side?
I still have those summer plans and the endless to do list we always make.

Till we meet to part no more. Good night my one and only erudite Professor.

– Femi Ajidahun

Ode to a cultured Man

Pius was a man of culture, a lover of culture and a believer in culture. Culture wasn’t just a way of life, it was what made us human and civilized. That is why he loved language and became a polyglot; that is why he loved students and devoted his life to teaching and why he loved his continent and its culture and devoted his life to making it a better place. And while words are not enough to describe this larger-than-life man, the culture he held in high esteem will always guarantee that his legacy lives on.

Good Night, my friend.

– Eyitayo Aloh, Trent University

Remarkable life

Prof. Pius Adesanmi & Ob Aginam

Professor Pius Adesanmi! Everything that needs to be said about your remarkable life has not only been said but those things have been said so eloquently and polemically by the numerous lives that you touched in your approximately 50 eventful years of life. I’m so depressed by your passing that I am short of words. I dug deep into my archives last night in search of pictures of the memorable times you and I shared in the first year of our doctoral studies at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Luckily after a few hours of search, I found two photos of you and I when we started this long and often frustrating academic journey in 1998 at UBC in search of a PhD. It still feels like yesterday. As you exited this world in very tragic circumstances on board the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines on Sunday, 10 March 2019, may God Rest your soul and grant you eternal peace! My heart bleeds for your aged mum, your spouse Muyiwa, and lovely daughter Tise. May they find the fortitude to bear your transition. I hope that soon I’ll find the strength and courage to write an appropriate tribute for a remarkable personality that you are. Death has snatched one of the best from us!

Prof. Pius Adesanmi & Ob Aginam

– Obi Aginam, Deputy Director, United Nations University-IIGH & Adjunct Research Professor of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University

Good night to the world and good morning in Heaven

Pius, good night to this wicked World and good morning in Heaven. R.I.P

– Henry Lanlokun, Great Pacific Immigration Law Services

Pius Adebola Adesanmi

Last week, the announcement of the crash of the Ethiopian Airline 302 near Addis Ababa came to us as a huge surprise, especially in the wake of a similar crash in Indonesia a few months prior. But the death of Pius Adebola Adesanmi, one of the 157 passengers in that Ethiopian Airline flight, brought home the immensity of that tragedy to us, especially for those who had the good fortune of meeting and working with this poet, professor of African studies, and a renown public intellectual. He was just 47 and on his way to Nairobi for a conference on Africa organized by the UN. Until his death, he was the Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carlton University, Ottawa, Canada.  A popular professor at Carlton and an award-winning writer and commentator, he was a beloved teacher. Payo, as he was fondly called by his friends and colleagues, mentored scores of students both at Carlton and elsewhere in Africa, compelling his mentees to look beyond the hackneyed description of Africa. He was not just an Africanist, he was an African-Africanist who love and respected his subject. Africa for him was not merely academic subject. Africa evoked a cultural realness, the kind which calls for the scholarship that humanize.

Pius Adesanmi was a dear friend to this Department, our Department, and we’ve had reasons to invite him to be part of our academic activities in the last couple of years. At every point, he obliged us, offering his valuable expertise on the African continent, especially in the field of the literature from that part of the world. We mourn, with the rest of world, the passing of Pius Adebola Adesanmi, and we hope that his wife, Olumuyiwa and daughter, Tise, will take solace in the fact that he died doing what he loved best, working for the good of Africa and Africans.

Onookome Okome and Teresa Zackodnik

It has only just begun…


I am at a loss for words, we first met when I was a plucky young undergrad during my first year and Carleton. I remember walking in to the English Department and you were the only one not in a suit, you were dressed as you later told me “the African way.” Of course, this later became an inside joke between both of us as we connected both being Indigenous and all.

Although we may come from different sides of the world, you humbleness taught me what I have been seeking for years. What’s does it mean to be an Indigenous person living in a colony? You offered many insightful discussion drawing internationals links for us. Without you, I would not have been the only Indigenous student at Carleton’s first ever Somali conference. You taught me the importance of human connections, as well as the power it has to dismantle those systems put in place to destroy us.

Without your encouragement, I would not be in graduate school.

You will be truly missed, but we can feel the spirit of joy and love you gave to the world everyday!
Ona:ki (Until we meet again),

– Kristine McCorkell, Carleton University

A short but memorable life of Pius Adesanmi

Pius Adesanmi (27 February 1972 – 10 March 2019)

For those of us who did not know Professor Pius Adesanmi, a rare gem and quintessential young Professor before he smiled away to his lord, I am writing this synopsis of his short but memorable life for your perusal.

Professor Pius Adesanmi was born on February 25, 1972 in Isanlu Isin, an ancient town in Isin Local Government of Kogi State, Nigeria. Isin LGA Kogi State was created from the old Irepodun Local Government Area in 1996 with the headquarters at Owu-Isin. Pius was blooded and nurtured from this rustic town and put the town’s name glowingly on the worldmap.

Professor Pius Adesanmi was a writer and a literary critic and columnist. He was the author of “Naija No Dey Carry Last”, a 2015 compendium collection of satirical essays. Pius Adesanmi and Ambassador Abiodun Bashua along with others foreign nationals who were passengers died on 10 March 2019 when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after take-off.

Prof. Adesanmi was a Professor of English and African Literature and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University in Canada. He graduated from the University of Ilorin with Bachelor degree. He had his Masters degree from the University of Ibadan. Prof. Pius obtained his PhD from the University of British Columbia, Canada. He taught at Pennsylvania State University in the United States before he left for Carleton University, Canada.

Pius has remained a voracious intellectual who combined both family tasks and intellectual engagement with social media savviness. The intelligent Professor will be missed by the cyberborgs and cyborgs on zukerville, a man loved and followed by more than 40,000 savvy social media users in a fast naughty shrinking global village.

Through his social media posts, he has influenced thousands of resourceful young Nigerians in the diaspora and other nationalities around the world. Professor Pius Adesanmi will be remembered as a Nigerian-Canadian, and a bubbling young African with intellectual acumen. Prof. Pius was a great asset to the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Nigeria and Africa. He will be sorely missed by all and sundry.

In our humankind, Professor Pius Adesanmi was also satirist, kindred spirit, humorist, linguist, extemporaneous speaker, orator, tourist, untiring traveler, a lettered man with vintage styles of pounding our corrupt politicians with his smitten power of words. Professor Pius Adesanmi graciously poured libations at the entrance of the epicenter of Professor Wole Soyinka–Kongi harvest, our literary icon in Nigeria. Soyinka is a literatus and stupendous literary gnome in the forest of our thousands literati. Pius Adesanmi’s conscription and initiation into the Museum of arts of Professor Wole Soyinka is also one the academic credentials possessed by Pius Adesanmi. The initiation that weaponized Pius’s pen to rattle our leaders’ conscience, and enhance our insatiable quest for knowledge and intellectual acquisition.

Professor Pius Adesanmi was an effervescent professor to evolving and incubating global professors. He was a gentle soul and ghostly confessor to his friends dead or alive. Prof. Adesanmi was a flourishing flower to his young daughter Tani and his beautiful wife. In the ecumenical parlance of literary empire, the ebullient Professor spoke ex-cathedral and extemporaneously to his audience with captivating words from his bank of ideas. He was also a God-fearing man with unpretentious personality.

There was never a dull moment in Professor Pius’s interactions with humankind. To live in the hearts of those we love and beloved is never to die. The attestation and manifestation of the nuance above is evident in world tributes and eulogies being poured on the kindred spirit of the youthful Canadian Professor.

Professor Pius Adesanmi’s vintage and funny mien, romance and unblemished affection for his family, colleagues and friends will be sorely missed. But this bubbling soul has embarked on an unending blissful journey to unknown eternity. To live in the bosom hearts of the lives we have touched while alive is not to die!

Goodnight, Professor Pius Adesanmi.

– Yahaya Balogun, Arizona Department of Corrections, USA


I never met you but only at the news of your death. From all that I have heard and read there is no doubt that you were a rare gem.Sleep on well dear brother. May the Lord comfort and uphold your family. My sincere condolence to your wife and daughter.

– Olajumoke Tokode, Vancouver

Our best is gone

It is no longer a news that we lost the most intelligent, cheerful and pragmatic intellectual. Prof. Pius Adesanmi, the great came to impact the world with his God’s given knowledge. A very upright and selfless human being. We have all accepted our fate that life is like a journey, it has the beginning and the end. Everyone had hoped that you missed the ill fated flight but we all woke up to the reality that you are no more with us. You may be gone but your memory lives forever. Your good works will continue to speak till eternity. Words cannot describe the agony and pain your demise left in our hearts but continue to rest in the bossom of the lord.

Sun re o! Prof. Pius Adesanmi.

– Francis Ade – Ojo, The University of Texas

Remembered by all you have done

Rest in Peace, Prof. You will continue to be remembered for all you have done. May the Lord comfort all your loved ones.

– Olubunmi Erogbogbo

He will lead my home

Doing my normal routine
I stumbled on the news of a plane crash
I felt bad for those who departed in rash
Little did I know of mine
A young and vibrant professor
Who never stopped believing in Nigeria
An activist he was with so much euphoria
Yet death could not pity his intercessor
Several months ago he cheated death
Not knowing the cheat was a debt
Waiting to be repaid
Now it’s all a fade

Rest on Prof PIUS ADESANMI we loved you
Your maker love you more and I trust He will lead you home in peace just as you requested in your last Facebook post.

– Patience Enakele, University of Ibadan


I am in my office and I still can’t wrap my head around your death, Pius Adesanmi. I feel numb. Your death is surreal.

This morning I woke up and went through the emails and chats I received from you. From that one time, I contacted you that I was applying to universities in Canada–and you wrote, in that usual jocular self, “Dear Mentee Daughter….” I remember how you advised me on things to do as I prepared to move to Canada. I also remember the time you called and asked how my daughter and I were settling in when we arrived in Edmonton. How you continued to check in when you could. I remember the last call I promised myself to make to wish you a happy birthday, but chose to instead send a Whatsapp and facebook message! You didn’t respond, and I told myself I’d call you later! — Later, my God. There’s no later again with you, oga Pius.

I also remember how you walked boisterously into the restaurant that morning at the Ake Festival with Professor Osundare, shouting “Iwo!” your laughter eating up the room. I felt like you had known me forever even though we were meeting physically for the very first time! Yes, I knew you on Krazivitity, facebook–by virtue of your profound intellect, but was only meeting you for the very first time! Yet, your ebullient laughter lapped the moment like it was a reunion.

Oga Pius! Perhaps we should have sung this louder enough, you were our rockstar professor. You were our bragging rights.
Ha! Ina ooooo! Eja’n lo! Erin wo!

And as I think of other passengers involved in the #Ethopianairlinecrash, your demise multiplies the collective pain. It is closer home. It is hard to swallow. Yet, all we can do now is to ask that you rest in the lord. The same God you surrendered to before the mishap.

Rest Great Elephant, rest you have labored, but not in vain. May God keep your daughter and wife and mama. Bai lo da o! Ajanakufayasile lo.

– Comfort Verissimo, University of Alberta

Painful exit

I don’t know you Professor Pius Adesanmi, I never met while alive but your exit leaves the whole world asking why now even though we all know that death is inevitable for all. Your sudden death is great loss to humanity and it will forever leave an indelible mark on your students, friends and family. Your life was short and remarkable. Rest in the bossom of your creator who understands better . God be with you till we meet again. Adieu!!! Prof. Farewell.

– Chimezie Bruno-Chukwu, Brim Mount schools @Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria.

A shining star…now shining even brighter from heaven!

I woke up on Sunday March 10, 2019 to unbelievably shocking news of the early morning Ethiopian Airline plane crash. First off, the news of any plane crash is always so traumatic to take in. Then comes the tentative checking for survivor news, with the hope that no family, friend or known person perished with those who died.

So, I was shocked to read the news that Prof. Pius Adesanmi (PPA) perished on the crashed ET Airline plane. I scarce could take it in! How could PPA be dead? PPA who still wrote an op-ed about Nigeria and tweeted about our State elections on March 9? He was larger than life in my mind. People like PPA don’t just turn up dead!

Then the crushing sadness, sense of loss and despondency set in… over this huge loss to the world, Nigeria’s socio-political conscience, his academic world of the Institute of African studies at Carleton, his home Community, his teeming followers on social media, his friends, well wishers and family.

I recalled my earliest memories of PPA circa 1997-98, during my medical student days with glimpses of him at Our Lady’s Seat of Wisdom Catholic Chapel on the University of Ibadan campus….hearing my Dad, retired Prof. J. P Ukoyen, talk to my Mum about this his star MA student, Pius….vague memories of him coming to see Dad at home where we lived on Campus…. I recalled how I later confirmed that the now world famous PPA that I had befriended on Facebook, where I became an avid reader and follower of his commentaries, was indeed my Dad’s student from back in Ibadan! I went chasing after our FB inbox messages and have reread them over and over again…. grasping at the words he wrote and imagining his voice reading out the words, including the parts where he interjected with laughter!

Prof. Pius Adesanmi was indeed a shining star…now shining even brighter from heaven! I have read and watched tributes  pour in for him from all over the world and on several social media platforms; a large number from people who never physically met or knew him but followed him on social media. Clearly, PPA was an intellectual giant who bestrode several sectors like a Colossus and yet made it look oh so easy. From Nigerian street cred, our socio-political situation, African and Nigerian history, story-telling, teaching, his academic niches…to being a good friend, buddy, colleague, mentor, son, father and husband.

I am grateful that I lived in his times and I have learnt from PPA to seize each day and make the best out of the finite time I have here on earth. What an impactful and meaningful life he led! RIP Prof. Pius Adebola Adesanmi…May God comfort your loved ones, family, friends, colleagues and all who now mourn your abrupt passing. Amen 🙏🏽 #GoneTooSoon #NeverToBeForgotten”

– Eno Usoroh


May his soul rest in peace.

– Florence Benjaminabass

The world lost a general

That Sunday morning when Prof Pius Adesanmi posted his picture holding his passport and quoting Psalm 139: 9-10, i understood he was about to travel and i wished him safe trip. little did i know that, that was the last time i will physically here from Prof. one week after the tragedy, i am ye to be myself, though I never met or knew Prof on a personal note. I only knew Prof through his interesting writings via Facebook where he artistically agree about a Better Africa and Nigeria and since then i kept wondering where does this man lives. I asked myself, how can someone read french like me and be a Professor of English? How can someone be living and working in Canada, yet he is more felt at home in Nigeria and Africa at large than his home based counterparts? I maintain that there are many potential Professor Pius Adesanmis back in Nigeria but who never said or wrote a word because of fear. The exit of Prof is global loss but one thing is certain; Prof leaves on through his works. Keep resting in the Lord, Brother.

– Samuel Ojediran

Demise of a Pan African Icon

How I wish he sensed the danger and didn’t tavel when his name was left missing in Ottawa enroute Toronto – Addis Ababa.

Pius Adesanmi was one of the greatest Nigerian and world renowned Professors I have ever known. Such a cerebral professor. As a writer and “wordsmith”, His articles and talks were channels towards instituting sanity and getting rid of corruption in the Nigerian mode of governance – and by extension Africa. He spared no time in enlightening his readers on the society “abnormality which many people perceived as normality” – as well as realigning our moral compass – whenever he sensed the society is tilting towards being astray.

Such a vibrant and vocal advocate of quality education, justice, accountability, transparency, decency and morality. I never met you person but I cherished his intelligence and unique ways of thinking.

I will miss his articles and views on future salient issues concerning Nigeria.

I pray that may the Lord comfort his wife (Muyiwa), daughter (Tise), Mama Adesanmi and other family members he left behind.

I’m still heart broken.

Rest in peace Professor Pius Adesanmi.

– Abayomi Odewale, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, Nigeria

Uncle Pius and Ethiopia

Uncle Pius Adesanmi is an enigma, an enigma worthy of emulation even in death. I authored a poetry collection titled “Dead Lions Don’t Roar” but Uncle Pius Lion is roaring even in death. The death of Africa’s true son and Canada’s gem shook the World even though I never ever met him. But his legacy lives on, his works and his ideology for an Africa with accountability in Leadership will continue to shape the political discourse and resonate with us all for years to come.

Pius Adesanmi, you came, you roared and your name will forever be remembered by generations to come.

I also wrote a poem to celebrate Uncle Pius and the 156 other lives lost which will be published in my next poetry collection.

Eni nla lo, ile jeniyan, Odigba o.

– Tolu’ A. Akinyemi

Exit of a brilliant writer

I started following Prof. via social media eight years ago, but I got endeared in 2012 after reading his article on one of the Nigeria’s political godfathers, the satirical manner at which he delivered the message bared he was a rare breed of writer. I was never opportune to meet him in person, my last trial was few years back when he was invited by Covenant Church of Christ Lagos, Nigeria to deliver lecture at their yearly program tagged “The Platform” unfortunately, the nomadic nature of my job deprived me of the opportunity. I was on official assignment outside of Lagos when the event was held.

Pius could have decided to stay in luxury and arms of his wife in the city of Ottawa, no, his heart was always in Africa to impact knowledge and contribute to the development of Africans.

Adieu Brilliant Prof.

– Taofik Jimoh

Adieu, Pius

Never knew you nor met you but your writing style was something that connected strongly with me, perhaps from the first time i read an article written by you.

Even though I did not always agree with your viewpoints, whenever I got online at some point, I would race from Sahara Reporters to Premium Times to see if you had written something new. I looked forward to reading your write ups and commentaries. Your sense of humour was great.

At some point when it seemed you were not churning out enough stuffs for us (your online reading audience), I had to search out the internet only to discover you had pitched your online writing tent at the Tribune online.

Then the car accident in Nigeria which God graciously made you survive, and then less than a year later, death, that appointment that we all must keep – only seemingly too soon.

My condolence goes to your family, mother, daughters and especially your wife who in your death has shown strength which validates the saying that indeed behind every successful man is a woman. May God strengthen and comfort them at such a time as this.

I only hope that you had an active connection with the Saviour as to guarantee you a place in heaven.

Adieu Pius, Adieu.

– Kofi Mensah

Hope. Hunger. Hardwork

Bewildered that lack of discipline was the beginning of his learning experience Professor Pius is the epitome of hope and hard-work fuelled by a hunger. I was simply astonished to find that Late but forever beloved Professor Pius Adesanmi`s intellectual foundation was laid in the standard less society of Nigeria, this re-emphasises my position that he is the star leading all young and old Nigerian`s to the messiah within themselves- we are gods on earth so this truth is not very fetched.

Traversing a world has justified baseless excuses in the Nigerian system to numerous deadlines with little or no regard for his personal issues Pius blossomed into a Giant for Africa, an epitome of Nigeria`s title. An enigma, he represents the fruit of a hard work tree, he didn’t know anyone or pay anyone; with sweat, tears and headaches- courtesy “too much reading” ( a fallacy believed by the Nigerian society) he shines in more than two continents.

Influence is not about how many social media followers you garner, or how many people think they would like to be just like you. Influence is inspiring and causing more people to be lights, and Late Professor Pius did that especially through PADA in Ghana. He has refused to allow Nigerians or Africans revel in mediocrity and ignorance of an expanse of opportunities through the Facebook network called The Doctoral Lounge.

The messiah was crucified in order for us to harness the wealth of power within us, greater works than he did must we do lest we spit on his face and kill his legacy. The mandate is to go out and make disciples, regardless of how time consuming, mentally tasking and energy sapping it is.

Some say before a star dies it is brightest, Thank you Professor Pius` for leading us to the knowledge that we are our own messiahs, although your star has given way for ours, the last minute illumination cleared a path and we promise we will never deviate from it.

Adieu Professor Pius.

– Celine Aju, Babcock University

Indeed, a rare gem you were! Goodnight, Prof!

Hmmmm….I never met you but had contact through your writeups (inspirational, educative, humorous, et al) which made and still make great impacts whenever they’re read through and I must say heaven has again WON another battle to get a great soul in the celestial realm….It’s somehow painful that humanity has lost a RARE GEM but Allahswt knows best, for He takes away His servants to a better PLACE before the evil days and I pray your good soul is granted the eternal peace of that beautiful abode.. PARADISE!

The Mighty Creator shall continue to comfort and strengthen your loved ones to carry on.


– Monsurah Abimbola Alagbe, Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN)

Tribute to pathfinder

You are pathfinder and uncommon specie from Kogi State North Central, although i sent you an email last year regarding my post doctoral fellow in your university but no response, i guess you think , is an email from nigeria scam email, I do always read your write up on sahara reporters and some other nigeria news paper.

You are a Great man!

I wish your wife , mum , siblings and Adesanmi families to bear the loss. you live a good life Pius

– Kamoru Abiodun Balogun, University of Putra Malayasia

Adieu, Pius!

Ethiopian Airline Crash: A Tribute to Prof. Pius Adesanmi

Dear forumites,

Most of us were silently wishing it was a false news or there would be rejoinder titled, “NO.I am not dead!” unfortunately, we were not lucky to read a rejoinder from Pius this time around. We lost one of our brightest stars, Prof. Pius Adesanmi on March 10, 2019 in the Ethiopia Airline crash near Addis Ababa. May his gallant soul rest in perfect peace. amen. There had been too many deaths of young people in our community lately. Father, Lord, please put a stop to deaths of our young people. amen

Prof. Pius Adebola Adesanmi was one forumite one can hardly win in a discussion in these forums or fora as some intellectuals like to write. He would be giving the readers facts and evidence to support his arguments. He was humble enough to apologize whenever he has seen that he had hurt the feelings of the person he was arguing with. An example was myself. He apologized and we moved on to become good friends. I would be quick to defend him whenever anyone wanted to attack his writing. He was always contributing great articles to the groups he loved passionately. One of his prolific writings was when he wrote on “Abiku” and our traditional beliefs on existence of “Abiku” mythology. He believed and he gave us evidence using himself as an example who came and has decided to stay for good. We all laughed. He was right because he accomplished a lot by influencing the world with his writings, speeches, humanitarian work, teachings, love to people. A recent article he wrote on living in the suburbs abroad and having to see animals like deer and raccoon by one`s door step went so viral that it was shared in almost all cyber groups. Were you saying goodbye to us, Pius?

Another example of Pius Adesanmi`s brilliant writing was when he wrote about his love for his father, the death of his father, and how he buried his father honorably as a loving son. His writing inspired many readers to love their own parents more and appreciate the love and care of their parents in their lives. Pius was brilliant. He was a family man and he loved Nigeria. May his soul rest in perfect peace. Amen. Adieu, Pius!

– Tosin Mustapha (New York City), Afro Heritage Magazine

A word from afar

May your families be consoled by the fact that you used your gift and calling for the world at large. Rest with the angel pius adesanmi, your works speaks…

– Abiodun Lookman

How does one forget a man like you?

Your death is a shock that reverberates, and it takes a lot of getting used to. Yet, what do we know about these things—death, life and how it plays with the ones we value.

Yet, I know that death has no reason to be proud. You lived a life beyond death’s captive. It is in this that my joy rest.

I remember our first meeting and the ebullient laughter which carried the room. How does one forget a man like you? There are more words in me to speak, but Prof Adesanmi. Words fail me. I pray for peace for you in the new place where you are. For peace on your family—the ones, you left behind. For the many lives you have touched, torn into bits by this sad news….

We pray that the future would remember you, as Pius Adesanmi, the Ajanaku who shamed death.

Rest in peace.

– Jumoke Verissimo, University of Alberta

A question to the god of death

As I bid farewell to the pen of change, a rare gem, a giant stride, a world class mentor and a pace setter, I only have this to say, ‘god of death should always be considerate on highly acclaimed personnel as the like of Professor Pius Adesanmi.’ Tears stood on every eye that heard the demise of this demigod. On that 10th day of March 2019, Nigeria lost the man of the people. If truly Professor Pius Adesanmi is gone forever land, the god of death should be questioned. Let the writers take up their pen to join me on questioning death. Professor Pius really created an impact that will forever be remembered. The Igbo people will always say, ‘we cannot question the gods in their making,’ With the tears and sorrow packed in my words for taking Professor Pius Adesanmi, my bleeding ink cannot hold this question for the gods any longer. God of death why are you so inconsiderate? Did you know that you are holding a god of literature? Did you know that Professor Pius is an acclaimed Professor? Did you know in his writing abilities he can create a god? And even cause man to die and he gives life to characters that deserve it. You took away a mentor and you need to be questioned. Why did you decide to take the bull by the horn? You came when no one needs you. You have taking one of the pens that is ready to help take African Literature to the zenith. Oh wicked god of death, my questions are not rhetorical. Oh god of death why are you so callous? Oh god of death why are you so inconsiderate. Will crying bring back our Professor? Will my bleeding pen bring back our Professor? Can I create a story to make Professor Pius Adesanmi live again? Can he be that character that is full of Life in this story? If I create this story can it be in real life? Oh! Death why are you silent? Does it mean you have taking our Professor to the land where spirits dwell? Oh god of death, you have really touched the lion’s tail this time. God of death, you can only take the Professor away from us but his legacy lives with us. Farewell Professor! Tell our ancestors to sacrifice for the inconsiderate god of death so that it’ll consider before taking. Professor Pius Adesanmi you’ll always be remembered because you are indeed a demigod. It’s always hard to bid this farewell. My pen respects your legacies.

– Michael Ikegwu, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki Nigeria

What a very sad loss

An illustrious son of Nigeria who within his brief lifetime etched his satirical approach to presenting serious national issues into the minds of all patriotic Nigerians. He made it his tireless duty to constantly remind the docile youths of Nigeria the amount of energy and potential they possess in order to change the Country for good. Late Professor Adesanmi was an invaluable gift from Nigeria to the western world. May his gentle soul Rest in Peace and may the Almighty continue to uphold and comfort the beautiful family he left behind.

– Oladapo Eyiowuawi

The Lord is the Boss

‘Who plucked my flower?’..asked the Gardener.’I did’, answered the Lord..
And the Gardener kept his peace…
Professor Pius Adesanmi (1972-2019)

– Ernest Osagie, CEO,Y2K Publishing Company Ltd

Pious Psalms for Pius

I used to think it is when an old man dies
That a society loses a valuable section of a library
I was of the opinion that only elders
Make up a literary grove
I thought all professors are aged people
But oh, over the years
As I grow older and get tutored
I realise any great intellectual
Whether young or old
Can be a literal well of wisdom

Scribes and sages are witnessing an overhaul
Fresh inks are becoming literary gods and goddesses
There must be a revolution after all
Modern writers are the overall
Contemporary writers are in it all
Pen and penchants are racing to be renowned
We are clusters of words
We walk down mentors’ hall
Strolling their inspiring wall
Seeking mentorship and criticism

In the literary era of versatility
We had a grand scholar and professor
With a mastery of satire and witticism
His diction was everything cultural and intercontinental
And we thought we had it all…

On a plain full of joyful travellers
Grand patrons boarded a plane
Amidst cheers with no dainty fates
Patrons peered at the clouds through the pane
As the Boeing eagle spread its wings

The Boeing eagle took a sprightful flight
Above the earth and above the clouds
Aboard this Boeing eagle
There was a pious literary patron who
Had chanted a chasm of psalms
Before boarding this fateful flight
He did not know it would be a plight
March Tenth was a day of unspeakable silence
A day of speak-able sadness without license
March tenth ushered us into a mournful tent

This March essence came with taint faintness
As many stars took a bow in the Boeing eagle
Oh a young ancient library
Has been ravaged by fire and ruined to dust
Dusk came too early on the sunset of our literary harvest
It coldly snatched our literary Don
Dust came at dawn and intercepted the dews
Of our morning and planted a moan in our mourning voices
And bitterness enriched our lips
Singing dirges and signing tributes with our tongues

Oh, death was raving and pacing
And turned our Don to dusk while at dawn
Pius man, your soul touched the sky
On the wings of a faulty angel
Find rest in a flawless haven above
Your name will rain all over the world
Prof. Pius Adesanmi, your name
Will rise above the ruins of the Boeing crash
Your name will rise and reign beyond the ruins
For your legacy has the soul of immortality

– Gift Amukoyo

Demise of an icon

The news of Prof Pius Adesanmi’s demise in the crash of the ill-fated flight ET302 came as a rude shock. I was hoping it was false, I quickily went through your Twitter handle because i am ardent follower of your page.. Yet could not found answer to my search, yet already seeing tribute by many that you indeed was among the 157 on board the Ethopian Airline.

Your exit was indeed a painful one, though never had personal experience with you but since i have watched you speak on “The Platform” i saw in you a genious and have touched many lifes with your literary prowess..

Sleep on, Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi! You have lived an impactful life and made indelible marks on the sand of time!

– Adewale Lawal, Portharcourt, Nigeria


Your type is rare to find.

A special breed.

Your kind is too special to have been taken away at this time, most especially your home state and Nigeria as a whole. I always look forward to messages from your Twitter handle and always wanting to comment and hoping for a response from you which would have made my day but I won’t be getting such again. Continue to sleep on our beloved Pius Adesanmi. Sun re oooo

– Akinwande Oke

Lord teach us to number our days

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. A great icon has gone. Isanlu people missed you. May your soul rest in perfect with the Lord Jesus.

– Adegboro Samuel

African ambassador to the west

Professor Pius Adesanmi was larger than life while on earth and in death. He was selfless in his service to humanity. He was indeed an African Ambassador to the West. Professor Adesanmi is not dead as we can see his numerous works all around us.He will be greatly missed. I pray that God will keep his family- wife, children, siblings, and mama Adesanmi and grant them the fortitude to bear this great loss. Rest in peace prof.

– Yemi Adeyiga, Oklahoma State University, Graduate Research Assistant

Uttermost part of the sea

Now we ask God
To wake us up into light
That we might see you
Walking in our ways
Now, we ask God to
Hold you in our prayers
And lead you into
Our answers.
That is only a song
We have learnt to sing
When the bird has flown
Out of our feeble finger
Into the fluffy sky.
That is only a song
We have got to sing
In this surface water
Now that the fish, the flying fish
Has drown and dwell
In the uttermost part of the sea.
This song that I sing
You may join me
If you feel every moment
Of the lost singing-bird.

The pot is shattered
And will hold water no more
Nor will it cook
For the famished soul.
Pius is a songbird
Who fell off the sky
And into the pit of
A sorrowful dreams
To wake up watching
An alien movie
But no more Games of Thrones
No more!
No more shall he take
His daughter back home
In Ibadan to learn
Hissing a native hiss.
No more!

Pius, though so crystal clear
That you’ve walked into that Good Night
We can’t bear our heavy lips
To bid you good bye.
Pius Adesanmi,
All this world is a sea,
You have taken the wings of morning
And drown in the uttermost part of the sea
Leaving us to mourning.
Nonetheless, we know
That He who sees and knows
All fortunes and misfortunes
Shall lead you home
In his very right arm.

– McCoy Major Golding

Good Kolas don’t last

Kokoro ko je ka gbadun obi to gbo kaka, ile n je yan
Even tho u left too early , your footprints remain indelible in the sand of time
Your passion for Africa and especially Nigeria cultures
Demonstrated often iin your mode of dressing most times ,that fine African accent with which you presented your speeches anytine , anyday
And the constructive critcism of governance back home cannot be forgotten.
No other way to show that you are a true African son and hero other than the way and mammer you exited this world.
The fact that I never had the chance to meet you in person and even got to know about you after your demise thru your works shows that you live on .
Adieu Prof Pius,.
Ma gborun sorun re o.

– Adeniyi Temmy

Death is not the end of life but a transition to eternal life

I never met you brother but, I know you and I have read some of your articles. You were a person of character and a good ambassador. From your write ups I could make out that you are a good father and husband. You were a good fellow. All the tributes here also confirm that. Adieu my brother! Adieu good fellow!! May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace. Amen.

My thought goes to the wife, children and family he left behind. It is well!

– Chuck Obasi

Things I wish I said in thanks to a new ancestor

Pius Adesanmi, it is long way since that first meeting in Uyo. 2012. There was Minna and the several other places. You were kind and gave room for mentorship which several of us didn’t take – even when you almost begged us to. What words are enough to say how grateful I am, for the many favours, for the several things you did and have done… ? What words are enough to convey regret for what I should have done but didn’t?

Words fail me but thank you, for every single thing you did, Professor Pius Adesanmi. You are a man for all ages and I see you in my thoughts as I speak.

Thank you for inspiring me and for making realise how short life is but how rich we can make it with what time we have.

Rest on in your words as in our hearts. Live on, for to live in the hearts of those you love, is to never die.

Rest well, ancestor.

– Su’eddie Vershima Agema, University of Sussex/ SEVHAGE

Humanity will never forget you

I did not know Prof. Pius Adesanmi until his death. After he died, I have read and listened to many words about who he was during his lifetime. Those words made me believe that it is not the years in our lives that matter but the life in our years.

At 47, Prof. Adesanmi has made an indelible mark and impact in this world. He has helped humanity. In fact, this great Nigerian died in the course of pursuing a greater Africa.

May God grant him eternal rest.

– Jamiu Idowu, Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria

Naija don carry last!

The title of Pius Adesanmi’s book of scathing essays, Naija No Dey Carry Last, has been turned against its head. And it now reads: Naija Don Carry Last.

With his death in the ill fated Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max, along side other happy and prospective passengers, the hand of the clock of emerging new knowledge, fresh perspectives and intellectual rigour in cultural and African studies has been violently stopped. Pius Adesanmi belongs to the fourth generation of African intellectuals who have been weaned from the orthodoxy and inaugurated into a highly liberalised intellectual discourse, whether this be humanities, the social sciences, physical and natural sciences, information communication technology and their mediation through counter currents of theories and understandings.

The energy which Pius has brought to bear on new knowledge, understanding and interpretation of the African condition in the last twenty years is outstanding and seminal. His energy and passion cannot be matched if we navigate the sea of his intellectual works, his talks and travelogues, and of coarse his unmatched public intellectualism in the new media.

Africa, and especially emerging new directions in African scholarship, has been badly disrupted with his death. He will be sorely missed by all: his family, friends, colleagues and the powers that be in Nigeria and the African states who have received the butt of his scathing criticisms.

Though I was not fortunate to meet him physically, I have followed him regularly and found him both engaging and inspiring.

Go in peace, brother, friend and mentor.

– Maikudi Zukogi, Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria

A loss to the Okun world

Goodnight My Brother, as your keens man it pains me the most that your death brought up your personality to me.

Having gone through your articles, talks and social media posts I said to myself what a great loss to the Okun world.

You are such a great man in your lifetime and after,

I’m greatly pained that our path never crossed till you moved to the great beyond but equally consoled by the fact that you touched many lives while here. I know you are with your father in heaven where you daily joined the heavenly host to sing hosanna in the highest with wide broad smiles looking over your family.

I pray they receive grace to carry on
Okun boda Bola,
Odigba odigbose
Ipade di ese Jesu

– Olumuyiwa Olowonawu

You will forever live in our hearts

Africa and the world will forever remember you for your great pan-Africanist vision for a fledgling continent that you so resolutely fought to rescue from further slipping down the abyss. God grant your soul eternal repose.

– Terzungwe Kwagh-Aondo, Nasarawa State University, Keffi

Not here; there

I had thought I’d be chanced to meet you HERE, but the coward played a fast one on Pius Adesanmi. So, yeah I’d meet you THERE.

– Laide Olowookere

Short but sweet

My encounter with Pius was all on social media but it was very impactful. I read his writings and pass on some of the learning to my kids, especially when it touches on some of the ideas I had struggled to explain to them about Nigeria, Africa or the world. His love for humanity is unquantifiable. He wrote effortlessly, socializes easily across all strata of societies and criticizes reasonably. His ‘e-koboko’ is always ready to ‘whip’ anyone who fails to understand the basic concept of ‘we’ above ‘I’. Even though I’m Yoruba, born and bred in Yorubaland, I only got to know about ‘Okun’ people, ‘Yagba’ Dialect and his secondary school in Kogi State of Nigeria, Titcombe. But it was all too short! I wished he lived up to 100 and I wish I had known him earlier…but I’m comforted that it was all a sweet encounter. Through him, I feel more inspired to work in service to humanity…perhaps when I’m gone too, people would have so much good reflections about my life. May his beautiful soul continue to Rest In Peace.

– Mojeed Oladimeji

A tree that made a forest

Prof Pius, you’re indeed an epitome of greatness. You lightened so many people’s hearts through your tireless contributions to public intellection. You’re an embodiment of selflessness, humility and sacrifice and even though you died at a time when Africa needed your contribution most, your legend will continue to live in. Rest in peace great Son of Africa.

– Adewale Adewole

The Samson of our Time

Egbon, I never knew who you were until you passed on. How come I didn’t know you? I am still asking myself. But on that fateful Sunday, I saw a series of posts streaming on my social media timeline. I loved everything I read about you. Quickly I went to your Facebook page and read through your thoughts. They were radical and non-coformist. You were daring.
Like Samson in the Bible, you conquered more people to you after your death. I am one of those people. Today I am a disciple of Prof. P.A.

Yours is not death, it is a transition to another life. Egbon you are asleep and your legacy lives on

Rest in Peace, Sir

– Evelyn Ugbe

Tribute to a man who touched many lives he was not aware of

Professor Pius Afesanmi touched many lives by his exemplary brilliance even without knowing it. I am one of the people so touched.
May your beautiful soul find eternal rest with your maker.

May God be with and take care of the family you left behind.

– Oluwakemi Aluko

Pius… The Plato’s Escapee

Prof. Pius Adebola Adesanmi

You lived to liberate the mind of millions,
You lived and gave hope to many at the verge of quitting patriotism,
You lived to create a ‘cult of Africanhood’ in the mind of many Africans,
You lived to start a war that will end the chains and prison of our mind,
You treated our Stockholm syndrome and we are cured,
You showed us the fiery fireball in the sky, you knew the SUN,
And then…
You escaped our CAVE eternally.
We know where you are and we’ll dance with you at the RISING OF ANOTHER SUN,
We promise to greet you with a song of freedom…
Our chains are off, light has come, the prison is no more… WE ESCAPED FROM THE CAVE, we won the WAR!

Good Night… Oota!

– Babatunde Fagbemi

A rare gem

He was a ray of light from the so called dark continent. He was proud of his background and was never shy to identify with its ills and proffer solutions that are workable and practical. Pius Adesanmi, I read your regular column in Premium Times and I am assured that you have only changed mortality for immortality. Your memory lingers on. Rest in peace.

– Akin Odidi, Kristal Law, London, UK

A worthy academic

I already wrote about the pain of loss of and knowing Pius Adesanmi. I am also writing this because one of the lessons his passing has taught me is to write. Write. Memories, details of what you will do and how you feel. I have read quite a bit of his writings over time and some are so unbelievable in the accuracy of what he hoped his writing would achieve. I had known him a few years before our interaction online. He put ideas across like I like. Not too serious that you can’t enjoy the delivery. And so I mostly read his articles. I cant even remember the title of the one I felt upset with but he wrote about academics and academia in Nigeria and I was upset with a portion.

Being an academic in Nigeria is fraught with unbelievable problems that can seem like settling to people overseas. For an academic like Pius, in the field he was in (that was hard-referring to him in past trnse) things really worked and so it may have seemed to him like academics in Nigeria were not doing enough. Anyway, that was my takeaway from that particular article & it upset me. I remember it being a particularly hard week where I had done all in my power to make things better for my students & so I was riled up. I took him up on the bit that I felt was not completely true and he took umbrage at my comment. Before long, a whole army descended on me via Facebook and if you know me, I gave as good as I got & stood my ground.

After that incident, we never interacted but the mutual respect was never in doubt. I liked his thoughts and knew he spoke the truth but I felt he was not totally aware of the challenges people like me faced in ensuring delivery of quality education to the youth of Nigeria. True, there are academics who shirk responsibility but there are many who would give their life blood if it would make a difference. I later had to admit he matched his words with action for I saw & read how he gave of himself and his time and resources to help graduate students. That was the basis of my respect for him. He didnt just stand afar off pointing fingers but got in the trenches and did the dirty work of attempting to repair where he could, the damaged image and actions.

On the political scene, he did mostly what I try to do by finding ways of highlighting what is necessary. When I heard he passed, it hurt. Very much. I did not believe how much it did. It was like losing a truly familiar friend and I cried. I reached out to my friend, the only other person who would understand the feeling. We talked back and forth and I tried to rationalize away my grief.

Anyway, I have mourned and still carry the pain that he died and pray daily for comfort for his daughter, wife and mother. He has the right mindset that Nigeria and indeed Africa needs in her young people and it’s sad that he will not be here when the change happens. For I am a firm believer in what Africa has for the world and how big a part Nigeria will play in that delivery. He hailed from my Mum’s hometown and I felt so proud of what he had achieved in his work and by his passion. I miss him so much already and imagine how then his close family must be feeling.

Pius, thanks for not hiding your brilliance, for sharing it with all of us. Do say hi to my Mum, my Aunty, my Dad and my brother. Rest well and do keep an eye on things here and on your lovely daughter, Tishe. Orkeye…okun. Plenty love, N.

– Nike Olatunji-Akioye, University of Ibadan

Short but Well Spent!

Haaa…. Kilode gan ti igi to to ki peni igbo, Prof Pius Adebola Adesanmi, Aki kan ju Okunrin Sun re o…………………………… Many words have been said about you, though we never met but I am so impressed about the kind of person you are, A rare gem, whom the world is waiting for to lift the youth higher, I pray God will take care of the Wife, Children and Family you left beyond. Rest on the Hero of our time!!!

– Oluuwabunmi Olagbende

A Muse to be remembered

Though have not been opportune to meet you face to face, your sudden death and news about your altruistic acts from kith and friends shows that you are inimitable. It is a pity that death chose to take away such a great mind from this world. Remarks about you have shown that you are a muse to be remembered. My condolences to family both at home and abroad, may your soul rest in perfect peace. Though your kith and kin my miss the camaraderie which exist between you while on earth, my prayer is that they would continue to find solace in God. Sun re ooooooooo

– Abolarin Joseph Adedayo, Seminary

An inspiration

It was an honour to have met you, even for a short time. You not only taught, you inspired me want to learn more! The study abroad course that you taught Kenya in May 2016 was one of the best, most memorable courses I have ever taken, and I will never forget it.
This is a great loss. May you rest in peace Professor.

– Travis Jacox

Celebrating the unmet mentor: Prof. Pius Adesanmi – Our African superstar!

I had a terrible night barely 24 hours ago; I did not sleep well. It was really dark and scary for me. For someone I had never met physically, this is numbingly difficult.

The news triggered the pain pathways of my precentral and postcentral gyri that I became overwhelmingly algesic – it was a long doleful night!

I have never mourned a nonfamiliar personality like this until the last 24 hours….I was almost hopeless.

The first time I read his article many years ago, I went back to the post about 7 times reading from the beginning till the end. I made some mental notes and right there I knew I had gotten a mentor.

From politics, to governance, diplomatic views, family life and marrying all these to his sense of humours, Prof Pius Adesanmi had gathered thousands of thousands of fans that have been shaking all the social spaces in the last over 24 hours with crestfallen eulogies!

Initially, I would look for him on facebook every week saying to myself: ”I haven’t read from Prof this week”. I would then search him and I was never disappointed.

My friendship request sent to him remained unaccepted till demise…

Yes, because he had no space for new friends! With over 5000 friends, he had exhausted his facebook allotted friendship size, yet his page is filled with thousands and thousands of comments because his posts were always public yet intrepid, heroic and mettlesome.

In Prof Pius Adesanmi, I found a teacher of literature that I never had. I learnt composition and suspense writings from every of his post!

A columnist so deep in wisdom yet simple in his presentations; the cremé de la cremé of the intelligentsia, the pack leader of the cognoscenti, the instructor of high repute; o great son and pride of the Vatican!

We wept and remained almost inconsolable save for hope of resurrection!

I. loved. Prof. And. He. Never. Knew.

You taught me how to use those last blocks of words in making many sentences; I was never in your lecture room still.

From the drama of correcting the unserious job seekers whose email address could be taken for a group of yahoo boys on electronic mailing rampage: “” would not fly the job interview invite you had so much desired o ye job seekers,” you had emphasised.

And then the inanity that had entered our democracy that made our elections the many eyesores needing urgent surgery never passed your attention. And you would even correct overused grammatical errors that might want to reorder our vocabularies:

”I have cast my vote…not I have casted my vote kilode gan” you had jocularly posted few weeks ago during the presidential elections!
O Pius Oko Muyiwa!

The mental strength and intellectual reservoir of Uncle Pius remained unexhausted, untapped, ingenious and original.

He is gifted and he never kept the many gifts to himself.
He was never tired of teaching and imbibing cultural modesty to the point of teaching his dazzling daughter – Tise the dynamics of Yoruba movies/ Nollywood in far away Canada!

Prof, you remain the bundle of my mobile encyclopaedia till date: I have read lots of ineffaceable pieces from your walls: from your many travelling experiences in Africa and beyond to all the long forgotten cuisines in Africa, you reeled out how many hospitality edifices fail to showcase African foods in Africa!

For instance, he was embarrassed not to have gotten pounded yam talkless of Nigerian Jollof rice in a 5 – star African Hotel – the name of which he refused to divulge to we his ardent followers during one of his conference – travellings.

That is who he was (I have to use this afterall; I had tried to put him in the present tenses); protective yet truthful!

Prof Adesanmi!

Here we are full of sorrows of no longer having access to your literary exposéé and yet we are simultaneously overwhelmed that you got off the bus when the we – your co – travellers were living on your objectivities, altruism, dedication, benevolence, intuition, friendliness, Godliness and even your humours!

You have touched so many countless lives on and off – lines with many unmet mentees…Your years of intellectual tutelage transcend miles, ethnicities and religious divides; Prof. Farooq Kperogi bears me witness!

You won this race!

May you find many joys and peace as we remember you – Baba OluwaTise.

May the Angels lead you to the Holy of holies Omo won ni Isanlu now Omo wonni Isalu Orun;
May your soulmate and Friend: Muyiwa Adesanmi be consoled;

And may your conscientious Mama Adesanmi find the strength to go through this mystifying moment…..

We love you Prof and we can never understand why you had to fly in that controversial ill -fated Boeing 737 max…

For if it is by Miracle, you are not alien to one – you were saved from a fatal road crash barely months ago.

Why God would take you as you ride the wings of the morning to the uppermost part of the seas still remains a puzzle and dazing…

But we are sure His hands hold you still as you had proclaimed few moments to your demise!

Rest in Peace as you join the Church triumphants; we are so proud of you the illustrious son of Isanlu in Yagba!

Living for others is very expensive with nasty and inherent risks; yet it is the most rewarding….

And for those who live for themselves and seek only themselves – tomorrow is another day to rewrite your own history or we have no memory of you here nor there!

Many Love and Prayers from
one of your unmet mentees:

*To all the families of the victims of this ill-fated crash; please accept our condolences and may all the victims rest in PEACE!

– Dr. Olamide Kayode, Lagos, Nigeria

Till we meet at bossom of the Lord, where no more cry

Words are not enough to express your good works to humanity, especially to Africa, an immense contribution to Nigeria & Africa. With the little I’ve read and heard about you, gives me an assurance that you will rest in peace. Oh! Pius Adesanmi, only God can console your family & your loved ones. This generation shall surely miss you. Adieu Pius.

– Tunde Ekundayo

The Nigerian spirit

Prof. Pius Adesanmi, whose short but eventual life came to a sudden, albeit glorious end last week typifies the true Nigerian spirit. Against all odds, Prof. Adesanmi remained a shining light across nations of the world. His sudden demise could simply metaphorically be likened to a well-stocked library that has been gutted by inferno, never, shall we recover from the colossal loss of this highly cerebral enigma. However, the good works you left behind will continue to speak for you. Rest in peace, Prof.

– Oludayo Bamgbose, Ajayi Crowther University, Nigeria

Goodnight to a friend Professor Pius Adesanmi

“Our only solace is that Prof. Pius Adebola Adesanmi’s life underlines the saying, “It is not how long but how well.” Please rest in the bosom of the Almighty God, our heart will continue to pray for you and remember you always.

– AbdulRasheed Abubakar, The Diaspora Today Magazine

So sad we never met!

Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi of Carlton College, Canada, your sudden demise became all the more saddening to me because l was never PRIVILEGED to have met you in your actively prolific lifetime.

But with the news of your sudden departure from this Vale of tears and sweet sorrows, the grieves expressed by friends and lots of great minds whose interest in our common humanity and yours agreed,l knew our world had lost another of its prodigies, A HOPE DASHED,an actor once heard is seen no more!

Gone but left behind a voice that will continue to reverberate through time and seasons,you will continue to live a decibel in our voiced advocacy for all that is sublime and lofty for mankind.
How will you die,Pius,when the country you so much loved,Nigeria still detests all that is pious?When hunger and mediocrity which you never wanted still bestride the land?When the substance of your advocacy is yet to be realized in our own time?

In the spirit of your greatness and the promotion of our common humanity, Pius,you can be sure that your voice,your substance, your ideas,your first-class brain, your projection for all that is noble,credible, and lofty will continue to live beyond and above that parch of earth and piece of metal that saw you buried.

As you had wished in your last social media post of Psalm 139 verse 9 to 10,may you continue to “fly with the wings of the dawn…where His hand will lead and take hold of you” to reside with the Angels till the final rendezvous.

Love you pious Prof!

– Muyiwa Ajimati, University of Ibadan Alumnus,Nigeria

A life beyond your days…

Dear Prof Pius Adesanmi,

I never met or related with you directly, but your parable of Nigeria using the Shower Head resonated strongly with me when it trended, in addition to listening to your talk at The Platform 2015.
Alas, your last Facebook post of Psalm 139:9-10 is a solace and I pray that God would continually comfort your family and loved ones.

Even beyond your days on earth, I pray that the purpose you lived for be fulfilled in our nation, Nigeria and in the world!

– Busayo Durojaiye, Podex Associates

A shining star gone too soon

Pius, you were a shining star that provided light that shaped the academic life of many including the first cohort of Queen Elizabeth Scholars. I remember the first day you came and talked to us. It was so clear to us you were a beacon and fountain of immense knowledge!

The four months we interacted with at Carleton University left an indelible mark in the mentor ship we got there. We will miss you greatly! Your contributions to our minds will forever live.

– Isqil Najim, Mzuzu University/ Find Your Feet

His Passion for African value is unmatched

Prof Pius Adesanmi is a man who has impacted so many with his intellectual and social perspective on issues. He lived a noble and honest life and thought us that whether you relate with people online or offline, whatever, you must never lose your humanity just as you must true to yourself.

He cared for all and had a deep passion for African cultures, languages as he spent his life working to see Africa takes its place in the modern world. His Passion for African values is unmatched among the people I have studied.

He will forever be a shining star and will be missed.

– Isqil Najim

Pius is representing us in the great beyond

The world of literature has lost an illustrious son. And tears will not allow us to sing a befitting dirge. But I believe that if there is literature in the great beyond, Pius Adesanmi is already representing us there. While here, he still lives in the works he has done.

– Musa Gambo, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

Prof. Pius, an uncommon patriot

He looms larger than life even at the instance of his unfortunate, fatal demise. And the reason is not far-fetched. His virtual pen was so forceful and compelling in its attempts and efforts to engineer a better society. It was a collective aspiration for us his friends in Nigeria, that even though many of us including this writer are yet to meet him in real life before his mortal end, he stood out not just as a crusader for social justice but too as beacon of hope. And thus, we felt orphaned and immensely cheated by his death.

We deeply appreciate his life and endeavours and all they stood for. We appreciate too the many values and virtues he represented. Here in lies our utmost consolation, that those ideals he espoused and lived out will continue to inspire generations and possibly establish the foundation for posterity to have a foothold on. He lives in our memories.

May he rest well…

– Itodo Thomas

Prof. Adesnami & Prof. Otiono

Adieu mate..gone but not forgotten

Prof Adesanmi captivated his audience with his wisdom, thought-provoking writings and never shied away from confronting difficult issues of underdevelopment in Africa. I have followed your work closely but remotely for many years having also graduated from Unilorin, our alma mater, in 1992. Your many pieces in several African media outlets were worth reading, re-reading and something I always look forward to. You are a wordsmith with almost limitless capacity and once in a generation icon. How shocked to read of Ethiopian Airline crash more that yours is one those lives claimed. Goodbye and rest in peace beloved Pius. Condolence to your family and thank you Carleton University for setting up a befitting memorial fund.

– Akin Adisa, Canberra, Australia

Great in life, greater in death

When the names of men who use the ‘pen and talk’ profession to fight against tyranny in Africa, your name will surely come up on the top of the list. Your impact is tremendous. You showed me the way forward in my education. Your encouragement made me apply to study Traditional African Medicine and Belief Systems and I’m doing well in my studies at the Institute of African Studies in the University of Ibadan. Pius, you’re great in life but greater in death. Rest well the most beautiful soul on social media.

– Olutope Amudipe, University of Ibadan

From Penn State

I am writing in sorrow from Penn State, where Pius Adesanmi was a faculty member in the Department of Comparative Literature for several years before leaving for Carleton. I send my deepest condolences to his family and friends.

At Penn State, he is remembered as an inexhaustibly committed and wonderful teacher, researcher, writer, and colleague. I am honored to have known him and I greatly value my many recollections of the events and conversations that we shared. As it happened, he and I had the same birthday (though not the same year) and we would exchange greetings; while I will miss him often, I will always think of him especially on that day.

– Caroline Eckhardt, Pennsylvania State University

A cherished professor of our time

Now your passed legacy has define your very person my prof we did not know this could happened so soon but we leave this to time and unforseen of our daily life not knowing who next but we are encourage by your legacy that we will work to tell and teach others hope to see you soon in Paradise, Prof.

– Phinehas Uankhoba, University of Abuja

Hard to imagine

That Pius is no more is hard to imagine. We lost passion that Pius exemplifies. Passion for the love of Africa. Passion for the love of Nigeria. Passion, speaking to truth and everything that’s wrong about Nigeria and her people. Even when one disagrees with Pius on issues and approach, one cannot fault his passion to speak to the ills in our society with unmatched patriotism and boldness. In Pius’ death, we lost a crusader for a better Nigeria and a greater Africa. So hard to imagine that you are no more, but your scholarship lives on.

– Jelili Adebiyi Jelili Adebiyi, Michigan State University

Pius the Warrior Poet

Pius is a Warrior Poet. His smart, sharp prose spoke the truth and challenged the mighty. He fought battles through his powerful command of language, slaying his foe with humour and intelligence. Most impactful, he challenged the tired tropes of Africa with storytelling that was full of life – real life, in all its complexities, challenges, and possibilities. He also challenged those of us engaged in the study of Africa to never be lazy in our thinking and writing. Be critical, be honest, and demolish stale boundaries with creativity and élan.

The Institute of African Studies was and remains my home at Carleton. Pius made IAS a family and I am honoured to be a member. His big-hearted, generous spirit continues to inspire us, as does his commitment to growing Pan-African and Canadian solidarity in the study and promotion of Africa. Mourning his passing, I imagine him like the constellation Amanar (Orion), shining brightly among the pantheon of stars that illuminate the night sky with brilliance and wisdom. Rest in power, Pius the Warrior Poet.

– Bonnie Bates, Carleton University

The seed has to die first

When you are such a great ocean of knowledge with such a wide span of tributaries as Prof Pius, you may not have an idea of the enormity and expanse of entities who depend on you for sustenance. A school mate had to remark “you’re obsessed, Az!” when I could not stop whining over how deep your words and reflections cut, something like an incision on everyday Nigerian matter on hearing the news about your death. Unbeknownst to anyone, heaven had been jealous all along and couldn’t wait for you.

– Aziz Olatunji

Prof Pius Adesanmi: My Mentor, my children’s coach. Beyond boundaries, beyond limits

I am going back to my kitchen from where I came. Its all over with Prof Pius gone; the flash in my pan.

How can a Professor in the Arts mentor a mosquito /malaria researcher? That was Prof – who always had a solution tailored to your seeming impossible situation. I met Prof at the Pan African Doctoral Academy (PADA) at the University of Ghana, Legon, Accra. His module was titled ‘Leadership Skills for the Emerging African Scholar. Prof was passionate about Africa.

After almost about twenty years away from the world of formal academics, I finally found my way back to school for postgraduate studies. With a flair for scholarships and a run for time, I set out full force for a full-time PhD research in the applied sciences, building on my master’s degree. I had a sacred enablement and with the grace of someone half my age I was set to complete in record time but for unforeseen challenges and political delays; which vexed and broke Prof’s heart. He had perfect understanding of these ‘legitimized’ system deficiencies but palpably detested them.

In a clime enveloped with some of the most daunting challenges, I pushed against all odds and excellent work was carried out with data integrity guaranteed. Next, I was instructed to start publishing, where? I asked innocently and most ignorantly. I was advised to go online and publish in journals. Off I went and having self-sponsored my research I had no funds left to publish. With the support of family and friends, I went for affordable journals for start-ups and began publishing! Never heard the word predatory publishing until I got to PADA! It was from Prof I first heard the word predatory and it was no longer about my biological prey and predator but publishing. Prof was deep, vast, a reservoir of vitally important information with an energy-filled ceaseless flow.

Prof threw me off balance, with heart pounding, knee almost buckling I felt dizzy and faint. Not from hunger pangs but from fresh knowledge acquisition of things I didn’t know. The tears flowed freely in his class and in the hall of residence after lectures. I sighed, I heaved, hiccupped, sobbed more and prayed. At this point, all the components of my driving force: the pain of lost years, divine instruction to go back to school, series of strange warnings never to give up on this one project, the fear of returning to the downward trajectory or being stuck in a rut for the rest of my life all paled away. I was going to give up-back to my kitchen-the system is rigged against me. Prof knew I could only have come this far with a deadly determination, unmeasurable sacrifice, high-level discipline and unquantifiable hard work. So for the next two years and until this painful demise, he made out personal time to walk me beyond each crisis point and spurred me on. Step by step, he took me from dead on arrival to a fresh breath of hope amidst hot tears. He made out a plan, added crucial building blocks and provided scaffolds to help an emerging, promising female African scholar (his description and discovery) climb the twisted ladder of life. Prof would say and I quote
“Madam Celina, we need to see oh, we need to sit down and talk, you need to give me update on our plan. This work if na oyibo country you do am, they go give you award with a grant to do more projects for Africa. You and those your daughters are too intelligent to be wasted. The world is yours to take as African females, we have to do something; we need to rebuild your CV and see about getting your girls to run beyond the limits and traditional boundaries of where you are’’ At our last meeting Prof was pleased to know that I had achieved 75% of the target he set for me. He was even more pleased that my daughters had taken the international exams he recommended and also on course with their individual targets. I was a student yet, he treated me like a colleague and older sister.
One after the other with uncommon wisdom and precision he listed out the next steps after which he would link us with gatekeepers when we … WE MEET AGAIN. When and how NOW? I am in shock, in denial and despondent. I’m not afraid of death, we will all die oh but hey Prof Pius is this how to exit this sphere- A BLAST OFF? Must it be now? I CANNOT say good night, this is a very hard pill to swallow. It just can’t be true, everyone is making a mistake, and it’s only a bad dream.
Prof Sir, we have unfinished business and I do not know what to do. Look from wherever you are and see how devastated we all are. Who will comfort who? I have been asking you zillion questions and your silence is deafening. Good morning my mentor, my children’s coach, the flash in my pan.
PS-My husband had to attend the January 2019 PADA closing ceremony in Ghana to meet Prof who should be visiting with our entire family in Lagos later in the year. All that ‘gone with the wings of the morning’ Haaa.

– Celina Aju-Ameh, University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

From me, it is not a goodbye but see you again

The news of your sudden departure filtered in like the evening breeze that fateful Sunday afternoon.

Though I wished it away initially, but when It was confirmed, it shattered the rest of my day and my new week has not recovered from it.

All mortals must transition but sir, your journey home came too soon. We can only accept the reality and wish you a special rest in the bossom of our Lord as a second spent here is also drawing us on this other side of life closer to eternity.

Your writings and conduct are demonstration of your patriotic zeal for the advancement of Africa and humanity at large.

Who will now inspire us in the manner you have always done while you traversed this planet in body, soul and spirit?

Reading some of your works over again has made you so near though you are far away. Without you is like the sunflower missing the Sun or the dark night without the glowing moon in the sky.

It is not a goodbye from me but see, read and hear from you again dear prof.

May God comfort Tise, her mum and Mama Adesanmi while not forgetting friends, families, fans and admirers the world over.

Adieu Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi.

– Samuel Abayomi Orija, University of Lagos

Mentor of the next generation

Dear Professor Pius Adesanmi,

I am writing this short piece to you believing that you are not dead but exited the stage after a fulfilled professional and personal life worthy of emulation.

The news of the Ethiopian flight Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed came to us as a rude shock. Seeing your name on the list of the passengers on the flight changed our world knowing that there was no survivor in the plane. The image of humorous and humble Pius that graciously accepted to be our keynote speaker for the Michigan State University Africanist graduate students conference occupied my vision with eyes full of tears. Your passion and commitment of mentoring young people of African and everyone interested in the African continent remain in our hearts. You are not dead because your ideas and thoughts on the African Education and state of affairs are alive and have spread like a virus without a cure. We cannot thank you enough for everything you have done to see the Africa of dreams in the areas of education and governance. Indeed, nothing is permanent, my heart goes to your wife, precious dear daughter Tise, Adesanmi family, colleagues, and everyone who knows and met you during your sojourn on this world. Rest in the blossom peace of the God who gave you to us and took you back at the time we needed most.

From your inspired brother and mentee.

– Abubakar Idris, Michigan State University

Rest in peace Gem!

It’s still very hard to believe that you’re gone. You were like a dad to me and many more people of the Carleton community. It saddens me that I can’t come to see you at your office anymore and I can’t hide from you in school hallways because I’m guilty of not coming to see you. I’m very sorry that I didn’t make time to see you and at the time I planned to I received this heartbreaking news. I pray and hope you’re in a good place now away from the evils of the world. I pray that your legacy lives on and the inspiration you have brought to many of us will never die. I’ll miss you but won’t forget you. Rest in Peace Prof. Pius!

– Utibeabasi Emah, Carleton University

Now an angel

One of the best social critics of this generation. His dissection of any kind of issue is just appalling. He has printed his name with gold in the literary world. May Late Professor Pius Adesanmi’s eternal sleep be always calm and sweet.

– Dayo Osoko

Love isn’t gone

You said you would be great but you would not stay here long.
You’re gone but love isn’t.
Death isn’t strong enough.
You were a preserver of oaths.
See yah.

– Iyadudu Tiny Tot

Virtual mentor for many

I have never met you. But, your good work and love for Africa and humanity made me your follower and a virtual mentor to me. May Almighty God be with your family and console them.

– Ibrahim Adediran

Suffer no more!

I acknowledge the pain you might have been through.
May you rest in the bosom of the Lord.

– Olaoye Blessing Tóbi, University of Ibadan

You have left your imprints on the sand of time

It is not how long but how well. You came, you saw and you conquered. Your literary accomplishments were legendary. Your articles were always a delight to read as they were full of humor that were laden with patriotic fervor. You left your mark on the sand print of time and it will remain indelible forever.

The outpouring of emotions in the tributes written by so many people from the nook and crannies of the world is a testament to the short but eventful life that you lived.
You will be remembered and missed by all.

– Rasheed Ahmed, State of Michigan/ Treasury/ Tax Compliance, Field Audit

He lives

Prof. Pius Adesanmi was a great scholar who went out of his way to help younger academics find their feet in scholarship. His death was a rude shock to me. I pray for fortitude for the family. Prof. Adesanmi will continue to live through his good works.

– Omolade Bamigboye, Ekiti State University

For Pius Adesanmi, for Nigeria!

Pius Adesanmi, Carleton University’s Professor of literature and African studies who died in the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash near the town of Bishoftu, Ethiopia, on Sunday, March10, was a consummate intellectual and civic activist. Pius was visible in academic and intellectual circles around the world as he was on social media and other social circles.

A tribute by a mutual friend, Prof E.C. Osondu of Providence College, Rhodes Island, USA, captures the very essence of Pius’s rather short but extremely remarkable life. “Pius was a rare being, ebullient, a razor-sharp mind. He was what the Yoruba call an Omoluabi (a person of honour and good character), yet when it came to polemics, he could easily morph into a jaguda (a ruffian). Nigeria has lost one of those who loved her most,” Prof Osondu wrote in a Facebook tribute on Sunday.

Pius was an embodiment of intellectualism, dedication, hard work, and the community spirit; ever willing to give back his intellect, time and resources for the greater good of his country and humanity. Like many of his followers and admirers, I received the surreal news of his demise late Sunday evening. The world woke up Sunday morning to the shocking news of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX travelling from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya, that killed all 149 passengers and eight crew on board. The immediate concern about the crash was the eerie similarity to another Boeing 737 MAX—Lion Air Flight 610—crash into the Java Sea, Indonesia, shortly after takeoff on October 29, 2018, with 189 fatalities. Then news starting filtering in that there was a Nigerian on ET Flight 302.

I had a crowded programme on Sunday, March 10: editing additional materials for a new book; a 2:00pm meeting that I had the responsibility of putting together and a 6:00pm condolence visit that was long overdue. Before the 2:00pm meeting, I placed a couple of calls to Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of Premium Times, to confirm an earlier scheduled appointment. There was no response. He would call back much later.

The first thing he said when I answered the call was, “Have you heard anything about Pius and the plane crash this morning?” My heart skipped. All I could mutter—half assuring myself and wishing that the story wasn’t true—was that there was a Nigerian on the flight and that it wasn’t Pius. Then Dapo reminded me that Pius was travelling with a Canadian passport. My anxiety increased. I told him I was aware—according to the manifest—that there were 18 Canadians in the ill-fated flight. He said he was making efforts to reach Dr. Nduka Otiono, another Nigerian and Pius’s colleague at the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. I heard a beep and Dapo said he had to take another call.

By this time, I had developed a nervous feeling in your stomach. Once I got off the phone with Dapo, I went on Twitter. There was a torrent of tweets about Pius with most of them ending with RIP Pius. After going through a few tweets, I tried to compose a response, to caution that people should wait until there was an official confirmation—just in the hope that the news would turn out to be false—but my fingers were numb. Then the calls started coming in from all over the world. I spent the rest of the day making or receiving calls.

Each time I attempted to do anything, my mind would go to the plane crash, to Pius and all he represented. Very few Nigerians bestrode the public space the way Pius Adesanmi did. With a first class degree and Ph.D in French, he was at ease with the Francophone world as he was with Anglophone; he interfaced with the Global South as much as he did with the North. He was a renaissance man, a global citizen of the finest hue. But he remained a Nigerian at heart, in theory and in practice. It was evident in his scholarship, his public and social engagements and interventions.

Late Sunday night, as I was still trying to process the news of Pius’s demise, I received a call from an older colleague in the UK. Just as our conversation went on, the story of the plane crash earlier in the day was briefly reported on one of the country’s TV networks. It was a short report, devoid of context and depth. I was miffed. I expressed my disgust at the report and wondered why a national TV channel would not use such a global tragedy that had national and continental implications to bring to its viewers the contribution of someone like Pius to the quest for national rebirth. My colleague interrupted and reminded me that what I had just witnessed was the effect of the collapse of public broadcasting in the country. We agreed that it was not only public broadcasting that was reeling from the effect of misgovernance. Everything this country holds dear, from public education to public health has gone to the dogs.

I was still feeling a bit disoriented when I arrived the office yesterday amid the searing heat and power outage. I walked into an adjoining office to say a quick hello to a colleague and discuss the plane crash that took the life of our friend, Pius Adesanmi. As we talked, I glanced at the newspapers on the table in front of me with headlines about results of the gubernatorial and state assembly elections that took place two days earlier. A particular story drew my attention. It was a story at the bottom strip of Daily Trust with the title, “IBB returns after 3-month medical vacation in Switzerland.”

I was speechless. I flipped through the newspaper to page four to read the details of the story. “Former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, on Saturday returned to Nigeria after over three months of medical vacation in Switzerland,” the first paragraph read. “Babangida said he was much stronger and better, thanking Nigerians for their prayers and goodwill messages during his vacation,” the story continued. Ironically, the story was directly below the story with the caption, “Nigerian professor, Pius Adesanmi, dies in Ethiopian air crash,” with a picture of the rescue team at the site of the crash and inset pictures of Prof. Pius Adesanmi and Amb Abiodun Oluremi Bashua, another Nigerian, a former United Nations and African Union Deputy Special Representative in Dafur who also died in the crash.

The first thing that came to mind after reading the story on Babangida, Nigeria’s former military dictator and self-styled “evil genius,” was the contempt and impudence dripping from his statement. I wondered the Nigerians who were praying for him: the millions impoverished for decades by his Structural Adjustment Policy (SAP), the millions who would die every year because of lack of access to proper medical care which a succession of pathetic local rulers like him failed to ensure, the millions suffering the effect of the debasement of our democratic ethos which he supervised? You couldn’t miss the irony. Here was a General who ruled Nigeria with guile and high-handedness for eight eminently forgettable years. He couldn’t build a single hospital in the country that would meet his needs. I told myself that these were the kind of things Pius feasted on.

In July 2018, Pius was involved in a car accident along Oyo-Ogbomosho road when the vehicle he was travelling in—a Nissan—had a head-on collision with a car from Ibadan—a Toyota Privia. He was heading to Lagos to catch a flight to Dakar, Senegal. “Two hours after the accident, no help came. The evacuation culture was zero,” Premium Times quoted Pius in a report. “He explained that people just gathered at the scene of the accident, wondering and shouting. Others were screaming and cursing. No one attempted to help,” Pius noted in the report.

If his flight had not crashed six minutes after it took off on Sunday morning, Puis Adesanmi would be alive today. And if he had read Babangida’s utterly bewildering medical tourism story, he would have delivered a fittingly scathing response. Pius didn’t suffer fools gladly and pulled no punches when it came to explaining the dire conditions in Nigeria and confronting the inanities of those responsible for our current national trauma, whether he was writing about the “Parable of the shower head,” (a September 2013 essay) or “NAFDAC-certified virgins,” a February 2009 essay.

“The contributions of Pius Adesanmi to Carleton are immeasurable,” said Pauline Rankin, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, in a tribute. “He worked tirelessly to build the Institute of African Studies, to share his boundless passion for African literature and to connect with and support students. He was a scholar and teacher of the highest calibre who leaves a deep imprint on Carleton.”

Benoit-Antoine Bacon, president and vice-chancellor of Global Affairs Canada, described Pius Adesanmi as “a towering figure in African and post-colonial scholarship and his sudden loss is a tragedy.”
Adieu, Pius Adesanmi, scholar, public intellectual, activist, humorist, and patriot. You will be sorely missed. Your death reminds us of the death of a kindred spirit, Prof Claude Ake, regarded as one of Africa’s foremost political philosophers. Claude Ake who would have been 80 last month was like you a seminal academic and public intellectual par excellence. He was professor of political economy, former dean of the University of Port Harcourt’s Faculty of Social Sciences, and director of the Center for Advanced Social Science, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

A virulent critic of the military junta of Gen. Sani Abacha, the Anglo-Dutch oil company, Shell, and Nigeria’s fiendish oil industry, Ake railed against dictatorship and misrule across Africa. In November 1995, he resigned from the Steering Committee of the Niger Delta Environmental Survey in protest over the hanging of environmental activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and eight of his Ogoni compatriots. A year later, on November 7, 1996, he would die in mysterious circumstances—air traffic control error, according to investigators—when an ADC Airlines Flight 86 from Port Harcourt to Lagos crashed at Ejirin, Lagos, killing all 144 passengers and crew.

Pius, our heartfelt condolences go to your family. As friends, colleagues and associates gather tomorrow for a “candle light” memorial at Unity Fountain in Abuja and in cities across Nigeria and around the world in the days and weeks ahead, we are consoled by the words of the poet, Chiedu Ezeanah: “Pius Adesanmi must have lived two or more lifetimes in one.”

Onumah is author of We Are All Biafrans: A Participant-observers’ Interventions in a Country Sleep-walking to Disaster.

– Chido Onumah, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy

Tall, big and straight trees never last in the bush – Tribute to Prof. Pius Adesanmi

They are called Lumberjack in North America, probably due to the nature of their job. Lumberjack engage in cutting trees from the forest for building purposes. They would never cut a tree unless it’s tall, big and straight. We equally have them in Nigeria, especially the southwestern part of the country. However, the name is different. They are called “Agbegilodo” and some people qualify the name with “ma beru epe” (not being afraid of curse) their activities are not regulated like that of North America Lumberjack, occasionally they destroy farmland where they operate and the helpless farmer result to casting spell on them. Unfortunately, they are not deterred, another farm would still be destroyed and the farm owner whose means of livelihood had been wrecked would rain curse on them hence the adjective, “ma beru epe”. Whether the curses have effect on the lives of Nigeria lumberjack is a discussion for another time. The narrative explains the Yoruba adage “Igi to to ki pe nigbo” (tall, big and straight trees never last in the bush) it’s always a Lumberjack target.

Pius was the beautiful tree that did not last in the bush. Why a brilliant selfless person like Pius? Why not evildoers? Why didn’t someone steal his International Passport for him not to travel that day? Why was he not delayed by traffic in Addis Ababa for him to miss the ill-fated flight? Fate goes beyond human reasoning, it’s just too complex to narrate! He was raised by a Secondary School Principal in a remote part of Nigeria, Egbe, though from Isanlu Isin. He graduated at the top of his class from University of Ilorin, bagged PHD at 30 and became Professor before 40. Through hard work and resilience in writing, speaking and teaching he propelled himself to stardom.

I started following him via social media eight years ago but got endeared in 2012 after reading his articles on one of the Nigeria political godfathers, the satirical manner at which he delivered the message bared he was a rare breed of writer. I was never opportune to meet him in person, my last trial was few years back when he was invited by Covenant Church of Christ Lagos, Nigeria to deliver lecture at their yearly program tagged “The Platform” unfortunately, the nomadic nature of my job deprived me of the opportunity. I was on official assignment outside of Lagos when the event was held.

Pius could have decided to stay in luxury and arms of his wife in the city of Ottawa, no, his heart was always in Africa to impact knowledge and contribute to the development of Africans.

Good night the son of Adesanmi, every great writer has been helped by being dead, but yours was too early to comprehend. It’s not life that matters but the values we bring to it.

– Taofik Jimoh

Death, why now?

Oh death why now. Death why have you taken away the man who is most needed now, both in Canada, Nigeria and especially his home town Isanlu. I’m from Isanlu but i don’t know him, people from Isanlu that I spoke with speak well of him in terms of helping the needy and the students. The people of Isanlu, Makutu, Obada has lost a great son. Prof. Adesanmi, we love you but God love you most. Rest in perfect peace. Death why now!!!

– Boaz Toluwatope David

Adesanmi, an asset of inestimable Value

Adesanmi, although your life was very brief, yet you stood out among your peers in your area of specialisation in the academic world. The legacy you left behind will forever remain ever green and cherished. If there is an academic world hereafter, you will still be a force to be reckoned with over there. Adieu.

– Ajewole Olaniyi, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, Nigeria

Unforeseen loss of an erudite patriot

When I learnt of the untimely date of Prof. Adesanmi it came as a rude shock being one of his ardent readers on Sahara Reporters online medium. He was a professor per excellence and will be greatly missed. Adieu Pius and may God grant your family the fortitude to bear the loss.

– Michael Onyezewe

A voice in your generation

Sir, your memory is blessed. Your works are meaningful. Your impact is long lasting. You have truly shown that it is what you do with your life to affect lives positively that matters not the length of years of your existence God be with your wife and daughter. You are greatly missed and will forever be in our hearts

– Charity Wealth, Eksuth, Ekitik State

Only remembered

After the inevitable death, the next question to ask is “what are you remembered of?”

Only remembered by the good deeds of yours.

The good deeds of Pius remain indelible in our heart. He will forever be remembered.

Always remembered by what you have one.


– Blessing Chidinma, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

The African Studies family

Echoing everyone’s remarks, I am so sad to hear about the loss of Pius. As we all know, Pius is a fearless academic, very passionate about his work, an inspiring individual and just an all around positive and wonderful soul. When I think of Pius, I think of his big smile and infectious laugh.

We will forever remember you, Pius – and you will always have an important place in the African Studies family.

Big hugs to all, and sincere condolences and love to Pius’s family and dear friends.

– Megan Malone

A beacon of knowledge lost

What a tragedy! The academic community has lost a beacon of knowledge on African Studies. My deepest condolences to Pius’ family and loved ones.

– Vanessa C. Wachuku, Ryerson University

Adieu my mentor

With tears in my eyes and shock still in my heart,
I type these lines as a tribute to you.
My beloved mentor, your death cuts too deep.
I shall forever cherish the memories shared.
May your wonderful soul find solace in the Lord. Amen

– Imaji Emmanuel

Prof. Adesanmi with former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark

Handle everything to Almighty God

His death came too sudden , I pray to the Lord to console the family and let his soul rest in perfect peace in Jesus Mighty Name.

– Solomon Opasina

Down at Twilight

I mourn the passing of Prof Pius Adesanmi, though I never met him in person and he never knew who me. I am one of his followers on social media, print and electronic. I cried as someone that lost a close family member, still mourning the life of a supersonic brain, fearless, bold, articulate, helper and mentor to many people, youth, young and old alike. It is depressing and very sad that our dear Prof Pius Adesanmi went suddenly like in a flash. He left, leaving many of us in deep sorrow and I asked why? Why? Why? I take consolation in that he ran his race to the best of his ability, touched so many lives in his 47 years on earth and left an indelible mark. To Tise his daughter and Muyiwa his wife and mama Adesanmi, his aged mother I condole with you. May the comforter speak directly to you, strengthen and heal this wound. Adieu Prof Pius Adesanmi, to say you will be missed is an understatement because am missing you already. I can’t stop crying. Rest in peace until we all meet to part no more. To all professional friends, family and mentees, all I can say is let us be strong and continue from where he stopped. I hope and pray that those young minds and the political elites in Africa that he spoke to will wake up after his death and another Adesanmi will rise up and challenge the status quo that brought redundancy, inefficiency, acceptance of mediocrity and settling for less. Adesanmi stood against the ills that pervade the whole of Africa, especially Nigeria. He stood against oppressors, he refused to be cowed by the geriatric population that had remained in circulation since after independence. His weapon was his ink and paper. Some politicians hated his article because he did not dribble or make it look good to prevent them from getting upset at him. He used his god given talent to arouse their consciousness. Adesanmi, rest in peace.

– Olusola Ojo

One of a kind

My sincerest condolences on the tragic passing of Plus Adesanmi. He was one of a kind and will never be forgotten. He was truly inspirational and his legacy will live forever with all of us. May he rest in peace.

– Sheila Petty, University of Regina

Your faith guides

Pius –

The news of you being on that plane came to me from the student grapevine.
We, the community, have been with you in our hearts and minds ever since.

You brought renewal and growth to the Institute, kindness, support and humour to your colleagues and everything to your students.
Thank you for leaving us the psalm. The knowledge that you had faith whatever and wherever has been a comfort and a guide.

– Linda Freeman, Emeritus Professor, Institute of African Studies and Department of Political Science

My mentor and a great teacher

The 10th of march has always been a happy day in my life because it’s MY birthday but that of 2019 was a different one and will forever be a day to remember for bringing hot tears of sadness.I met Prof. Adesanmi online . He added me as a friend after reading something I wrote on my Facebook wall. We chat on messenger and he is a great source of inspiration and I felt I’d known him all my life. He is my closet counsellor and a great teacher. I will always remember his passion for Africa and good governance.I’m still finding it hard to believe he is no more. It’s a sad day for Africa. May God rest his soul.

– Gabriel Patton, University of Lagos

Pius, the friend I almost met

My wife and I were prevented from finally meeting up with Prof. P. Adesanmi for the very first time, by other fellow fans and admirers who had gotten to him before us at the Platform venue in Lagos Nigeria. This was when Prof had stepped out briefly for some fresh air after delivering his lecture titled “Hating Nigeria to Greatness”, during which time he had recounted his captivating “Parable of the Shower Head”.

Prof., the news of your sudden demise in that fatal Plane crash, shocked me to the marrow and in my doubt about the veracity of the news, I searched the internet for your refutation of the story in your own words. Not until when I read Prof Okey Ndibe’s confirmation of the news of your death, that I knew it was finally over.

You strode the academia and the Nigeria National conscience like a colossus. Impacting lives, policies, events and etc., directly and indirectly through your numerous write ups.

Even in death, you have still spoken out in your usual manner, by making the world to stand up in unison and ground all similar types of the very same machine that took your life, thereby ensuring the safety of other air travelers. This is actually “quintessential” Prof.

My heart goes out to your adorable daughter ‘Tise’, your lovely wife, Mama Adesanmi, the entire people of Isanlu in Kogi State and a host of your friends, students and fans. I pray God to provide us with divine solace to be able to bear your irreparable demise.

Prof, continue to rest on in Power until the last day, when we shall meet to part no more. Amen.

– Chukwudi Osuagwu

Prof Pius, The literary Iroko

It is difficult to come to grips that Prof is gone. I connected with Prof on Facebook and since then I never imagine the social space without his cerebral take on issues that concern my native country Nigeria. Reading Prof gave me the confidence that Nigeria will one day emerge from the 20th-century mindset to gradually crawl into civilization. His tragic death is personal to me because he spoke my mind on virtually all issues. It was as if the words I cannot form, he manufactured and brought it to life in a way I could not have imagined. Rest in perfect peace Prof Pius Adesanmi. May God give your wife, your daughter Tise and Mama Adesanmi the fortitude to bear your painful demise. Naavo.

– Dumka Baabel

Intelligence and humanity combined

Prof Pius was a larger than life person who combined intellectual sagacity with human relations at its best. I met him first online as an avid reader of his columns, later connected in person and became one of his proteges and younger ones from Nigeria. His mastery with words both in English and Yoruba make one wonder how one person can be so blessed. A maverick on various discourses yet so down to earth and approachable by all. His commitment to his family, second to none and his passion for Africa, unrivalled. Pius Adebola Adesanmi lives on!!

– Olanike Adebayo

A shadow casts on a rising sun

It was a great shock to me I when heard about the demise of this great rising Sun in our ‘Solar system’. We have lost a great scholar and a rising Sun in intellectual world. Sleep well my dear friend and brother!

– Dave Mevayekuku, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Nigeria

Memories of Pius Adesanmi

I vividly remember how Professor Adesanmi commanded the respect, attention, and admiration of everyone attending his lectures. I would look forward to our Thursday evening classes when Professor Adesanmi would impart his extensive knowledge upon us all, asking for nothing but attentiveness in return. Of course, I was happy to give Professor Adesanmi my full attention. His gentle, genuine and grand presence bellowed out into the room whenever he broke out into laughter. And, it was contagious. A laugh that all laughs aspire to be. He taught me, apart from what the course syllabus consisted of, the value of where I come from and the passion to display my heritage. There has yet to be a more exhilarating class I have attended. Nor a professor who strolls the length of the classroom unaware of being basked in respect and admiration. Arms behind his back, chest proudly out in front of him, he would stroll past me deep within himself to engage his experiences with his material into a seamless blend of impressive knowledge. Back then I aspired to be respected, determined and loved like Professor Adesanmi. And, today, knowing how much people recognized this within him, and knowing how many people were positively affected by him as I was, I aspire in his model even more.

– Robert Crane, Faculty of Public Affairs, Carleton University

A legend went to sleep!

A friend has gone home before time

A trusted hand has retired

A worthy son of Africa has flown away to the great beyond

What a man, what a soul

Pius cared for all

For the Nigerian youth – he showed us the way

He showed with his life that living for country, continent and a just cause is truly rewarding

So painful is the death of this icon of truth, class and academic excellence

We celebrate the life of a true son of Nigeria

Many young and brilliant minds will step forward to help turn the course of our land

However we will never forget that it started with our own Pius

A friend who encourages from afar and loves without distance

Thank you for that correspondence during the course of my PhD – Not only did it push me over the finish line, it helped me understand that the degree is just a tool needed in keeping faith with the motherland

Sleep on my mentor and friend!It was an honour to have met you, even for a short time. You not only taught, but you also inspired me to want to learn more! The study abroad course that you taught Kenya in May 2016 was one of the best, most memorable courses I have ever taken, and I will never forget it.

This is a great loss. May you rest in peace Professor.

– Daniel Odoh, ArcelorMittal/Wilfrid Laurier University

Not how long…

Dear Prof, So hard to refer to you in past tense because your works is an enduring legacy that will forever last.

You packed three lifetimes of inspiring and impactful achievements into just 47 years of a lifetime.
You pushed against, and challenged the mediocrity you perceived in your country of birth, it’s people and the lackluster leadership that kept our nation Nigeria in a state of perpetually great.

You are the Conscience of the Continent and of Nigeria in particular.

Your departure gave real meaning to the word Gone too soon!

May you continue to enjoy eternal bliss.

Sunnre o, Pius Adebola Adesanmi.

– Adeola Amusat, Media etc Global Consult

Very humane

I first got in contact with Prof Pius Adesanmi through one of his article in Sahara reporter, his writing is very engaging since then am always eager to read his articles. He came to give lecture on the platform programe organised by covenant Christian center, Lagos, Nigeria, it was during the lecture that he said he was from Isanlu town in Kogi state, where I also come from. I sent him mail that day and to my surprise he responded immediately with our local greeting style, ope a, as if we have met before. He is very humane, my condolences to his immediate family

– Jonah Joshua, Babcock University

Your death left me angry

Hours after it dawned on me that you are indeed dead, and gone forever.
I was left with nothing but anger.
I was deeply angry, and I still am.
Why should any power take you away at the time when Nigeria needs you?
When an army of Nigerian youths look up to you?
When your baby girl, ‘Tise needs you more than anyone else? And your wife?
Your death makes no sense.
And that is why I am terribly angry.
But I just hope you are fine where you are.
I hope it is an happy place.
But what place can be better than where ‘Tise and your dear wife are?
I am very angry.
Your death doesn’t make sense at all.
It does not.
I hope your family will find reason to forgive whatever power that takes you away at the time you are so much needed.
I hope they do.
Goodnight Prof.

– Ajibola Amzat

Pius Adesanmi’s journey to Nairobi

Nairobi. That capital of Kenya, a city of international tourism, of an exotic rhythm of day and night, of hospitable and friendly people, of fascinating metropolis, garnished with neighbouring slums of Kibera and Thaere.

Pius was heading to Nairobi; he flew Boeing eagles, but instead of landing, he transitioned to immortality, on the wings of the angels. Because, by his own epitaph, his work is over.

Pius Adesanmi is multiples, yet simple; outstanding, yet humble; inspiring, yet unassuming. It was through him I read Ali Mazrui, he taught Edward Said through his Facebook posts, he inspired reading Plato with his public interventions. Pius adored relationship, he lived mentoring the young and giving back to Africa.

There was an errand I was unable to run for him because I had left Malaysia as at the time he needed it in late 2016. We would later talk about my postdoctoral plan. Pius made frantic effort in recommending me for a faculty position with Kwara State University. As the then economic recession naturally slowed the manifestation of his efforts, he would check to assure me he had not forgotten. “Mi o gbagbe e o, Semiu”.

I would later inform him of picking a job with a Catholic-owned private university. Using his own words, I relayed how surprising it was for a Muslim to be picked over a Christian in a job interview of a Christian university. “Nigeria has not happened to the Catholic Church”, or something along that line, was the heading of the email. It was Pius’s admonition that we should not allow Nigeria -institutionalized nepotism, mediocrity, and “anyhowness”- to happen to us.

I take solace in the memories you left, and in the great influence you had on my thinking and writing. You remain chapters of lessons, even in death.

Farewell, and rest in power!

– Semiu Akanmu, North Dakota State University

Pius Adesanmi: The Man Who Leaves and Lives

Death, captured in a box
suspended in mid-air
Slowly ascending to land on a rock
too far to see.
The phantom is bold
Killing the scion of creativity and talent

  1. A Fallen Branch

None of us can determine the frequency of death and predict the timing of its occurrence. You and I are slaves to the monster. Almighty death snatched away our precious jewel. Ikú d’óró, ikú ṣèkà. The death that cut Pius in his prime stings with sorrow. An irreplaceable man has gone. A silence descended upon me, a pregnant silence.  I could not even recover to write this tribute, doing so only after request by friends and his family members. The sorrow is difficult to bear. The pain refuses to leave.

A branch has fallen
Stricken down by Sango
The god of thunder
Stolen by death
To appease Ògún, the god of iron

Do you demand a sacrifice?
Why not collect a chicken?
Yes, death has violently collected an offering by violence
A hawk sweeping the chicken off the ground
Mother hen is powerless

A sting of death that refused appeasement

Orunmila, why do you look away?
No emissary to the forest
To prevent the Irókò from falling
Killing the tallest tree in the jungle
Ṣokotí, Alágbẹ̀dẹ Ọ̀run
Ṣokotí forged and pounded metal, to create and destroy

  1. Orphanage

It is my joy in life to find
At every turning of the road
The strong arm of a comrade kind
To help me onward with my load.

And since I have no gold to give,
And love alone must make amends,
My only prayer is, while I live—
God make me worthy of my friends.
Frank Dempster Sherman

We all are the bereaved. We are worthy of Adesanmi’s friendship but he has turned us into orphans. Pius did not see himself as a spiritual father to any. In collecting a large number of followers, he did so to transform Africa. His name will always be associated with change.   He became an influential scholar shaping the minds of thousands of people, creating models for others to follow. Very rapidly, his influence spread across the continent, as he spoke about the power of knowledge, spreading words of comfort, addressing the relevance of resistance to power. He opened the way to a larger discourse on the limits of superstructure, while also creating a path to extensive reflections on the social and cultural formations of contemporary Africa. Focusing on quotidian lived experiences, he connected thousands of people with the bigger ambition of the application of modernity.  Pius’s energy and enthusiasm for everything that life had to offer was infectious and inspiring. Those who knew him would admire his strength, his passion, his resilience, his exuberance, and his adorably audacious character. I happen to be one of those. I always knew him as someone that could do anything—positive, creative, beautiful.  He was fiercely proud of his heritage, and he would tell vivid stories of his childhood days in colorful, folkloric detail. I salute his immortal spirit and know that though he is with God now, his life force will be here on Earth with us forever.

Pius stood for something that is in short supply: He was a mentor to many people. He gave to others without asking for anything in return, thus generating a kind of moral authority. He had the power of conviction, the aura of incorruptibility. He spoke truth to power, unafraid of intimidation by those in power. He did not seek power, and was never beholden to it. He was a genuine human being. He believed in his words, and he did not utter them out of personal aggrandizement. He stood for what he knew to be true and just, and always. Like Amilcar Cabral, he saw the people as the core of nationalism, and he challenged them to stand up for their rights, to see themselves as having agency.

His death has thrown many into an orphanage. One orphan, Dr. Samuel Oloruntoba, based in South Africa, wrote to me with tears in his eyes:

I don’t have a strong emotion to withstand this type of shock. At a point yesterday, I just lied down flat on the bare floor of my office to ask God how to cope with this. This has nothing to do with the plans that we had together but the void that has been left—on the ideals that he stood for, his mother, who served us pounded yam in their Ilorin home in July last year, his wife and daughter and the manner of the tragic death.  I hit myself intermittently. Could I have seen a revelation and warned him not to go on this journey?  I can’t look at his pictures going around without feeling that a part of me is gone. 

Ibrahim Odugbemi, one of his admirers, went into an agonizing reflection:

The death of Oga Adesanmi makes me empathize with myself and all others of my species. We, these near-God beings created in God’s image (Bible), sent to Earth as God’s representatives (Quran), more than all other creatures, we have so many features of God — knowledge (of art, science, technology etc.), spirituality/faith (which is all that Angels have, and where they compete fiercely with us), free will (isn’t God Aseyowun?). But we don’t have the capacity to live forever in this world.

Dr. Bode Ibironke of Rutgers University, an interlocutor, was seized with fear:

The last time I saw Pius was in Michigan, at a conference organized by Ken Harrow. We were on the same panel. He made everyone laugh as he threaded together satirical narrative and theoretical arguments. His charm, his brilliance, his confidence, and his special skill in human connection made him so attractive. It was unthinkable to contemplate his disappearance. How could one not tremble? What sort of gift is life when it’s never really our own?

As I reflect on the words of the orphans, I am reminded once again of the danger that death brings to the world:

Iku bọla jẹ!
Iku bara jẹ!
Iku ge wa l’ododo ẹyẹ!
Kin ni ka ti wi?
Kin ni ka ti sọ?
Igi ta ni ka fi role,
Igi da porogodo!
Kin ni ka ti wi?
Kin ni ka ti sọ?
Igi to n ruwe lọwọ!
Igi ti n gbọrọjigọ l’oju tẹbi, tara, tọrẹ!
Kin ni ka ti wi?
Kin ni ka ti sọ?
Afi gbii lairoti?
Afi bi ala!
Afi oorun l’oju gbogbo wa!
Mo sunkunsunkun;
Oju mi o da mọ.
Oloriburuku n bẹ nilẹ;
Iku ṣojoro; ko ri i.
Kin ni ka ti wi?
Kin ni ka ti sọ?
Ọfọ nla leyii!
Ẹ ba mi ke gbajare!
Ka siju ka riran rere wo;
Ẹbọra da hiọhiọ silẹ!

  1. A Committed Thought

Death, I won’t appeal to you to kill no more
As you cannot be appeased
Shameless death
A thunder clap in a wild world

I called him Aburo Naija, the generic name that I give to everyone born after the country’s independence in 1960. They are different from those of us, Egbon Naija (those born before 1960) with another kind of cultural nationalism. If I grew up in the age of blackboard and chalk, Aburo Naija grew up in the age of Facebook and Twitter, the age of rapid knowledge production, the age of CODESRIA and the African Union. If Egbon Naija is about face-to-face conversation, the oju loro wa in which you must see the person you are communicating with on a one-on-one basis, Aburo Naija is about participation in meetings and conferences where new theories emerge on a daily basis, and the world is connected by air travels.

What characterizes Aburo Naija’s way is the rapidity and dynamism of his movement back and forth between academic and public engagements. Those in the literary world are usually not found in the policy world, but Pius was adept in literature and politics, art and economics. His methodology does not see society as consisting of silos, understandable as autonomous parts and without context.  Domination, he argued over and over again, resides in the kitchen as well as in the palace. His spirit of vigilance warns us about decadence, death, and risky exchanges in African societies. He alerted us, as well as keeping us alert, to the preservation of what is good in us as a people.

Pius understood the core of the capitalist system, set against the context of the rural background of his parentage. He became audacious, seeking the ways to transform the rural into the modern, and means to tame capitalism into one with a soul. He resided in the heart of the capitalist system but his mind and spirit are in the rural. He successfully created a community of language to capture the minds of his commune. His Umma became eager listeners, and they began to share a common understanding about the future of Africa. As his reputation became established, he also became a catalyst and innovator, driving ideas around the empowerment of youth to create emancipatory movements, resistance tools, and national liberation. He mastered the art of combining praxis with logos, the ell of political criticism with theoretical debate, militant passion with sound intellectual substance.

Pius was a conscientious, meticulous scholar who graced his craft with wit, integrity, dedication, and enthusiasm. He sought coherence and wholeness in both theory and empiricism. The world is greedy, Pius warned us too many times—politicians exploit the citizens; rich countries exploit the poor ones. Merging creative writings with creative politics, Pius operated at the margins of disciplines, demanding that scholars have a responsibility to the poor, and must confront the transformations of the peasants and their rural societies.

I feel a sense of awe and gratitude for his solicitude and decency, for his opposition to injustice, his critical condemnation of politicians and their corruption and indiscretions. He had both human and intellectual qualities in abundance: when he wanted to, he could listen, obsessed with cordial fraternity.

  1. Good morning, Mrs. Muyiwa Adesanmi, Iya Tise

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” John 10.10.

Pius was already writing as if in retirement. God does not recall those who still have tasks to perform. God worked his prothesis in Pius. After all, people congratulate the potter and not the pot. Our people have the saying about the people ignoring the brave hunter who killed a leopard to admire the leopard. Pious Pius is the potter and the brave hunter.

I don’t want to join others in the despondent song of Adieu. This is too depressing, too grave, rather cold. Instead, I want to bring his energy back to life, the very energy that he committed to you and me, the feat of bringing literature to serve and to shape policies and politics. Rise up, great one. Reincarnate in Kenya, as the Mwalimu. Let your spirit be reborn in others as great scholars. Rise up in references in books and as a reference point.

But is Pius dead? I know him to be alive. Ewo! I won’t mourn without mitigation. I won’t be sad as I live with the memory of his goodness, his art of living. Ó tì o (No way)!  I won’t be terrified by his permanent absence as I am grateful for his achievements. My spirit will not be desolated. Mi ò gbà (I refuse to accept the loss)! Africa’s renewal is the marker of the presence of Pius—his death is an assurance of our self-renewal—renewal of devastated souls, the marker of peace, the deepest source of our hope. The nostalgia will not be about calamity, but about joy and happiness. Ayo ni tiwa (Ours is joy inexhaustible)!

I will always see him as alive, as I require no imagination to see his warmth and laughter, his embrace of me and others, his ever-positive words of encouragement. His history will always be with me, a history of a home that was defined to include me, you, and humanity.

Muyiwa, iyawo Pius, I have no words to console you and your child for the loss of your loved one. I can only say and assure you that the whole world shares your pain. Indeed, you are not only in my heart but in the hearts of the whole world at this moment and I pray God to give you the courage and fortitude to bear the loss. I would like you to accept the comforting wisdom of the Yoruba saying: Ka ku l’omode ko ye ni san ju ka dagba kama ladie iranna    It’s more honorable to die young than to live to old age without being accorded a dignifying memorial service. As a I write, a great crowd of Nigerians are gathered at Abuja to keep vigil to honor your husband. And all over the world, your husband is being mourned.  Therefore, it is too late for you to create a home of sorrow, as this would not be the true spirit of my brother. You cannot create a body of pain, as he gave you everlasting love. Your heart cannot keep anguish as my brother taught all of us joy. The exit of Pius should be replaced by the entry of Pious.

He is with us: in his ideas, his contempt for hierarchy, his radical thoughts on the rejection of accepted ideas and poor reasoning. We will always remember him as an organizer. His foot soldiers on Facebook recognize, respect, and love him. Those in power will, of course, not miss him because of his criticisms of their incompetence and mismanagement.

Our brother has left his heart behind, to go to a home. Where-ever he may be now, I know that the doors and windows to his home are open, to you and me, they and us, we and they, the colors of the world. He looks, he gazes, he talks, he laughs, he reads, he listens, and all what our brother can see is hope in you, hope in us, hope in we, hope in them.

He is not dead. He cannot die. The tumult of life is different from the history of life. For a heart so large, in clouds and sun, rain and hurricane, our brother will always be here. His heart, large and compassionate, will continue to beat in your presence, in my presence, in our presence, in their presence. Pius lived a fulfilled life full of legacies that few can equal.

Pius, dream in peace with the ancients. Good night.

– Toyin Falola, The University of Texas at Austin

An inspiration

It was an honour to have met you, even for a short time. You not only taught, you inspired me want to learn more! The study abroad course that you taught Kenya in May 2016 was one of the best, most memorable courses I have ever taken, and I will never forget it.
This is a great loss. May you rest in peace Professor.

– Travis Jacox

‘Hamba Kahle’ Pius

Pius, it was truly an honour and a privilege to know you. You were like a bright light that was extinguished too soon. Your wisdom, humility and sense of humour shone through to all who met you. Your work at the Institute of African Studies was illuminating and will be remembered. My condolences to your family, friends, students and colleagues both in Canada and abroad. As they say in the Xhosa language in South Africa, ‘Hamba Kahle’ or ‘Go Well’. No doubt, you will be missed.

– Sanjeev Singh, Mirada Global Advisors

Sunset on a sunny afternoon

When the illumination came
far from a small village of Egbe
the world becomes bright and
ignorance gradually departs Africa.
Pious, the driver of this light:
an epoch move to liberate the oppressed.
But this light shines for little,
this light suddenly overshadowed by darkness on a sunny day.

Prof. Pious Adesanmi was a move in my ideological life and academic uprightness. His articles were light to me and all his critics against bad governance in Nigeria and Africa woke my self-consciousness as an architect of new Africa.
His gone but I so much believe that he succeeded in replicating his vision for better Africa into many youths. We will miss you. I am missing you already but what you have spent the short time to do will linger for years and append your name on the monument of the world.

Sleep on a great academia and erudite scholar.

– Oluwafemi Faniran, Educationist

Patriotic African I never meet

Prof. though I never meet you physically, your books and talk present what you stand for. Just as we need men that can inspire many Africans youth to greatness, you transit suddenly to the other side. Miss you. I pray that the Lord will take care of your children and wife. Sleep on till we meet on the beautiful shore

– Olusola Olaleye, Nigerian Institute for Trypanosmiasis Research Southwest zonal office Ibadan, Oyo State

Our hero

You came,
You lived,
You died,
But your memory will be forever
Archeologists will find your works beneath rubbles in the next centuries,
Just as you predicted!
You were a great man, Pius;
A traditional lantern that shown so bright;
Pencil held you up West; illuminating Africa
Reprimanding it’s leaders, and
Teaching the world!
I never met you – but you have our greatest respects!

– Olu Abiodun (my family and I)

Rest in peace, prof

With the years spent on earth you have actually impact lives millions you have never met like me. Rest in peace, prof.

– Bernard ThankGod

Demise of a saint

Universal Pius, you lived a life of a saint though very short but well spent. You were Nigerian of all tribe, you were Canadian, you were African.
Though we never met but I always looked forward to read your writings on social media.
My thoughts and prayers to your family especially your lovely daughter Tise. Adieu Pius.

– Christian Onyebuchi ( Archbishop)

Silence of the samba drum

Seize the ticking clocks, turn off the ringing phone
Stop the barking dogs from eating the fleshy bone
Silence the stringing harps and muffle the samba drum
Reveal the golden coffin
Hear the mourners’ cries, and drink a shot of rum.

Let the jets circle above
Writing onto the blue spaced canvass
From the northern lights to heaven’s gate
They lay in a frozen state

The stars are in disarray
For in Flanders Fields the poppies lay
Gather up the moon and strip away the earthly sun
Dry up the ocean for good
So we may remember our fallen sons.

– Onyekachi Nwoke, York Univeristy

A ray of sunshine, abruptly taken from us

I am beyond heartbroken. Not just by your departure, Prof. Pius. But by the abrupt nature of it. I am in denial. I am deliberately using the present tense in this tribute. Because I am still in denial. I have been in the same space as you, twice. Once at an event, you and Blair hosted at Carleton. I was a guest speaker for the professional development forum you created, where current students can draw inspiration from Carleton Alumni. The jovial manner in which you hosted the event is beyond human. You offered us pizza and pop. And together we ate and laughed and chatted. Afterwards, you posted about the event on Facebook. I since followed you on Facebook. What an eloquent writer you are! The second event I met you was at a Diaspora related event. You were one of the panellists. You spoke so intelligently about Africa. It was such a beautiful moment. I constantly follow your work on social media. One particular occasion that touched my heart, was you playing in the snow with your daughter. There is so much I can say to highlight what a strong beam of light you are. But I am short of words. For now, all I can say is, my heart goes out to your family. I am praying that God may protect them. May your children treasure your legacy.

It is well.
Rest in Power Prof. Pius

– Petronila Michael

There was a man: A light to his world

Like many, I didn’t know or hear about late Prof Pius Adesanmi in his life time. However, what I’ve read about him at death have endeared him to me. Some of us become more renowned at death I guess. Thankfully, he was known in his lifetime but more importantly, his works speak for him after he’s gone.

He left his marks on the sands of time. May our legacies outlive us.

Night came too soon.

Adieu to a brother I never met.

– Ayoola Akanmu

Life well spent

Professor Pius adesanmi was Williams Shakespeare of our time. I met Pius at London in 2012 and since then my life has never been the same academically. He brought me up and thought me how to do research. Adieu Pius adesanmi. God please find him worthy of paradise and forgive his shot coming. Nigeria and the world will continue to love you.

– Dr Jamiu Yusuf, Montfort University, England

Prof Pius Akinsanmi lives on…

Okun Ambassador of international repute,an astute and articulate writer.Would have loved you to govern our beloved Kogi State in Nigeria.I will really miss your stupendous write up in Sahara Reporters.Heaven gained,Earth lost.Odigboseee Prof omo Yagba li Kogi.Adieu Professor Pius Adesanmi a real mentor and model worthy of emulation.I will put to practice the great virtues of honesty and fearlessness I learnt from your works…

– Victor IgbekeleOlorun-Balogun

Professor Adesanmi has passed us the baton!

The news of Prof Adesanmi’s involvement in the crash of the flight ET302 came as a rude shock. Hoping it was false, I went to his Facebook page to read his disclaimer which would have been quite humorous and inspiring as usual.

However, his last post made me feel a bit awkward because it was thoroughly premonitory. Within a short time afterwards, confirmation upon confirmation came that the literary giant and colossal Africanist was indeed gone. Though I never had a personal connection with him, his death was deeply painful!

I keep wondering who will fill the void his death has created in our dear Nigeria, Africa and the world at large. Who else will lash us so much with the truth and keep us smiling while at it? Who will continue keeping us young Africans on our toes so that we don’t give in to mediocrity? Who will bridge generational gaps as he has always done with his compelling stories?

Nevertheless, I was challenged to join others who have been inspired by Prof’s life to be strong and resolute in the pursuit of excellence. To pick up the baton and keep pushing for the Africa of his dreams. To live a full life worthy of emulation like his. This we shall do to make his life worthwhile!

Adieu, Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi! You have made indelible marks on the sand of time!

– Emmanuel Jesuyon Dansu, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan

A pass to eternity

In his characteristic manner, I could picture now late Prof Pius, presenting his boarding pass for departure with so much excitement, smiles and sweetness. This I have concluded, from my learning of a man I never met. I never entirely heard of. I never came across any of his many deep soul-searching thoughts, which I am now so much engrossed in, until his death. These thoughts are so unlimited and unpredictable in the manner they are capable of transforming the souls of societies. The last few days, immerse in Prof Pius’s world, have caused an unavoidable need to thinker on living, from most complex to the simplest issues of life.

My deepest regret is not that I never met him, I already met him already. My deepest regret isn’t that he’s wastefully snatched by death from a society that needs the whips and lashes of his pen. My deepest regret is that I have no regret strong enough to mourn, as is human custom for a life so brief, albeit fully lived.

That I feel pained, pained that he could have done much more, pained that he left a very beautiful family behind, pained that the African continent has lost a voice, not many of which we have.

Prof Pius was no ordinary man. He lead a no ordinary life. He was a no ordinary Professor, scholar, critic, thinker and entertainer.

As you presented your boarding pass that morning, and took the wings of the morning, reaching in the uttermost part of the sea, may his right hand lead and hold you throughout eternity. We will cherish and preserve your thoughts in our ever lingering and episodic memories.

Adiues bo`da Prof Pius Adesanmi

– Abraham Ameh, Yintab Strategy Consult, Lagos Nigeria

Piously Pious

I might never have met you in passing,
Let alone, in person
But since I met you, four years ago
You have become a book
I daily read, in search of knowledge
In search of light, in search of strength.

Day in, day out
I rush to your open class
And like a dutifully griot
There you are, serving with love
All that care to drink
From your well of wisdom

Fare you well
Hawker of knowledge
Fare you well
Baker of word
Fare you well
Great son of the universe

Fare you well
You who have overcome
The stench of death

Fare you well
You whose sun will continue
To light the path of many

Fare You well
You who’s laughter would continue
To gladden many heart

Fare you well
You who have liked well
For others to follow

Fare you well
Our dear Pios.

– Jerry Adesewo, Arojah Royal Theatre suffice

The burden of death

I had about the death of a great scholar and I was in a state of constant laconic lacuna. Death is inevitable it we come while it we come. May God grant the family the fortitude to bear the loss.

– Anthony Wealth


The best flew away in bright daylight!

Never to be forgotten!!

You inspired and excited even in death….

With crushing of spirit.. its good night, Prof.. rest on!!!

– Tosin Ajayi, UBC

Farewell Message

My Dear Prof Pius,

The entire Okun family will miss you forever. While you were here with us, you were the embodiment of knowledge. Your contribution to the entire human race knew no bound. You touched many souls,you change a lot of destiny for better,you calm a lot of def-rail nerve.You will be missed for good.Rest in the bosoms of our Lord.

– Bolarinwa Suleiman, FCMB Pensions

Tremendous loss

Pius was an outstanding scholar and communicator who contributed to both Canadian and African scholarship in an engaged way. He mobilized diaspora African scholars and gave back to his homeland. He was proud to lead Canadian students to study trips in Africa. He became a magnet for Africanists visiting Carleton and an effective advocate for building the Institute of African Studies. It was my pleasure to work closely with him as Dean for two years and enjoy his achievements as a public scholar, teacher and effective administrator. What a tragic loss for the scholarly community, Carleton and his family. He will be greatly missed but fondly remembered.

– Wallace Clement, Carleton University

On losing Pius Adesanmi

On the way to the airport in Accra on the tragic Sunday morning, we spoke about Professor Adesanmi. Colleagues and I agreed he was one of the best minds Nigeria has produced. In retrospect, I realise he was already dead by the time we were speaking — news of which greeted us when we landed in Abuja about two hours later.

When I founded the Gibran Books and Values Society of Nigeria, I told our Board of Trustees that when we commence our lecture series on values, I would want us to make Adesanmi the Inaugural Lecturer and subsequently, Chair of the series. The Board agreed in total, and we were looking forward to deciding on the appropriate date to commence. Then he died.

For us as a society, we are at a loss how to deal with this extremely tragic loss. And we can only imagine how difficult it would be for the Adesanmi family to accept that he is gone.

To everyone who knew and loved Prof Adesanmi, accept from us our deepest condolences: he would want us to go on. The question right now is how.

– Aliyu Abdulkadir, Federal University, Kashere

Your faith guides

Pius –

The news of you being on that plane came to me from the student grapevine.

We, the community, have been with you in our hearts and minds ever since.

You brought renewal and growth to the Institute, kindness, support and humour to your colleagues
and everything to your students.

Thank you for leaving us the psalm.  The knowledge that you had faith whatever and wherever
has been a comfort and a guide.

– Linda Freeman, Emeritus Professor, Institute of African Studies and Department of Political Science

More than a country

Prof Pius,

You are more than a country.

Your passing is a huge loss.

Rest on.

– Grace Kukoyi

He was an inspiration

Your passing on has been hard to take for most of us who admired your lifestyle.
You were a Saint on earth.
You touched so many lives with your literary works and your style was amazing.
As we painfully miss you, we pray for God to repose your soul in eternal bliss.
Rest in peace, sir.

– Ayua Moses, Federal Ministry of Works

Tremendous loss

Pius was an outstanding scholar and communicator who contributed to both Canadian and African scholarship in an engaged way. He mobilized diaspora African scholars and gave back to his homeland. He was proud to lead Canadian students to study trips in Africa. He became a magnet for Africanists visiting Carleton and an effective advocate for building the Institute of African Studies. It was my pleasure to work closely with him as Dean for two years and enjoy his achievements as a public scholar, teacher and effective administrator. What a tragic loss for the scholarly community, Carleton and his family. He will be greatly missed but fondly remembered.

– Wallace Clement, Carleton University

Remembering Pius Adesanmi (Video) – IAS Prof Nduka Otiono with CBC’s Adrian Harewood

Institute of African Studies Prof. Nduka Otiono talks with CBC’s Adrian Harewood about Pius Adesanmi. Watch here.

Mentor never met

Until 2016, I never heard nor read about him. When I first read his writeup, a friend comment on his write up. Since that day, I started following him on Facebook. I have never followed him on twitter. I never miss his writings on Facebook. Whatever I’m doing, I must drop it and read his writing. I can’t limit my reason for his writings to politics. His writings are beneficiary not because I’m a language student but because he is always factual and blunt. He writes virtually on all topics. I’m still wondering how he understood Africa and African that much.

I know he toured African countries to teach and motivate PhD students. I have been planning to meet him in one of these teachings. Prof. Pius is always on point. He satirised to bring out major issues. He is named lord of satire. The day I saw his book “naija no dey carry last”, I never had money to buy. Since then I have not come across the book. (I hope somebody will help me to get it).
Prof. Adesanmi loved African and wanted Africa to be like other part of the world. He was always sad seen African backward. Pius is always unhappy to see Nigeria backward. He narrates his personal experiences to teach moral, hard working, disciplines and integrity, all he stood for. Prof. Pius made the world to see the potentials that are not utilised or properly utilised in Africa. He died in/on what he campaign for/against always. The day I first read him talking about sport, I said this man is a genius. Indeed, he was a genius. I wonder how he had time for sport.

Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi, sun ree o. You were/are a role model. You are worthy of emulation . We love you. Africa love you. Nigeria love you. You left us when we still need you. I was waiting to read your opinion about the guber election but lo and behold, I read about your untimely exit. This is sad. I couldn’t imagine it. I’m still living in the mystery. Prof, I’m sad I didn’t meet you in person. I’m sure your works are indelible. So, you won’t be at post proverbial conference at the premier university? Good night sir.

I write with heavy heart though, I have a consolation that you never leave a wasted life. Adieu prof.

– Joshua Sunday Ayantayo, Federal College of Agriculture Akure

We need it while our blood is not cold

It’s is unfortunate that your numerous good deed on earth is only been recognise by the majority in death, when will builders like you get there deserved accolades while still living? Rest on my African brother.

– Ani Christopher

Rare Gem

I will forever miss a rare gem,

May God grant you eternal rest prof. Pius

– Deborah Akintola

An invisible Icon!!!

Though invisible without physical contact, His impact is like a Physical father and his loss is more than loosing a blood… RIP

– Adepoju Kunle

An intellectual general

Through vision, he commanded his troops by writings and admonitions to the war front. He fired from every rear and flank forcing ignorance and mediocrity to retreat countlessly. His advance was steady and never slow as he engaged the social media in a tactical maneuvering; forcing the oppressors, agents of ‘miseducation’, and promoters of Stockholm syndrome to run for cover. Victory, though far, was sure. We were happy and hopeful. We were winning the war. But, they all came crashing in an Ethiopian Airline. Prof died at the war front!

Sleep on Professor Pius Adesanmi

– Ani James

The passing of

Pius’s passing in that tragic Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10th has shattered us all at the Institute of African Studies and Carleton. His untimely departure has left deep wounds in our institution and our lives, which we will be trying to suture up as best we can.

Though we are scarred his outstanding influence will continue to energize us and so many others in African Studies. I found a few more words of tribute on Nokoko, our Institute’s open-access journal ( ).

Our heartfelt condolences to Pius’s family and relatives,

– Dr. Blair Rutherford, Carleton University

You’re a country, Pius

Je ne t’oublierai jamais !

– Robert Fournier, Carleton University

Teach me how to mourn

I first heard about Professor Pius Adesanmi at the 2012 International Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). He had been the keynote speaker at the conference. His astuteness and humility were outstanding, he delivered a very powerful lecture that also for the first time drew attention to younger writers like me. I was unaware he knew about me or my existence as a writer, hence my shock when I learnt that he had mentioned me in his paper, something I really couldn’t fathom. That particular recognition by him remains indelible in my heart. It was a huge honour to be recognised by such a distinguished scholar whom I had never met prior to the conference. This to me was his way of promoting and encouraging young writers from the continent by giving them critical recognition.

At the said conference, I had presented to him a copy of my first poetry collection, “Indefinite Cravings” but instead of taking it for free, he had enthused: “This is why literature does not grow in Africa! You publish a book and distribute it for free.” He ended up giving me more than I was actually selling the books. Such was Adesanmi’s generosity and humanity. He was a straight person who wanted everything to work in the country.

My second encounter with Adesanmi was at the MBA International Literary Colloquium in Minna, 2014. He was also the keynote speaker at that auspicious event that paraded distinguished writers from allover of Nigeria. At that colloquium, he had mentioned my name again. This time around though, he kept mentioning my name until people started to ask me if I had a personal relationship with him. He made me popular so to speak, giving credence to my art and place within the discourse of contemporary Nigerian literature and Poetry. I was not alone, he equally beamed his academic light on several other young writers as well.

One of the striking qualities of late Professor Pius Adesanmi was his ability to connect and project the prospective of contemporary Nigerian literature and its writers. He was a great mentor to many of us back in Nigeria and in the diaspora.

Pius was a mobile intellectual who travelled across Africa delivering lectures and pursuing a more proactive citizenry and independently developed Africa! He believed in the possibility of Africa’s growth hinged on the conscious African, willing to change the narratives of dysfunction and dystopia on the continent.

Since the news of his death in the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines, I have had one question begging for an answer, how to mourn Professor Adesanmi. I have been confused and dumbfounded! I have been unable to recognise that he is no more! But most significantly for me is the fact that I don’t know where or how to start mourning a man who did so much for us! So, I wrote on my Facebook page, Please teach me how to mourn! I also want to write a poem in his honour with the same title, but I haven’t found the emotional balance to be able to do it. I hope that writing this poem would be a way of helping me cope with his demise. It would be the answer to my mourning question. I want to write a poem, a poem that would console me and immortalise a great role model.

Thank you Professor Pius Adesanmi for being who you were and for living a worthy life, and for inspiring us all. I am grateful to you for all the attention that you gave me. Thank you for being Professor Pius Adesanmi!

Rest on in the hope that your greatness has just begun! We, your mentees shall live to the glory of your aspirations!

– Paul Liam, Association of Nigeria Authors (ANA)

Who is Pius?

Wow, Pius!,

If we were born of the same mother you would have been my big brother by a good five years.

It was only three weeks ago just before the Nigerian elections that I sat at an eatery at the Volta Hall gardens of the University of Ghana to have an English breakfast that I asked myself this question “Who is Pius?”. This is because prior to that, I had heard of you but had not really paid attention. That morning in Accra, I was pouring over Twitter and social media just to educate myself on the happenings towards the elections and your name just kept popping up so I decided to check out your Wikipedia profile and behold that’s when I got to read about the legend you! Simple, profound and indeed extraordinary!

Thank you for awakening us, thank you for responding to your call and living your passion. Your name evokes so much for our generation. Like everything godly, the seed had to die first. God had to take you from us for the awakening to begin.

You will always live in our hearts but more importantly in our actions.

We will remember you, Nigeria will remember you always.

Rest in perfect peace, Good night big bro!

– Abayomi Moshood-Amusa, University of Ghana

Our another

When the abyss grows a hand,
Your throat sucked into its firm grasp,
You try to ask for a breath,
But your nose is gone, gone to smell the acrid smell of absence.

You ask to see, but you choke.
You have two seeing organs: the heart, your eyes.
All blocked. All rubbery. Rubbery, yes!
For your heart has met with life inconsistencies, once more!
Death is rearing its dead in a battle it has lost and will yet lose.
It has taken another. Our another.
Dear to our heart.
Dear to our senses.
Dear to our nation, our continent, and our people.

A-ha! Prof. This is the height of our parley. But I will stop.
I will stop to give the riverbed a chance.
I struggle not to think of your little girl.
I struggle not to think that our grief is nothing compared to hers and yours,
Yours and those of others in that crash.

Maybe the news will be undone. The human heart can hope.
Much is dead. But much is alive.
It’s time to comb through your ‘alive pieces’ once more.
But it’s death to the portal you are to knowledge.
A strong one,
A unique one,
Strong and intimate is the power of online connections gone deep.
The roots fostered so strong it seems a one time escape route now gone.
I have met you Prof.
And I have lost you.
So painful.
Such a longing.

Good night Professor Adesanmi.
This heart aches.

– Akinyemi David, University of Ibadan

A prophet in the wilderness!!!

I have not been able to pull myself together to write anything since your flight to eternity.
Though never met you or interacted with you directly but I followed most of your write ups. Most I agree with, even the few I didn’t, I just kind of see sense of a wise man and reason with you. We all can’t agree on everything after all.

Your death was a shock to me, still a shock like a brother I never met. I keep asking myself why I feel this way, can’t explain it. As I type this I still have tears in my eyes.

Brother, you were a prophet that cried in the wilderness and like John the Baptist, you left when your assignment was completed.

As a prophet, you even talked about your departure. What a glorious way to sign out of this wilderness.

We shall not wait for archeologists to dig up your several writings but shall tell your story to generations after us.

God’s peace be upon your little angel, Tise, your wife and your mother.

Rest on brother, rest on.

– Amadosi Mosugu

PIUS: The closest approximation of Omoluabi of this generation

The concept of Omoluabi in Yoruba tongue
Evokes a mental picture of an eerie persona
An epithet describing someone, a rare breed
In whom converge all positive human virtues
As humility, courage, gentility, integrity, knowledge, patience, steadfastness, wisdom, self-discipline, communal awareness, love of humanity, and more!

So rarely would you find a single person
Possessing a sizeable portion of these virtues
That some have concluded, as a mortal, you can only strive
Towards having some of the sublime attributes
But hardly all the enrichments that make for
An Omoluabi, the uncommon breed
But here was PIUS, a man so Pious!
He packed the attributes enviably like no other

He, to our generation, represents the summit
Of the personality curve very few have attained
You truly represent, Professor Pius
The closest approximation of a mortal Omoluabi

In moral and character you are great
To many young minds, a model you are
In moral, scholarship and self-application
We will always your remember your indelible contribution
In Canada, Nigeria, and the whole world!
So rest in peace our dearest Pius!

– Kayode Ketefe, Head of Research

Prof. Adesanmi’s visit to Intellipharmaceutics International Inc (IPCI)

May his soul rest with the Maker

I am deeply saddened by this news. May his soul rest with his Maker. My deepest condolences to the family.

– Edward Ansah Akuffo, PhD, University of the Fraser Valley

Heartfelt condolences

It is with great sadness that we’ve learned the tragic news of the passing of Professor Pius Adesanmi. We  have lost a highly  esteemed,  beloved  colleague,  amazing scholar, and  leading public intellectual,  Professor  Pius Adesanmi, Director of the African Studies  Program at Carleton University.
Our  thoughts  and prayers are with his loved ones, friends, colleagues,  students  and the wider community.  This is a terrible loss for  Carleton University, Africa  and the African Studies Community in Canada and worldwide.
May he rest in peace.
Most heartfelt condolences.

– Dr. Marieme Lo,  Director, African Studies, University of Toronto (former student)

There will never be another Pius

He was a pan Africanist and intellectual par excellence. Though I have never met him I have benefited from his wealth of knowledge through social media… He will always be remembered for given his life to the service of people…

– Abdulwakeel Ajao, University of Johannesburg

So Soon! Rest in Peace

Ha! Adebola! I am short of words about your sudden, shocking departure! You will be greatly missed!  Praying that God will comfort and uphold your dear family.
Rest in peace Adebola.

Your classmate from four decades ago.

– A. O’Emmanuel

Infectious laughter rings on


It was an honour and a pleasure to have worked as your teaching assistant. Your passion and exuberance lives on through all you have inspired. The classroom will always ring with your infectious laughter and your joy for academia. The best thing we can do in these troubling times is to keep your laughter – your energy – alive in all that we do and learn. Thank you for all of the contributions you have given the world, from immense research, to insightful poetry, to that spark you ignited within your students. Thank you so much.

May you rest soundly.

– Hope Tohme

With great sadness

It was 2008 and I was 37. I felt so out of place, old enough to be mother to my classmates. My first class on my first day was African Lit I. I was so late that I stood outside the door, hesitating. I listened to Pius and decided I wanted to hear better. I sat on the stairs at the back of the room and couldn’t even see him. My favourite class was about abiku. I’ll never forget it. After the lecture I shyly waited for everyone to leave so I tell him my own story about reincarnation and scars. He made me feel heard. I felt validated. I felt like I belonged in that room. That one conversation encouraged me to keep working at it and get my degree. He didn’t know it, but Pius was one of the few reasons I got my BEnglish. He was inspirational to me, even if he was always late to that 8:35am class. Years later I taught China Achebe’s Things Fall Apart in my own adult education classroom in a Cree community – Chisasibi, Quebec. That never would have happened if it wasn’t for Pius. My most sincere condolences go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and students from his teaching career. Meegwetch. Merci. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our stories.

– Alice Rondeau

A fine scholar

Pius was a truly fine scholar, a public intellectual whose works were widely read and valued around the world. He was an excellent teacher who inspired and cared deeply for his students. He was an energetic and enthusiastic leader who generously gave his time and energy to build the African Studies degree at Carleton. He was a genuine colleague whose conversation was intellectually engaging and whose ready laughter was contagious. Pius was a friend to many at Carleton and I feel privileged to have enjoyed his friendship.

The university has lost a great academic, the world, a great man and we mourn our friend.

– Dr. Roseann Runte, Former president, Carleton University

Professor Pius Adesanmi: An immeasurable loss!

It is with great sadness that we’ve learned the tragic news of the passing of Professor Pius Adesanmi. We have lost a highly esteemed, beloved colleague, amazing scholar, and leading public intellectual, Professor Pius Adesanmi, Director of the African Studies Program at Carleton University.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones, friends, colleagues, students and the wider community. This is a terrible loss for Carleton University, Africa and the African Studies Community in Canada and worldwide.

May he rest in peace

Most heartfelt condolences.

– Dr. Marieme Lo, Director, African Studies, University of Toronto

Pius Adesanmi: A man of many colours

Black, White, Brown, Red, all these and more meant nothing more than a common humanity to Egbon. He traversed the world in a colour but he was blind to that colour in his interactions with the world. He simply chose to be a man of many colours, and that he did well, so well that many of us are now proud to take up our own spectrum of colours in navigating the world.

He was like the biblical Joseph with a coat of many colours, who rescued his family from moral and intellectual famine. Egbon has laid a strong and ethical transnational foundation of scholarship and humanism for many generations to build theirs, we can only pray that he finds his own mansion among those of the generals in heaven.

Never met him in person but I pray we meet him at the Master’s feet. Adieu!

– Tobi Adewunmi, University of Ibadan

My lamentations

It was so difficult to come to term with the news of your sudden death by the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines BOEING 737 MAX 8 on Sunday, March 10, 2019. Your demise is not only shocking but also jeering at every attempt to recall and reflect the missing-in-action of your satirical scribbles, on one hand; and on the other are effective social, economic and political interventions for the good of your mother country, consistently whipping koboko-worthy political elite to line. I tarried long accepting the realness in this inglorious reality your death birthed.

Death, a fiend, refused to be kind to your being as the last six months of your life sufficed that the apparent near-miss death by motor accident and the ultimate by a plane are two different ends of the same snake. The head or the tail could not spare you of the venom or sting but eventually!

I share in the grieving pains of Tise,7, (your daughter); her sub-conscious mind would definitely be on the strain comprehending your unannounced disappearance in effect, your wife; only her understands the torments and your mom at Isanlu; she’d be having her teeth edging and gnashing in a perpetual despairing effect. Situating their pains in my mental image, I sob on.

Prof @pius_adesanmi, you’ll sorely be missed. But you’ll surely be in my archive and my unborn generations shall know you lived.


– Ojo Dolire


It is hard to put into words what an honour it was, it still is, to have met Pius. I stood in awe of his work, his critical commentary, his inspiring nature, but most of all, his kind, caring, and genial nature that put people at ease in his presence. We always said we’d see you soon. Soon became later, and later became someday. Had we known when we last saw you that it would be our last chance to speak with you, to learn from you, and to be inspired in your presence, we would have stood longer.

We might have stood forever.


“Oh I did my footnotes so well
nobody knows where I come from
I’ve walked these hallways
with them a long time now
and still they don’t see
the earth gives eyes
injustice gives rage
now I’m standing here
prehistoric and all
pulling out their fenceposts of civilization
one by one
calling names in Cree
bringing down their mooneow hills
in English too
this is home now.”

from Emma LaRocque, “A Long Way From Home”

Thank-you, Pius, for walking the hallways, giving sight to earth and salve to injustice, for pulling out the fenceposts, for calling names, and for bringing down mooniyaw hills.


– Dr. Jennifer Adese, University of Toronto

Gone too soon!

Our condolences to Pius’ family and the community at Carleton.

Gone too soon!

– Dr. Jude Fokwang, Regis University


Just so unbelievable, so terribly sad. My deepest condolences to his family who have suffered such a terrible, devastating loss.

– Dr. Susanne Klausen, Carleton University/University of Johannesburg

Keep inspiring mentor

It was with a great sense of sorrow that we received the news of your death on the 8th March, 2019 together with others.

It broke my heart the most because I had read your last post on your Facebook wall not knowing that it would be the last I would read from you. I frequent your wall since your demise but those beautiful pieces can’t be found. In all honesty, lots of people mourn your death from far and near.

The world, Africa, Nigeria and Kogi state has lost a genius in Prof. Pius. For Nigerians of all tribes and religion to mourn you means that you were indeed a great man. You brought light to illuminate the dark part of this country where the elites have bastardized institutions of learning and made Lots of young Nigerians unreasonable. You were a mentor to many and am one of your mentes. It’s unfortunate that I never met you, but you have inspired me in many ways. I am glad to have followed you for some years.

You so loved your wife, children and mother. I truly don’t know how they are feeling at the moment. However, they should be strengthened by the life you lived. You lived for the people and you have inspired many. I am sure that you are in the right place because you lived for others. May God bless your soul and may your life be an inspiration to your family, some of us and the rest of humanity. Rest on Prof!

– Princewill Ifeanyi Ozioko

Shine through generations, Pius

May the light of Pius shine on in his works from generation to generation. May his Noble works for Africa continue to contribute to building a better Africa, a better World.

May his soul rest in peace and blessings to his family.


– Mary Ssonko Nabacwa


Awful news. Do hope Pius’ family OK, even if no-one can bring him back,alas. Trust Carleton & CAAS in Montreal will have an appropriate memorial. Irreplaceable,

– Timothy Shaw

Prof Pius Adesanmi: A Nationbuilder

Life is a hyphen between 2 dates.

The time of birth and the time of death.

You lived between 1972-2019. You came, you saw and you made a significant difference in building the life of individuals who inturn make up the nation. You were many things to many people.

For me and my team, you epitomised an uncommon Nationbuilder. You stirred up conversations upon conversations towards making the country of your birth a desirable nation to live in.

Your memory is a blessing to Africa as a whole. May your wife and family be comforted beyond words as we grieve the passing of an uncommon man who walked in our time but impacted nations during and after his time on earth.

– Chima Okorie

Witty, brilliant, dedicated

He truly was a wonderful man to know.  So witty, brilliant, and dedicated.  He touched many lives.

Equally, as the list comes out, I hope none of us will have another close loss.  It could have been any of us.  Please hug your loved ones – be it in person or virtually – very tightly.

– Victoria Schorr, Open AIR


Ma douleur à la Douleur,
Mon cri aux Cris,
Mon regret aux Regrets,
devant ce Départ imprévu.

Merci, Adesanmi, d’avoir été avec nous!

– Georges B. Nlénd, Université Laval

CJAS mourns the loss of one of our most valuable supporters and allies

Dear fellow members of the Canadian African Studies community

On behalf of the editors of Canadian Journal of African Studies, I write to express our grief and sorrow at this tragic news. The tributes that have been pouring in, here and on social media, speak to the Pius’s enormous and multi-faceted contributions. Our sincerest condolences to all who knew and worked with him, and especially to those at Carleton.

With sympathy,

– Belinda Dodson, PhD, University of Western Ontario, Coordinating Editor, Canadian Journal of African Studies

As the Phoenix to its ash, may your words now be

You were not Elijah
I would fain ask for thee the fiery chariot ride home
And though you were no Enoch, the clouds over Africa now say: you are not. For God took you.

Of Whose Hand your last hours,
As one possessed by the soul of the Psalmist, testified: “Your hand shall lead me” And reaching forth, The AMEN did.
Plucked the brightest of stars in the firmaments.
And now, Our firmaments More tenebrous to behold!

Lit by borrowed lights we knew not the kindling thereof
Yet, we were willing to rejoice in yours for many seasons
For many, many seasons
Till the light you shone with much vigor, suddenly smothered
Till the borrowed light recalled
By Him whose benevolence bestowed it

The benevolence of Him
Whose testimony you affirmed: “Your hand shall lead me”
The Benevolence of Him, Whose Hand
Now holds you firmly.
In permanence.
As you presciently testified: “Your right hand shall hold me”

Even so now,
The smoldering flax of the fire you bore
And held high for many to see their way,
The smoldering flax of you
You whose words bore embers within its letters This smoldering flax of your 🔥 ‘Tis enough to burn the clouds!

So Blaze!
Pius, son of Adesanmi blaze
Blaze the alley of your passing as you ascend
And In your ascent may e’en the clouds burn!
In your ascent
To Him, of whose hand you testified Who now holds you in permanence.
For eternity.

In your ascent, blaze
Till the clouds in your path become cinders
And from the ashes;
May your words rise anew As the Phoenix from its ash, rises again,
May your words undying be

And may our aching hearts again;
Rejoice in the brightness of the afterglow
Of the light, you so beautifully,
So selflessly shone
As you trudged through
This wilderness of time
On your way home to the Eternal

Fare thee well.

– OPA 03:11:2019

– Oladimeji Arewa

Too deep a sleep

Dear Prof, from your posts on Facebook you taught me many things. You taught me how not to have mediocre-expectations from Nigerian government officials who carry out their duties. Your wall was a classroom for me and countless others. You taught us how to live but you never taught us how to live without you. I never met you in person but you had an immense impact on my life.
When the news of your involvement in the crash came up on twitter, I ran to your Facebook page hoping to see your posts assuring us of your being safe but for the first time in a long time, I was heartbroken. I have stared at your pictures repeatedly and I still cannot bring myself to accept your untimely departure.

If an outsider like me is this grieved, I can only imagine what your wife, Tise and Mama Adesanmi will be going through. We are however consoled by your last post which indicated you were headed for the bossom of your LORD and Saviour. Prof Pius Adebola Adesanmi, o digbere, o di arinako, o di oju ala.

– Olatunji Ayomide

Odigba Ose

I condole with the family and friends of Professor Adesanmi. He was a light from whom so many other lights were kindled and given the opportunity to illumine their own little corner. He was also an exuberant river bringing life to all in its path and from whom several tributaries originated.

We will miss this most redoubtable man, but in the days to come, the lights he kindled and the tributaries which owe their origin to him will testify of the munificence of this great man.

B’onirefe o ba singba mo, eyi t’o ti sin sile ko le parun.

O d’arinako, o d’oju ala.

– Bola Fasanya, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Nigeria

The good leave young!

I didn’t see this coming either did I wish it this soon. You were a man who his interest in pro governance is unrivalled. I read so many literatures from you both offline and online. I will say that the world lost this time. If we can pay money for you to come back, I will surely empty my bank to have you here with us. Words have failed me and I’m not surprised because it was least expected at this time. You were a good man. Our online and offline community have confirmed your towering personality at a young age.

The Good Die Young!

Rest on, Prof!
The world will miss you!
Canada will miss you!
Carleton will miss you!
IAS will miss you!
Nigeria will miss you!
Isanlu will miss you!
Mama will miss you!
Rise will miss you!

Prof. Pius Adesanmi, I will surely miss you!
Good Night!


– Ekene Igwe

Pius Adesanmi: Man of all worlds

Who is Pius Adesanmi?

He was a Nigerian professor in Canada but identified with all aspects of Nigerian life, African identity and social existence in his writings and speeches, which spanned the length and breadth of cyberspace, books, academic articles and public appearances on various continents, along with being a gregarious person who interacted affably with many in the West and Africa.

His Facebook wall had the nation gathering capacity of Fela’s shrine, the Nigerian musician who was both iconic entertainer and gadfly of tyrannical governments and corrupt Nigerians.

– Oluwatoyin Adepoju, Compcros: Comparative Cognitive Processes and Systems

Your Life remains a lesson

Between 2012 and 2019… I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been on Youtube and other social media platforms just to dig out your works. And each time, I always have a fresh idea, information, and inspiration to part with. The uniqueness of your delivery creates a bond that I still find difficult to explain. I always look forward to a new edition of “The Platform” because of Pius Adesanmi, Segun Adeniyi, and Prof. Osinbajo. Painfully, the top on the list is gone! My wife knows how much I cherish you and your works, and the tone of her voice, when breaking the news of your involvement in the crash to me, remains on replay in my head – still thinking it would turn to fake news or a miracle would follow! Countless time I have asked WHY! Countless time I have got no answer!

Prof. Pius Adesanmi, Your Life remains a lesson – Even your death has taught me another lesson on humanity.

– Abiodun Stephen

Kind. Funny. Human.

I met Prof. Adesanmi when he was in Kenya last year. His Canadian students spoke so highly of him and they shared a human relationship. I soon realized that he moved through the world in kindness, made people laugh and in all his teaching, humanity was at the center.

I loved his class especially because he got really excited when he was teaching. He sprinkled his lectures with jokes that he would laugh at with the students. He created a space of co-creation in learning.

He said that students would be the people to transfer activism to other spaces. I learnt a lot of deeply profound and important things in our brief interaction. He made everything seem possible and doable.

His presence was full of the possibility of the impossible.

In many ways, the Professor is alive.

– Kedolwa Waziri, Daystar University, Nairobi Kenya

Thank you

Words still fail me.

I think of how I owe you gratitude for your part in building an institute that I call home. I think of how broken the hearts are now of those who mean the world to me. I think of how quiet the hall of the institute is now without your booming laughter.

All I can think of saying is thank you. You are loved. You are sorely missed. You live on.

– Emily Hersey, Carleton University/University of the Witwatersrand

An African giant went home in Africa

Prof Pius is a Nigerian that understood the political landscape and traditions of Nigeria – from the north to the south and from the east to the west. Not all Nigerians can confidently claim to know and comprehend the socio-economic and socio-political landscape of Nigeria. Again, He understood Africa from the literary world of colonialism, post-colonialism, Anglo, Franco, Dutch, Latino & Arab influence. He is sound to the core when it comes to Africa and world literature. He constantly tried to redefine Africa by looking across different spectrum of human civilizations. He believed in a better world and most importantly a better Africa. His last comment on his social media while on a trip to Africa said it all – is like he knew his creator will call him home while on an African soil. He is a legend of our present time and even though he is gone. His memory will still remain with us. “Sun re o – rest in peace.”

– Taiwo T Adetiloye, Memorial University, Newfoundland, Alumna

Fare thee well Professor Pius Adesanmi

I never met or knew you personally but I encountered you through your articles, tweets, and Facebook posts. I always looked forward to them. This pain is heartfelt and I’m still hoping somewhere somehow you would come out and tell us this was all a prank.

You will be sorely missed and I pray God grants your friends and family especially your wife and daughter the fortitude to bear this great loss.

I hope when you “crost the bar”, you saw your “Pilot face to face.”

– Amaka Ukwuegbu

Go on, General!

We have mourned. We are still mourning your irreplaceable life. We have lost a shining light that crept in the middle of the night to dim our shine. Our hearts are broken, heavily and our thoughts, all in disarray. Why Prof? Why leave us when you still have much unfinished business. I have been torn apart since your passing. I have tried to pay a deserving tribute to you and your legacy but each time words fail me as I well up in tears for a man I have never met but who through his works, was larger than life. Prof Adesanmi, you came, you lived and you conquered. It’s not in the number of years we live, but the indelible footprints we leave on the sands of time. You lived a very good life. My heart breaks so heavily thinking about the family you left behind, more so, your daughter Tise, that you were a doting father too. Oh God! I pray that you lighten the burden of the mom and Mama Adesanmi. The gravity of your loss is indeed colossal. Go on General. You have completed your task. May God give us all the strength to pull through your loss. Go on General, you lived well and may God repose your beautiful kind soul.

– Olumide Familusi

You lit up all our lives

Dear Prof. Pius Adesanmi,

I have tried really hard to understand this, but your passing will never make sense to me. You had so much more to give! So much more! Heck, you were even on the African Union ECOSOCC committee whose mandate includes promotion of human rights, the rule of law, good governance, democratic principles, gender equality and child rights. Sadly, it was in carrying out this principal duty for Africa that you met your demise.

In 2015, I sat in a meeting with your publisher where he spoke reverently of you. I could barely wait to read up on you afterwards and I was intrigued. In my usual detached manner, I was content with following you quietly and consuming with gusto your thoughts and opinions, especially on this space. Your close friends have written of how much of an amazing person you were and how you touched their lives with your effortless kindness, knowledge and humour. I can assure you, sir, that you lit up all our lives with your greatness.. with the simple yet riveting way you passed on knowledge… even those of us who adored you from a distance.

You will be greatly missed, sir. You left a gaping hole in Africa, in Canada and even in the world at large. When you spoke, heads of government listened. You were noteworthy for shaking political tables and for speaking your truth. You will be greatly missed…

My thoughts are with your loved ones as I pray they find the strength to bear this impossible loss.

May your soul, and those of all who perished in the ill-fated Ethiopian flight, rest in peace.

Adieu, Sir.

– Rafiu Adeoye, University of Ibadan/ University of Maryland


Rest in Peace, Pius! Allah knows best.

– Blessing Mary Ocheido, Kubwa General Hospital


I discovered your Facebook wall in 2015. Since then, I frequently visit to read your thoughts on capacity building and national development.

I’m still wishing it’s a dream…can’t believe I’ll never read your posts again. I’m hoping I’ll wake up from this and realize it’s a hoax…

Goodbye Prof. Pius Adesanmi

– Eseoghene Ejidje


Rest in Peace, Pius! Allah knows best.

– Rafiu Adeoye, University of Ibadan/ University of Maryland

Long live our beloved teacher

Professor Pius Adesanmi was that individual that brightened up the Institute of African studies. Pius cared deeply for his students and mentored a lot of us in the African Studies Student Undergraduate Association. Pius, as we call him, was not a professor to us he was a teacher. A teacher who loved his students and wanted the best for us all. Pius was brilliant, funny, quirky, passionate, he loved taking photos and his office was open to us all. Pius cared about Africa, he questioned the Western narrative about Africa. He utilized literature to tell us that Africa does not have a single story and he did so successfully. Pius told us to always write truth to power and speak it. It was one of the ways he taught us how to fight against the colonial library. It was one of the ways he taught us to speak against the devastation in Africa. He taught us about the African post-colonial condition. He taught about poetry about the ABIKU. Pius was powerful, yet soft and knew how to control a crowd of young scholars.

We love him deeply and he will be missed. We miss me. This still feels surreal.

We the African studies students you taught and mentored will continue to carry on your legacy. We are your legacy.

Good Night Pius, Rest In Peace Prof Pius Adesanmi. (Died March 2019).

Till we meet again our beloved professor, Heaven has gotten a new angel ❤️


Wanderer child. It is the same child who dies and returns again and again to plague the mother.
-Yoruba belief

In vain your bangles cast
Charmed circles at my feet
I am Abiku, calling for the first
And repeated time.

Must I weep for goats and cowries
For palm oil and sprinkled ask?
Yams do not sprout amulets
To earth Abiku’s limbs.

So when the snail is burnt in his shell,
Whet the heated fragment, brand me
Deeply on the breast – you must know him
When Abiku calls again.

I am the squirrel teeth, cracked
The riddle of the palm; remember
This, and dig me deeper still into
The god’s swollen foot.

Once and the repeated time, ageless
Though I puke, and when you pour
Libations, each finger points me near
The way I came, where

The ground is wet with mourning
White dew suckles flesh-birds
Evening befriends the spider, trapping
Flies in wine-froth;

Night, and Abiku sucks the oil
From lamps. Mothers! I’ll be the
Suppliant snake coiled on the doorstep
Yours the killing cry.

The ripest fruit was saddest
Where I crept, the warmth was cloying.
In silence of webs, Abiku moans, shaping
Mounds from the yolk.

Written by Wole Soyinka

– Institute of African Studies Student Association – IASSA, Carleton University

Your memory will live on…

We met once at an event organised by the French Embassy in Lagos to celebrate their Independence day. It was nice to meet physically with the genius that wrote most of your write ups that i had read. This is tragic. But i guess God has called you for a greater assignment. Rest in peace, and may God comfort your family. Amen

– Tosin Bakare, President, Alliance Francais Lagos

Like chewing stones

Dear Professor Pius, your exit was so difficult to accept… Like it is difficult to chew stones, so was your death difficult to accept.

You touched the lives of so many lads like me. You were an example of a role model in society, knowing how hard it is to get a good and sound one nowadays.

I was close to you, but you were closer, with your writings and words.

Thank you for pouring out your heart and talents. Till we meet again, continue to rest in peace Pius.

– Oluseye Richard

Didactic parable

Amongst others, thank you for “The Parable of The Showerhead” according to Professor Adesanmi. For me, it is right up there with the other famous parables according to the Gospel of Luke, Matthew, Mark and John. Better still, it spoke DIRECTLY to me in my clime.

– Michael Onwukwe

I feel your loss

I did not know your colleague but recognize that the loss of your valued faculty member is devastating in many ways. My he rest in peace and may his work live on through his students and colleagues.

– Barbara Quesnel, Queen’s University, School of Graduate Studies

La perte d’un complice dans notre effort de renforcer les relations entre le Canada et l’Afrique

The Africa Study Group mourns the tragic death of our friend and close collaborator Pius Adesamni, Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University, in the Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10. Our sincere and deepest condolences go to his wife, daughter and family, to his colleagues at the Institute of African Studies and at Carleton, as well as to the IAS and Carleton as institutions, as well as to the families and friends of all the other 17 Canadian victims and to those of the other passengers and crew.

Le Groupe de Réflexion sur l’Afrique pleure le décès de notre ami et proche collaborateur, Pius Adesamni, Directeur de l’Institut des Études africaines à l’Université Carleton, mort tragiquement dans l’écrasement du vol d’Ethiopian Airlines le 10 mars. Nos plus sincères et profondes condoléances à son épouse, à sa fille et sa famille, à ses collègues de l’Institut des Études africaines et de l’Université Carleton, ainsi qu’aux institutions elles-mêmes. Nous transmettons également nos condoléances aux familles et amis des 17 autres victimes canadiennes, et de ceux de tous les autres passagers et de l’équipage.

– Louise Ouimet, Africa Study Group

Pius Adesanmi voice of the masses

I came across Pius Adesanmi on the internet circa 2010, He writes to correct the wrongs of the Nigerian society in a satirical manner. However, I decided to dig more into his life history I discovered we are both alumnus of the same university in Nigeria. Pius wrote against the Nigerian government, corruption and why Nigeria deserves better dividends of democracy, he will forever be remembered.

– Dare Oladipo

A tribute from the Council of the African Studies Association United Kingdom

It was with great sadness that we learned the news of the death of Prof Pius Adesanmi in the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy this weekend.

I am writing to express our condolences to his colleagues at the Institute of African Studies and at the University as a whole. We remember his scholarship and his role as teacher and mentor with great affection and mourn the loss of so many lives.

Please convey our heartfelt condolences to Prof Adesanmi’s colleagues and to his family.

With sincere sympathy,

– Ambreena Manji, African Studies Association UK President, on behalf of Council

Prof. Pius Adesanmi – A public educator par excellence

Some years back I stumbled on a rejoinder to one of Prof’s articles in Sahara Reporters and since then I have been a mentee and ardent follower of Prof. Pius Adesanmi.

Through learning without borders, I have learnt so much from him. He taught me civics, integrity, and to always stand for what is right. He practically widened my knowledge of humanity – human rights and a whole lot of human dignity.

I mostly spent my Facebook time learning at his knowledge based timeline. He would be greatly missed. My heart goes out to his aged mother, wife and very young daughter – ‘Tise.
May his soul be reposed.

– Olayiwola Aanuoluwa

A down to earth person

I remember vividly the day Blair Rutherford told me he was leaving office as the director of IAS. I felt very sad. My initial thought was “but who could our new director be? Would he be as nice as Blair?” But before I could make known my thought, Blair was quick to add “but you will be getting a new director, he is an African and from Nigeria. He is by the name “Pius,” and he is a very nice man. You will like him”. I nodded in disbelief and began asking myself “Can this man really be like Blair?” Little did I know that Pius was coming to be more than I anticipated. He, in fact, became my very good lecturer and a friend. The first day that I saw him, I liked him. We worked together on many occasions and I learnt a lot from him. Pius would always give you the uttermost respect no matter who you are. He never looked at his position, qualifications, awards and experiences to downgrade any person’s contributions, efforts and hard work. Ask for a reference letter or a letter of recommendation from Prof Adesanmi — he will write it for you no matter where he is. I still remember the reference you wrote for me from your village. Your major problem was how you would scan it and then email it afterwards. It was difficult but you improvised for me. We loved you, prof. God grant you eternal rest.

– Michael Anim, Former Grad Student ( Institute of African Studies), Carleton University

Goodnight, Prof.

I never met Prof. I just ran into one of his Facebook posts as shared by a friend who is close to him and I was immediately taken by his forthrightness and depth. I followed him since then. That was in 2017. He wrote about so many things but what struck me about all he wrote was this- he wrote with heart. He wrote with an urgency. He wrote like a man who was purging his emotions onto a device, a man who didn’t want to leave the stage without emptying all he had inside.

He loved through his writings. He lived through them. He chastised through them. He called forth things that weren’t as though they were, still through his writings. And in all this, I felt a deep kinship with this man who lived so far away and didn’t even know I existed. That was the kind of effect Prof had on a lot of people.

I’ve been in a daze since Sunday. We weren’t even close and I’m this affected. But, I’m happy he lived and that his words helped form my thoughts on contemporary issues in my homeland, Nigeria. His words have birthed something in me and I’m happy for it.

I join my compatriots, his family and the rest of the world to mourn you, Prof. Death may have robbed us of your voice and physical presence, but you are a force of nature that won’t go away soon. We share the same dream; a dream of a time when our homeland will rise to live out its true potential in the comity of nations. A time when we will enshrine hard work and excellence in all we do. A time when all of us will live together in peace and unity. This was your dream. It’s now mine.

And as we mourn your passing, we pray God to envelop your grieving family IN His love and comfort. May He hold Tishe’s hand through this. May He wipe Mama’s tears and may he give your wife every strength to go through this mire of pain.

Rest well, Prof. To live in our hearts, our memories and your writings is to live forever. May we never let you down.

– Chidimma Ezenduka-Ezike

A great man

I once had an encounter to hear you speak. It was in Nigeria, on Oct 1st, 2015, when you spoke about how great nations including Canada dislike mediocrity. You spoke in depth about success and diligence, and those words prepared me towards switching location. Today, I am benefiting from that speech you gave the last time. You may be gone, but your legacy lives on. Such an eloquent man. I pray the good Lord to grant your wife, and your lovely kid (mostly your daughter that your share her every moment on Facebook – How much she ask if Africa was a country???) the fortitude to bear this loss. A rare gem we lost.

Keep resting in the bosom of the Lord… Till we meet again.


– Oludotun Adeoye, University of Regina


The ancestors certainly wanted the best among us and we cannot question them. So, go well Pius Adesanmi. May your lights continue to illuminate the minds of millions you inspired. May God give your immediate family the strength to navigate this very difficult period. Amen!

– Saka Jimoh Momoh, WSU, South Africa

A great impacter

I came across Prof. Pius via the Internet, from then, I have really loved the kind of person he is and his passion. I learned a lot from him and that shaped my reasoning and lifestyle.

He is a man full of life and will greatly be missed by many. Continue to rest on dear Prof.

– Michael Idoko

Your life was short but impactful!

I still have not been able to come to terms with the fact that you are gone. The impact you made in the little time you spent on this planet will forever be felt. You were such a great inspiration to many of us. Your passion for Nigeria and the rest of Africa was overwhelming. You really left your footprint on the sand of time and your absence will be greatly felt. My thoughts are with your family and loved ones. Continue to rest in peace dear big brother!

– Joel Akinwumi

Pius Adesanmi voice of the masses

I came across Pius Adesanmi on the internet circa 2010, He writes to correct the wrongs of the Nigerian society in a satirical manner. However, I decided to dig more into his life history I discovered we are both alumnus of the same university in Nigeria. Pius wrote against the Nigerian government, corruption and why Nigeria deserves better dividends of democracy, he will forever be remembered.

– Dare Oladipo

Our Prof. lives on

Sad as it may, but am left with no other options but to thank God for a life well spent.

You demise teaches me to make a judicious use of the time on Earth, create knowledgeable impact on the people around.

Even though you are no more, your thoughts and impacts will remain steadfastly in our hearts and minds.

Adieu Prof.

– Oluyemi Ayodele, Q&Q controls

Gone in glory

Some people you read here and it so much feels like you’ve met in person.

All of your writings posted struck a chord even a one-liner would hit any sensible person.

I remembered your near miss with life barely 8 months ago, for a night owl like me, your posts and some other people I hold high in esteem on this virtual space are what keeps me company.

I missed that 4 months of hiatus both on Facebook and Twitter.

Now, it will be missed forever.

From your column in Tribune to your weather updates.

Your football gist to your “rapala” music mix.

What about your political satires to your daughter’s chronicles and then the way you infuse those Yoruba hymns that reminds me of my grandmother.

Not forgetting the passion you have for the Nigerian students, how you push, encourage both undergraduate and postgraduate students through your scholarly updates especially in your teachings around the world.

I was certain a similar blockbuster to “Naija No Dey Carry Last” will be in the works with all the happenings in motherland but the uncertainty of this outweighs the certainty of your literary works now as you’ve given us your all with your posts and died empty but not without imparting lives.

This is one void that is too big to fill…

You celebrated your birthday some days ago and we were all thankful for your cheating death barely 8 months ago. Appreciating your friends for a year (2019) that you thought you wouldn’t see but still the unannounced debt we all have to pay was waiting not too far in the distance.

Death didn’t take you away at the back side of a car accident but a 4 months old Plane took you in a blaze of glory leaving us with so many questions.

Who will write and post the truth in the “rawest” form like you do? I hope someone compiles all your posts into an everlasting legacy for generations yet unborn to read.

How will your little “yoyoba” pride learn how to hiss in her homeland?

My heart goes out to Mama and your foremost Miss Nigeria Aunt. Oh! Your wife, though invincible on this space, your love to her was visible and you proved it as one of the few good men would. I hope this love and your memories sustain her.

And your friends… the ones you scold, the ones you respect, the ones you make fun of and everyone that has come in contact with you on this virtual space or personally will surely miss you.

One question that keeps staring me in the face is from your last post. Did you know?

Sometimes, people are aware when the end is near but might not just be conscious of it.
Your last post to your friends and followers “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 – Psalm 139:9-10”

I believe you were held by His hand all through it all in that blaze of glory.

Fare thee well Pius Adebola Adesanmi, I never met you in person but your writings gives me hope and encourages me never to give up.

Rest in peace Professor.

– Damilola Grillo

Prof Adesanmi’s transition

Prof lived and transitioned in the service of Africa and indeed the black race. It is really going to be a challenge to find someone to fill the vacuum his passing has created.

I have never felt the passing of anyone I did know personally like this. On another note, I think I know him personally. Through his writings, he brought us into the world of his public intellection, Papa and Mama Adesanmi, his wife and young ‘Tise. I shudder to think about what his surviving relatives are going through now.

We take solace in the belief that Prof Adesanmi did not die, he has only transcended this ephemeral space to be with our ancestors. He is there looking after us all in continuance of his service at a higher pedestal.

Eulogies from far and wide and across social media and the body of work he has left with us is proof that his imprint will forever be on the sands of time.

Continue to dwell in the space of our ancestors Adebola- you are in a better place now.
May Mama Adesanmi, your wife and young ‘Tise have the fortitude to bear your transition.

– Habeeb Abass

What a great loss

Dr Adesanmi was the first person I reached out to before resuming Carleton University. He made me feel so proud to be Nigerian, considering the prejudices and other challenges that surround our people both in and out of our continent. A true son of Africa, a true Canadian dream to emulate. I pray for comfort for those you left behind. May your soul rest in peace, Amen.

– Nancy Obazee, Carleton University

The great but humble one

Words will fail me to express the pain and shock inside me ever since I learnt of the unfortunate incident. Prof, I never met you in person but your writings and speeches live inside me. Infact, I’m proud to say that intellectually, you made me all I am today by your numerous groundbreaking writings and speeches.

Rest in peace Prof. We love you but God loves you best. Adieu.

– Joseph Kalu, NDF

Farewell to an irreplaceable patriot

I never met Pius but he contributed immeasurably to my intellectual growth. He is a patriot whose influence was felt throughout the world. A great contributed to national discuss whose would be sorely missed.

– Kola Adesegha, Ministry of Education, District V, Lagos State

Pius Adesanmi: a selfless encounter

Early morning in Saskatoon on Sunday, I opened my eyes, after a quick prayer for the families of everyone who had died in a plane crash I had read about online, to watch a soccer match Professor Pius Adesanmi would have been watching, while also revising a draft he had enthused about in his usual boisterous and encouraging manner. And then somebody called from Nigeria: “James, I have bad news for you.” He had barely finished his statement when I screamed. My daughter, startled and scared, responded to my cry by saying repeatedly: “baba, it’s alright.” That broke me. It was not alright. I embraced her and cried on her small shoulders, thinking about Tise and her mum—directly impacted by a death that has come too soon; thinking about the giant shoulders many in the African studies scholarly community can no longer stand on.

Such a fine and selfless mentor. After surviving a car crash in which he was the lone survivor in Nigeria, Pius chose to attend my doctoral defense as external examiner, against medical instructions not to travel. We had exchanged several emails and phone calls, but that occasion in the summer of 2018 was the first time we would meet in person. I did not know then it would be the last. From his hotel room to a restaurant in the downtown area of Saskatoon, he kept looking out for the interests of those of us he shared space with. He not only took selfies with us, but he also got children on his lap to play with them. I saw in that visit the love for the daughter he wrote so much about extended to two little girls with us at dinner.

While there are several books, newspaper columns, and social media posts that remain insightful records of his profound intellectual stature, I will forever cherish the examination report on my dissertation he had submitted to my examining committee. And weren’t the members of my committee impressed with Pius’s laughter, ebullience, and deep insights on the topic of my dissertation—Nigerian social media, a terrain largely pervaded by the muse and spirit of a certain Ottawa professor who endlessly spoke truth to power in Africa? When Pius spoke during the exam, everyone did not listen to him because of his role as an external examiner; we all did because he had so much to say and he articulated these with dignity, hilarity, and respect for difference. At a point during the defense, he even rebuked me for a needless display of intellectual modesty, urging me to assert the merit of my work. My reticence was informed by my appreciation of the huge place Pius occupied in what I wrote about, but he would have none of it.

While at all of these, Pius’s leg, still healing from the wounds sustained in the road accident, was a source of clear discomfort, but he remained positive and was happy to midwife an important academic rite of passage. I will forever be grateful for that selfless encounter. He did not have to come to Saskatoon, but he chose to. And long after most external examiners have bowed out of the defense process, he was still mentoring me and many others through various channels, including the Facebook group, The African Doctoral Lounge which he created for advising and mentoring a young demographic of African scholars around the world.

It is rare to find a Nigerian netizen at home or in the diaspora who has not encountered Pius Adesanmi’s selfless engagement with the Nigerian state and the country’s ruling elite. His presence on social media and his writing made him an enemy of the state, but he cared not for himself, daily producing satirical critiques that unsettled Abuja on numerous occasions. Even when targeted by the Nigerian state, as it became evident in the days following the accident, Pius remained dogged in his commitment to using social media as a platform for disseminating prized thoughts on civics and good governance.

I still cannot possibly describe the devastating realization that Pius Adesanmi has indeed gone into the night. He and I still spoke on phone last week, exchanging a couple of emails in which he guided me on a major aspect of the academic job market in North America. Besides, I am expecting a notification about a postdoc application this week. If successful, I should have been working with Pius Adesanmi at Carleton’s IAS. I had looked forward eagerly to a much closer mentorship space with a selfless and lively scholar whose goal was the intentional cultivation of the agency of younger voices. He may have entered the void of unending silence, yet his words, ideas, and perspectives will continue to ring loud and clear in our minds, and in the national consciousness of a continent he loved and served till death. For that, we are grateful, even as our thoughts and prayers are focused on his wife and daughters.

– James Yeku, University of Saskatchewan

And he left like a whisper in the night

Prof Pius, you were a friend, teacher and confidant. Our meeting, as with most young Nigerians was on the Facebook community. You endeared us all, especially myself to your writings, love, political banters and immense teachings. You educated me thoroughly with your incisive and illuminating posts, and seminars.

You were the mentor I never had and you helped me along the journey of life. Your death is an excruciating pain to me. No more posts from you, no more schooling on football clubs, and taunts with your friends.

You shall surely be missed Egbon(as you were fondly called on Facebook). Goodnight and Rest in Power.

– Francis Maduekwe

Professor Pius Adesanmi: vintage mentor and motivator

In October 2017, the following dialogue ensued on the phone, after the usual exchange of pleasantries, and it still re-echoes, painfully:

Prof. Pius Adesanmi: […] Segun, let’s come to serious business jare. How far with your dissertation? Nibo lo ba de?

Me: E seun sir, I am now on chapter 3 of 5. My plan is to get the entire work submitted latest by next summer (July 2018).

Prof. Pius Adesanmi: Kin lo mean, Segun? That window is too wide now! If you are on chapter 3 of 5, nothing stops you from submitting the complete draft to your committee members between December [2017] and January [2018]. Then you will leave them to do the back and forth process for corrections and revisions, so that by that summer 2018, you will do the defense. Woo, je ka see beyen ni o […]

And that was it! Prof’s challenge got me fired up such that Christmas 2017 was celebrated with me literally glued to the laptop. New year celebration too. And by 21 January 2018, the complete draft of my PhD dissertation was submitted. Then began the back and forth process for corrections, revisions and finally, external examination. And just as Prof. Pius Adesanmi ‘prophesied’, by summer 2018 (22 August precisely) the dissertation was successfully defended. When Prof called me the following day even as he was still recuperating from his auto crash injuries, he screamed: “Doctor Afolabi! Doctor Afolabi! Doctor Afolabi! E melo ni mo pe e? O ti ri bee niyen! […]” Those words still re-echo, painfully!

With that singular act of motivation (and of course, many more prior to the defence and thereafter) Prof. Adesanmi earned himself the following special mention on the acknowledgement page of my PhD thesis:
« … J’éprouve une immense gratitude envers tous mes mentors académiques et professionnels, amis, collègues et connaissances au Nigéria, au Canada et ailleurs, qui ont été d’une manière ou d’une autre, une grande source d’inspiration, de motivation, d’encouragement et de soutien tout au long de cette rigoureuse, mais combien belle aventure. Le professeur Pius Adesanmi, directeur de l’Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, m’a défié (durant une conversation téléphonique en octobre 2017) de ne pas attendre l’été 2018 que j’avais prévu pour soumettre la première version complète de cette thèse; je lui suis très redevable de voir cela se réaliser bien avant … » (p. xviii)

And here ends my grief for you, sir. No more grief, but celebration of the superlative life you lived, of the numerous lives you touched, including mine.

Rest well but sleep not, vintage mentor and motivator!

– Segun Afolabi, Université Laval, Québec

Book of condolences for Prof. Adesanmi in The Institue of African Studies at Carleton University.

A great loss to Carleton

From West Africa and dies in East Africa.
From Nigeria and teaches in Canada.
An English Professor and director of African Studies.
Certainly an unusual man.
Condolences to his family and his colleagues.
A great loss to Carleton.

– Rasheed Adebiyi, Carleton University, Institute of African Studies

A dim to the rising African light

Professor Pius Adesanmi, you’re a tree full of inspiration and worthy of emulation. Your satirical way of passing vital information is second to none thereby making your undiluted message sink to the streets where it is ingested without vetting because of its unshakable originality. your vast knowledge in African studies has given the young African child that there’s still hope for the land Africa and that extinction of local dialect won’t fade out-not anytime soon. As you’ve gone to a place beyond, I have the hope that you’re not dead but only had a “dim to your rising light” light we can still see from sub-Saharan Africa.
Rest in peace prof.

– Asekun Ekundayo

You are still here

You are still here
In everything you have said, written and done
However hard, we will behold them over and over again each day
Prof., it was rather too soon
Rest on, in the power of words and in our hearts.

– Rachael Ogunmuyiwa, University of Ibadan

National loss

Nigeria just loss one of her best brains! Everyone will leave someday but prof, you left too too early. Though it happened at a time we least expected, we won’t shed tears anymore but smile because you have lived and will continue to live… Through your words, your works and in our heart. Rest on Oga Pius!

– Ajibulu Olusegun Justice

A Dirge for Pius

If I go when it is my time to leave, would I have done enough to write my name on the sands of time?

If I go when it is my time to leave, would I have done enough to secure my place in the bliss of the hereafter?

If I exit when it is my time to leave, would I have completed the towers of earthly development I am sent to build?

For every soul has its own calling. I know mine. I am not sure of yours.

But whatever it is your calling is, do urgently and diligently.
For no one knows the tick of the minute.

Every soul shall taste death!

It is the highest calling we all must bid.

It was your time to go home, Pius.

The death you escaped on land, you met in the air!

Rest now, Prof.

– Rasheed Adebiyi, Fountain University, Osogbo, Nigeria

Hamba Kahle, dear Pius

Pius, my brother, my friend, my comrade. How could they take you away so cruelly! It was against the corporatist ilk that you so courageously, humorously, and poetically acted. What things you achieved in that short lifetime. They have taken your body, but your spirit, the sounds of your laughter, the insightful reflections in your writings, the incredible achievements at the Institute of African Studies, and the admiration of so many, students, faculty, friends and comrades cannot be taken away. You are remembered by so many across Africa and beyond. We are the poorer for having lost a true son of Africa. Hamba Kahle, dear Pius.

– Firoze Manji, Institute of African Studies / Daraja Press

Adesanmi the Story Teller

In 2015, I found myself disagreeing with most of Pius Adesanmi’s writing when it came to the trajectory of Nigeria Politics and the way forward. Still, I read it… for two reasons:

1. He wrote so well I couldn’t ignore such beauty.
2. His Heart was in the right place.

That is the Pius Adesanmi I have come to know – an academic who not only had his way with words, but was also thoughtful about his beloved Nation, Africa.

We Nigerians, we will continue to claim him. He’s ours. But every Nigerian that has come to know and love Adesanmi will tell you that while he may be from us, he is not truly ours. He belongs to Africa. He dedicated his life to Africa, the betterment of it; and the Continent which he holds dear finally took him from us.

His death…. sigh.

Adesanmi was an Academic. An enigma. And a beautiful human being. He was loved. He is loved. And he will continue to be loved.

God rest his soul. Amen.

– Rotimi Omorogbe

Professor Pius Adesanmi. Photo by June Creighton Payne

A rare gem

The measure of a man, is not about how long he lived, but the impact he had on his fellow beings.
I am an avid reader of Professor Pius Adesanmi’s submissions, and I can wholeheartedly admit that he was a genius par excellence. I wish we had him longer than his brief time on mother Earth, but God loves him best. Your premonition of what was to come is comparable to Martin Luther King’s Mountain top speech. You belonged in the annals of the greats that walked  the surface of the Earth, and now you belong to the stars. I pray the good lord grant you eternal rest, along with the co-travellers on that illfated plane. Your good works will forever live after you. God grant your parents, wife, children the fortitude to bear your loss, and grace to guide them through the remainder of this life’s journey. Adieu the Great One. Nigeria misses you. Mother Africa misses you, and the whole world misses a rare Gem. Goodnight.

– Kolawole Dada

You lived well

We cannot Lord thy purpose see
But all is well that is done by thee

Sleep on great inspirational teacher and mentor
You lived well and will continue to live on in our hearts

– Templer Olaiya, The Guardian, Nigeria

Be well, Pius

Dear Pius,

I didn’t know you very well, other than in your role as Director of the Institute of African Studies, where the Canadian Association of African Studies that I work for is headquartered. In your last email to me, you were quick to respond, so friendly and willing to help. From the tributes coming in from all around the world, it’s clear how important you were in so many people’s lives.

But more than that, I’ve been reading your Facebook posts on different topics for some time now and your descriptions of your daughter in particular touched me a lot. I remember one post especially about how she would always ask you why you always had to leave for work. You are such a bright and engaging writer.

I wish I had known you, and your work, much better.

Be well, Pius.

– Sarah Katz-Lavigne, Carleton University, University of Groningen

And can it be

Prof Pius Adesanmi was a consistent voice for the development of Africa – its value systems, its governance and ethos. He bemoaned the prevailing culture of mediocrity in his native Nigeria and proffered alternative remedies to the hot-button issues of the day.

He spoke truth to power and did not hold back his generous share of worldly knowledge from enthralled audiences at home and abroad.

In life, as now in death, he was a rallying point for many and brought people together in shared causes and ideals.

His sudden death diminishes us all in more ways than we can currently imagine or articulate. Yet, it reminds us of our own mortality and the grave necessity to live on purpose and with an ongoing sense of urgency.

And can it be that we lost so great a soul so soon a time and by so furious a means!

Fare thee well, O happy soul and may light perpetual shine on your eternal paths.

– Nzeakor Atulomah

His legacy lives

Pius was an inspiration and an important voice for African Studies and for Africa. The world is a lesser place without him, but his legacy lives on. My sincere condolences to his family.

– Rita Abrahamsen, University of Ottawa

The scholar that will never die

If words are humans
Odyssey will be in ashes
If words are humans
Things Fall Apart will be dead
If words are humans
Great minds will just be skeletons in sepulchers
Pius Adesanmi is, not was, a great mind
He will continue to be alive for generations….

His words will remain mellowing
Mindful of the punctuation and the diction of discourses
If men are still alive

If men still value great minds
Pius Adesanmi will never die…
Pius will never die…
His work will never die…
Pius will run from nine to ten
In our minds
Traversing the minds nurtured
Out of love for humanity

– Seun Adeleke

Rest in perfect peace

The man I never met in person but his death shattered me….this cut real deep.
May you rest in perfect peace Professor Pius Adesanmi

– Binta Sosanya

Tribute to a sage who left too soon

It was devastating to hear about your death on Sunday evening 10th March 2019, and up till this moment, I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that, really, you are no more with us.

I can still recall, vividly, the first time I read a Facebook article by Prof. Adesanmi. I marveled at his intelligence, his way with words, his wit etc. In fact, he is a complete individual. He gave my generation -at no cost- a different kind of education that we lacked in our education system – the civics. Another striking attribute he had is an ability to balance religious views and enlightenment principles – the latter was developed in late 17th century Europe. He was a voice of reason in Nigeria’s nascent democracy. His opinions about events, be it sociopolitical or natural, local or global, appealed a lot to my faculties. I always looked forward to read him.

I looked forward to the day I would meet you, Sir. You made a huge impact in my life as a young graduate student in Sweden. I am writing my thesis currently and have planned to add you in the acknowledgement section (which I will still do) because you provided me with a different kind of education.

Rest In Peace Professor Pius Adesanmi.

– Kenechukwu Okoli, UPPSALA University Sweden

Prof, find respite in God

I never heard of you until your demise, but all I’ve read about you are nothing but testaments to how good a person you were!

Good people don’t die, they switch positions

In your new position, i pray for you, to find respite and solace in the Almighty!

– Babatunde Dauda, University of Ilorin, Ilorin

Rest Well, Boss

We all lose friends.. we lose them in death, to distance, and over time. But even though they may be lost, hope is not. The key is to keep them in your heart, and when the time is right, you can pick up the friendship right where you left off. Even the lost find their way home, when you leave the light on. Rest in Peace, Pius

– Benedict Braimah

Goodbye Prof Adesanmi

Yours was a voice for Africa
Yours was a voice for Nigeria
Yours was a voice against bad governance
Yours was a voice agains oppression

But like a candle you are gone
Like a seasonanal stream the waters are dried up

Yours was a life well spent
Yours was a life of dedication

Though physically gone but the stains of your ink remain indellible in our heart

We love you sir but obviously the most high loves you more

Adiu professor of Africa
Adiu the voice of Nigeria
May your soul rest in peace

– Emele Okpogo

Great loss

Watched Prof. from a distance and indeed he is one of Nigeria’s finest. Adieu Prof.

– Chukwuemeka Joseph

At Last, Naija Carries Last

“It was from Dr. Samuel Koranteng-Pipim that I first heard of ‘offering a monkey solution’. The impressive Prof. Pius Adesanmi had doled out a whopping 2,500 cowries on my behalf, to attend as his guest, in a seminar organised in Lagos by Bamidele Ademola-Olateju’s Circle of Hands. It was here that the keynote speaker, Dr. Pipim, a Ghanaian sage based in the U.S. retold Retired Archbishop Kwasi Sarpong’s story of offering a monkey solution.”

The above excerpt from an article I wrote on Thursday 13 November 2014, ( aptly captures the magnanimity of Prof. Pius’ heart. He always gave his all that the rest of us might acquire knowledge and common sense, as he had, so as to ensure that ‘Naija no carry last.’

Alas! Naija carries last as He is lost in the wings of time.


Adieu, Isanlu’s First Son.

– Maurice Chukwu, Centre for Global Tolerance and Human Rights

Prof. Pius Adesanmi, thanks for impact

It is sad to stomach the reality that you have physically exited this earthly realm. It hurts us deeply and rubs salt on our already deep wounds. The manner by which you left deepens our wound more. But even in all the tragedy, we appreciate your impact and your golden legacy. You may have left us physically but your memories and legacy will live with us till forever. Thanks for being a voice of reason, truth, sanity and sanctity. Thanks for being a source of light especially in dark times. And for the invaluable extent of your impact, we express our heartfelt gratitude. It is my prayer that you enjoy the peace on the other side and may God grant your family the fortitude to bear this heavy loss. Rest in peace Prof, it is heartrending to see you go this way but adieu.

– Israel Olawunmi, Nigerian Law School

The light

The light that was never allowed to shine.

Rest in Peace brother.

– Marvelous Nnatuanya

We lost one of our finest

Prof, what can I say… I never met you in person but you represent my ideals, you speak for me and many of us… You want the happiness for the greatest number in Africa…

You are one of the lone voices in the wilderness who want a sane society for all… You did not live by the limitations of your upbringing and your country of birth… You conquered your environment to be one of our finest export to the world… You represented us well… We will miss you… May God comfort your wife and your lovely daughter Tishe….. You are simply irreplaceable……..

– Ogbeni Barnabas Oluwadare

A library is gone

Your exit is a vacuum even in the hearts of those who didn’t relate with you personally but felt your weighty impact through your thinkpiece and views on Nigeria’s polity. Sleep well sir.

– Salawu Olajide

He was an eye opener

I was curious to hear what Professor Pius has to say after reading his long profile from the pages of The Platform Nigeria Brochure, the bi-annual nation-building event organized by Covenant Christian Centre, Lagos, and convened by Pastor Poju Oyemade.

To say I was amazed at how he used what hitherto seem very mundane as the ‘Shower head’ analogy to further shed light on the retrogressive approach of most Nigerians towards the most basic things such as the shower head, is to put it mildly. He opened my eyes to how important it is to not overlook situations however small or inconsequential they seem. It was my first time of hearing or seeing him, and the beginning of me following him and his work. I got to know about Carleton University and hopefully, someday I will come to study at Carleton. Professor Pius was a great man who touched the lives of millions of Nigerians and Africans at large, he was the kind of man Nigeria needs to stir it to greatness. May his soul and the souls of all the other victims rest in peace.

– Olayinka Oladeji

Adieu “Payo” Pius… My tears refused to stop

Payo, when our paths crossed over a decade ago at a Writers event outside the shores of Nigeria, I walked up to you. I said this ‘swag’ and confidence must be from a Nigerian”. You laughed, shook my hands and hugged me like a good “egbon”. We became instant friends from there, you replied every message with the most satirical, vivacious and affable syntax, I can literally share your message with anyone because they are always endearing. You were funny, gregarious, approachable, hilarious, patriotic and unafraid to say the truth to anyone when it matters. Your Op-Ed and musings are riveting, (I have shared and re-shared so many of them with activists, Writers, people in government and anyone should be drawn to your ethos), your jokes about Isanlu, UI PG Hall, Canada, hotels staff, Writers from different nations and your little beautiful daughter Tise cracked me up always. You lived a great life touching the lives of many across the globe. Your smiles lit up any room.

Sunday 10 March 2019 is a benumbing watershed, I have lived in denials, scolding everyone for spreading ‘rumours’ ‘and “fake news”, I said ‘NO NO no not after you’ve escaped death in July 2018 along Oyo-Ogbomoso road, that grisly accident and your graphical narrations left me gobsmacked for months’, until someone pointed me to the University of Carleton website to read the news this Sunday, that was the moment I accepted this heart-breaking news in tears. I blamed Boeing and Ethiopian Airlines on Twitter, I have sent personal messages to IATA and ICAO to investigate this tragedy and tell the world if indeed ‘Boeing 737 Max” is safe, Pius I am going to miss, you are a good man, you fully embraced life with your generous humanity. Your memories will never become ephemeral, your legacies will live for many generations unborn. My prayers and thoughts are with your lovely wife Muyiwa, your daughter Tise and your Mother. I broke down so many times behind my desk thinking of your beautiful daughter, I recalled the stories you’ve shared on the ostensible emotions she showed on each of your travels outside Canada, your paternal affinity, your bond, your negotiations with her and promises to get her gifts. There are embraces that assemble our broken parts, there are hugs that heals, but when our castles collapsed the world is thrown into a sombre mood and we are filled with moments of silence. Rest in heaven Pius [tears and more tears..]

– Kester Osahenye

A strategic part of African youth wall has fell

To me and other African youths its an irredeemable loss, it is a loss I don’t want to remember. A thought of his death made my heart to pound. But above all Prof. Pius will be remembered for several centuries to come. My heart and prayers go to Iya Isanlu as he fondly refers to his mother and to his wife and Tise their daughter.

– Odebunmi Abiodun, Academic

Pius, the Iroko


My tribute to you is so deep that I can’t seem to find words enough to express them. I think they will be largely unsaid or unwritten.

But, thank you for availing us your knowledge and contributing to our society. I will miss your cultural and political interventions which have become part of my nearly daily reading routine in the last 6 to 7 years.

See you someday!

– Olufemi Owosela, University of Fort Hare

Gone too soon

I am going to miss his witty posts on Facebook. My condolences to Mrs Adesanmi, Tise and her little sister. Such a great loss…

– Zainab Abba Haliru, Bauchi State University, Gadau

P for Pen

P is for Pius
P is for pen
Long after Pius is gone, Pius will be here
For while we think he is gone, all he had penned will be here and long after he has gone, his pen will still speak.

Ahhhhhh, but there is no grave. There is no tomb. There is no cemetery.
Yes, because he was too phenomenal to be limited to one gravesite. The universe is his grave. The earth is his tomb. The atmosphere is his burial site and heaven is his home.

P is for Pius
P is for pen
The pen may stop writing, but what the pen has written, will never cleanse.

Pius will be read for all ages
Pius had his pen, his pen will keep him forever

Psalm 139!

So long Prof.
So long Prof Pius
So long Prof Pius with the pen.

– Samuel Stephen Wakdok, Kaduna State Government


My sincerest condolences on the tragic passing of Plus Adesanmi. He was one of a kind and will never be forgotten. He was truly inspirational and his legacy will live forever with all of us. May he rest in peace.

– Sheila Petty, University of Regina

Ode to Prof. Adesanmi

What a dark Sunday. When I read about the ill-fated plane crash, it didn’t hit me hard at first. It was blurred by the gubernatorial elections in the motherland. until comments from friends and former classmates of our Alma-mater trailed my Newsfeed. When I read you were on board, like a momentary seizure, an indescribable pain surged through my being. Why Sunday, why the plane? Why that airline? Why couldn’t something or someone keep you from boarding that morning? Why! Why!! Why!!! I asked like my rhetorical questions would change the deed.

You brought your uniqueness to the public space discourse. You had the uncommon skills to fuse African wisdom and the thinking of the sage into your writings and commentaries. Sometimes humorously delivered, sometimes subtly slipped, yet the message was always clear to and for the discerning. You chastised irresponsible public officials. You made good governance your concern especially in Nigeria; comparing and contrasting with other clime. With your ‘pen’ you scolded the intellectually lazy and purposeless youth. You wrestled against anti-development dogma. You really inspired us.

Even in Diaspora, you constantly reiterated emaciation from mental slavery. Your passion, perhaps obsession for the liberation and development of next generation of African Academia and scholars was legendary. Your turf was post PhD students and young lecturers. You showed them the rope so they could be like you, if not better. Oh, what a selfless service. By every yardstick, you did an excellently good job. Will it be wrong to say that you gave up the ghost at/on your post?

So who shall comfort your aged mum? Who shall soothe your ever supporting wife? Who will explain your demise to your young daughter Tishe? oh, this pain is too real.

Ode to a man of faith, word-smith, social critic, erudite scholar, intellectual juggernaut and. philanthropist. Rest on Prof. Adesanmi.

– Leke Oyedele

Canadian Association of African Studies mourns

CAAS mourns the loss of one of our most valuable supporters and allies, Pius Adesanmi, Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University, home of our association’s secretariat.

Pius built bridges between academics and diplomats, between poets and policymakers, and between professors, students and the public at large in the Canadian arena of African affairs. Both a visionary and a pragmatist, Pius accomplished the IAS mission of outreach to the Ottawa community, making the Institute a networking hub and a home for all those with an interest in or connection to Africa and its diaspora.

Those who had the pleasure of collaborating with Pius knew the integrity, the energy, and the enthusiasm that he brought to his compassionate leadership and mentorship. Pius greeted with hugs, not handshakes.

While his death leaves an unfillable absence in the hearts of his family, they surely take great pride in his legacy. Our thoughts are with them now.

In sadness.

– Meredith Terretta, President, Canadian Association of African Studies

Death cannot take your attainments

Your lifetime engagement of igniting a hunger in your fellow citizens of Nigeria, nay Africa, to quit mediocrity and realize their full potential in the community of Nations is alive and can never die. Even though you are no more with us, you have sired enough offsprings to continue the battle you so admirably led with outstanding success.

– Mohammed Askira

We lost the best of us

When you are a Nigerian and you are brought up with the mentality that professors are usually cold and detached, it is usually refreshing to meet one who comes down to your level to teach you. That was the stereotype engaging Professor Adesanmi broke for us. His social media pages were classrooms where most of us went to learn from the best. He never tired of teaching us, his knowledge about subjects, his sense of humour was second to none. That is why his death hurts so much because he was the best of us and nothing prepared us for this great loss. Rest on great son of Nigeria, you will be missed badly.

– Amina Miango

Fallen but not forgotten

We never knew the great elephant will fall in twenty years time,
We would have dissuaded elephant not to climb the mountain

We never knew the stallion will fall in forty years,
We would have discouraged the workhorse not to go to war

We never knew the son of Isanlu will go so soon
We would have done our best to persuade you against it.

But the deed is done, the battle lost and won; we lost you to the cold hand of death. We will continue to remember the little time you spent with us and how you impacted on us through your intellectual sermon on African issues until we ourselves are no more.

You are gone but your presence is still with us even though in cyberspace and prints.
We sorely miss you, but you shall not be forgotten.
Adieu Prof.

– Bode Oje, Association of Educators of Science and Technology in Yorùbá Language, Metuchen, USA.


I didn’t know Prof personally. I stumbled on one of his articles that was shared by a friend on FB a couple of years ago after which I went to his wall and followed him. Prof was a funny, intelligent person as I deduced from his writings who was devoted to his family and country. We lost a great mind and his death took me back in time to the Bellview airline crash of 2005 that took my uncle along with some prominent Nigerians.  Professor Pius Adesanmi lived, he lived and he touched lives along the way. I am glad to be associated with him in some way – I studied at the University of Ilorin too.

Ijeoma….go well.

– Wuraola Okonkwo

I knew him but never met him

A colossus he is, A star that fell from the Ethiopian skies but shines on. I never met him in person yet I feel like I have known him through his writings that portrayed his beautiful mind and robust kindred spirit.

– Jude Nwabuokei

Rest easy, Prof., we have the watch!

You have left a fire that will blaze forever in our hearts; fiery enough to pass on to generations unborn. As a Nigerian, I will forever remain grateful to you for showing us a path to national rebirth – in your writings. Thank you, Pius Adesanmi!

– Andrew Labe

Ìgbẹ̀yìn Adùn

In lieu of appropriate words, I’ll listen to the words of this album again and celebrate your life and your impact on all of us.

– Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún

An example to all of us

I first met Pius at an event he co-hosted in 2016 with the Centre for Trade Policy and Law (CTPL) on Africa and International Trade. I had just returned from living a few years in Maputo and in my absence, he became the Director of the Institute for African Studies.

I knew that Pius’ home department was English, and didn’t expect him to be that knowledgeable about trade policy or my topic of health and trade. I expected a polite and short introduction of the speakers. I also had a very critical presentation – I critiqued Canada for not being ‘back’ when it came to development, trade, and innovation in its policies towards Africa. I was a little concerned that Pius might not be pleased with my critical take given that Global Affairs Canada representatives were in the room.

How wrong I was! Pius provided the best introduction that I could have imagined – and it wasn’t short! He used his critical lens on Africa (and the world) to provide a unique take on the historical importance of trade in the African context and why it is so critical for Africa and Canada to engage in equitable trade. And he revelled in Carleton academics holding Global Affairs to account in its policies towards Africa and the critical debate sparked by the presentations.

Pius’s too short life was an example to all of us. He truly seized every moment, exuded enthusiasm and joy in life’s journey, and contributed to the betterment of those around him and to society. His towering intellect and generosity of spirit has touched so many at Carleton but also around the world. My regret is that my own work and family commitments got in the way of participating in IAS events and learning even more from Pius. I would have been better for it.

My deepest condolences to his wife, daughter, and mother, his colleagues at IAS, and his students. I am so very sorry for your loss, and wish you courage and strength at this most difficult time.

– Val Percival, Carleton University, NPSIA

The daring prof… Rest on

Professor Adesanmi was a vanguard to many, especially in Nigeria. We looked forward to his writings and articles a way of understanding what the times and seasons were.

He showed us that we could be all we want to be without an excuse. He showed us that in the right system, success comes with diligence. Here in Nigeria, you become a prof only when your hairs become grey, but Pius Adesanmi proved to us that I need not be so.

His many interventions in Nigerian life and politics will be sorely missed. One more voice of conscience gone.

Our prayers to his wife, daughter and family. God’s strength to bear this loss. We will see on the resurrection morning.

Rest on great daring man.

– Damilola Mumuni

You live forever!

Prof., your death is still unbelievable to me, having survived an accident last year, you could have been said to be immortal.

I got a notification anytime you posted on Facebook. That’s how closely I followed your brilliance.
You will be missed.

You were a great man.

May God comfort all you left behind.

You live forever.

– Olufemi-Godman Odeyemi, Abesan News

Rest in Power, Prof

You lived each day emptying yourself into others and on March 10, 2019 you were taken into eternity empty but fulfilled. You run your race like a man out of time, now your race is down.. #RestinPowerProf

– Ofem Ofem

Exit of a Legend

It’s so sad to know that I will not be reading any fresh op-eds from you again. My thoughts and prayers are with your family.

– Tosin Ogungbamigbe, Lagos State University

Pius, now that you are gone, leaving us with so much of you

The suddenness of It all is what shocks all of us, all the nation, young and old, women and men, boys and girls, all over Nigeria, everyone is touched by Professor Pius Adesanmi sudden demise in that plane crash in Ethiopia. For me personally it was a personal tragedy. Pius was a friend, a very dear friend. When people heard the story they called me to confirmed if Pius was on the plane, even journalist called me. They heard the news before I did. I put a call through to someone I know was closest to him, Sunday Akoji. When he confirmed it I was devastated. A lot of people have called me from all over the world to express their sadness. Even in the market as I go around Abuja, everyone is talking about Pius as if they knew him. One young man in particular thanked me for making him follow Pius on social media. I want his family to know how much Pius means to Nigeria. Nigerians all over mourn with the family. I will miss you till I join you one day. Watch over us now that you are in the land of the ancestors.

– George Onmonya


It is not every time I am left lost and speechless but day 3 I still cannot find the words. I can only say: Thank you for being here.

Maybe one day we will understand why this painful finality happened. For now, I still choose denial

– Aishatu Ella

Erín ti wo. Ajanakú ti d’Àràba (Prof. Pius Adesanmi)

I first heard of Prof. Pius Adesanmi way back as an undergraduate at the faculty of Arts University of Ibadan. He was invited to the annual poetry celebration popularly known as Okigbo Night and somehow he couldn’t make it but he was much talked about as a brilliant literature scholar. Then, there was no Facebook so social connections to brilliant scholars of choice were very limited to the classrooms and public lectures and the pages of their works.

Over ten years later, I would chanced upon him at a lecture he delivered at a colloquium convened by the Nigerian Advancement Institute and the University of Alberta, Edmonton right at the University of Alberta. The title of the lecture, which was beyond fascination to a young research student like me was the catalyst which drove me down there on that spring day. The tittle was; “The Impala Generation: Youth Culture and the Imperative of Democracy in Nigeria in the Age of the Arab protests”.

I would leave the auditorium charged. Being a reclusive being at the time, I only managed to introduce myself to him on a handshake and told him I came all the way from the University of Lethbridge to listen to him (although that wasn’t entirely truthful as I was in Calgary at the time, or I wouldn’t have been able to do the long distance). And he never forgot it. Through mutual friends we became friends on Facebook and the first time he came to my inbox he told me point blank that: “Kayode (as he always called me) ẹyin árá Alberta, ṣè ò rò pè mi o ranti ẹ mọ abi? (Kayode, you Albertans, do you think I don’t remember you?). I was shocked. From where we came from, professors don’t usually recall their students. And even if they do, they rarely showed it with such zest and carefree. And there would began a relationship which oscillated and overlapped from scholarship to brotherhood. You see, Prof. Pius was like that. He comes at your face in such a manner that you couldn’t resist him. As towering as he was in your face when you are with him physically so was he in virtual interaction. He was intense yet soft. He was zestful and vibrant and yet not ostentatious.

Prof. was a fine young man. He was to me an Ajanakú (Elephant) who was larger than life. He was like an octopus whose memory expanded, literally, beyond its arms and legs. He was an eclectic scholar per excellence and derived some certain joy in dispensing his wide range of knowledge through what is known as the peripatetic style. One day I told him on the phone that does he know his method of teaching was from Socrates and that Jesus adopted the same method from him. He laughed and told me, I should repent and return to the Church. Prof. was a satirist. He was one with the penchant for mosaicking his writings and lectures in African folklores, and oral history. And he was so good at telling his story with gust and trenchancy.

Prof. loved Nigeria. He loved Africa. He was so passionate about home. He wanted to know everything. And he did always found a way to know everything. He would burrow into the annals of the earth to update himself about every news happening at home, especially Nigeria. Because he had no time, he preferred to call. But he would text you first, and after brief exchanges, he would ask that you call to continue the conversation (that is if need be). Prof. had so much planned for Nigeria. He struggled with the dearth of intellectualism and critical thought in our body polity and he wrote extensively about it, using all forms of narratives and rhetorics to driving home his point. It eats at him every time citizenship is boxed and trampled to the bare ground. It eats at him when people’s expectations of their political leaders dropped bars. It eats at him every time someone scoffs at critical thinking and intellectualism as a veritable point to engineering a choiced society devoid of corruption and mess. That was how tenacious he was. You read his works or listened to him and you get provoked, amidst laughter, at his powerful piercing messages lacking any prevarication. Knowing fully well that to bridge the gap from intellectual mediocrity to advanced critical thinking requires rigorous dispensing of knowledge, he was so pragmatic to making it his sole and lifelong aim to teaching, grooming and mentorship of young scholars. When the accident happened last year we thought we’ve seen the worst. We all told you to stay away from Nigeria, at least for a while. But we did not know it doesn’t have to be Nigeria.

But death became ‘olóríbùrúkù (an unfortunate being), and took him away from us. Death has turned him to Arábà ọmọ à gbèérù gbá’àákè (a large Araba tree who receives into itself the handle and the axe altogether).
Ha! Sùgbọn Ikù d’óró, ikù ṣ’èka
Ẹ̀mọ̀ ku, oju ópó dì
Oku ájanakú wa dì èyi ti an’ yọ ogbo si.
t’aa ni jẹ yọ ojù agada si erin.

Sleep on Prof. Pius Adesanmi.
Rest on you great and beautiful mind.
We will keep your memories alive with every blood in our veins and ounce of lead in us. We will work hard to making sure your legacies for the acknowledgement of intellectual labour and critical thought is galvanized and well championed for the development of a transitional constitution for Nigeria and Africa. We will keep your name in the annals of history. With every fibre of our being, we will plunge into our mind and channel our energy in unity to speak and fight for truths, justice and equality in Nigeria and Africa. We pledge to burn at both ends to make this happen.

Now rest your oars
We will not forget you

– Adegoke Olukayode, University of Lethbridge, Alberta

Message of Condolence

The African Union Economic Social and Cultural Council expresses its deep sympathies with those who lost loved ones aboard Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 which crashed on Sunday 10 March 2019 in #Ethiopia.

We are particularly saddened by the loss of two African diaspora experts who were travelling on board the flight to participate in ECOSOCC meetings in #Nairobi.

  1. Pius Adesanmi, a Canadian citizen of Nigerian origin, was Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and one of the leading Pan-Africanist scholars in North America.
  2. Mr. Karim Saafi, a dynamic African diaspora youth leader in Europe and a co-founder of the African Diaspora Youth in Europe (ADYFE). He was a French citizen of Tunisian origin.

It is with so much sorrow that we share how our friends and work colleagues lost their lives on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that crashed on its way to Nairobi, Kenya on Sunday, March 10, 2018.

Our friends Professor Pius Adesanmi and Mr. Karim Saafi have constantly partnered with us in a lot of our work in Diaspora and Civil Society matters over the years. The two were always ready to offer their technical expertise towards the work of the African Union Commission and especially the CIDO Directorate. Their passion on all issues to do with Africa made them a constant sight at most of the work meetings organized by our Directorate.

It is after responding to a request to yet again put their expertise at work that they lost their lives. Professor Adesanmi and Mr. Saafi were aboard the plane on their way to Nairobi, Kenya to participate in a meeting for ECOSOCC, an advisory organ of the African Union of which our Directorate is a Secretariat.

At their untimely passing, the two were in positions of leadership in areas of work that they gave their all to. Professor Pius Adesanmi, was Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and a lead Pan-Africanist scholar in North America. Mr. Karim Saafi, was co-founder of the African Diaspora Youth in Europe (ADYFE) and an African diaspora youth leader in Europe.

-African Union, Economic, Social and Cultural Council ECOSOCC

An inspiration to so Many

Pius Adesanmi was a driven, ever-creative man who took an already vibrant Institute of African Studies at Carleton and helped it grow even greater. He was a fantastic orator, who made public speaking look easy and put everyone else in the room at ease. Now that he is gone, I wish I had sought him out and talked to him more frequently than the handful of times that I saw him. He is somebody whose great legacy, not just in the form of his books, articles, columns, blogs, and video recordings but also the personal advice that he shared with students and the example that he set in day-to-day life, will live on for a long time. We can all be inspired by him.

– Chris Huggins, University of Ottawa

And he did write an epitaph for himself

“‘Here lies Pius Adesanmi who tried as much as he could to put his talent in the service of humanity and flew away home one bright morning when his work was over.’

This he wrote on August 21, 2013, oblivious to both himself and his readers how apt it will read six years later. How surreal it feels to read this now. Since the confirmation of the fact that he was one of the 157 that died in the I’ll fated Ethiopian airline in Addis Ababa two days ago, the online community has been in a state of shock and overwhelmed with the outpouring of commemorative and epitaphic write-ups to celebrate the life of Professor Pius Adesanmi. Yet the one authored by him aptly and succinctly sums them up.

He was a highly talented literary critic, a satirist of uncommon dexterity, a social critic and a teacher. He served humanity with his talent and especially concerned himself with his fatherland and motherland. He was a globalist yet more interested in Africa and particularly his country of birth, Nigeria.

And on a Sunday morning. The 10th of March 2019, he did fly home to the heart of the African continent and there was his final place of touchdown. In Addis Ababa; in Ethiopia; flying on the wings of a giant metal bird inscribed with colours red, gold and green. Red, gold and green, symbolic of African renaissance and Pan-Africanism.

Though we mourn till the mornings after, we know it was a life well spent. And the exit was glorious ascending into the sky of Africa, his beloved continent and home. We may not be able to take possession of his body. The elements and spirits of the motherland have him solely to themselves. He was also of great value and worth to them. Maybe that was their way of asserting his immortality. But we have his works to ourself on this divide of reality.

Rest in peace, Pius Adesanmi. Nigeria will miss you. Africa will miss you. The intellectual community will never forget you. It will be dark and lonely on this street called Facebook without your writings. Yes, most of us have never met you but Facebook has truly connected us to you and your writings.

May your beautiful daughter, wife and mother be granted the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.

– Michael Adeosun

A great loss to Carleton

From West Africa and dies in East Africa.
From Nigeria and teaches in Canada.
An English Professor and director of African Studies.
Certainly an unusual man.
Condolences to his family and his colleagues.
A great loss to Carleton.

– Tag Elkhazin, Carleton University, Institute of African Studies

“Death…Thou shalt also die!”

Words uncharacteristically fail me as I pen this down,

Pius Adebola Adesanmi – a breed of no equal! Teacher par excellence and a warrior of inestimable exploits. A PanAfricanist that spoke the truth at all times, without regard for partisanship, fear or favor.

We’ve lost more than an icon and we may not know it yet. One day, in the next couple of years – his timeless words will again resonate in the ears of all and we will be amazed because they are true.

Undoubtedly we’re now worse off without this great emblem because there is only one Pius Adesanmi per generation but his legacy lives forever!

Sleep well Mentor! May you walk the streets of gold and fly in those wings you climactically talked about.

Thanks for all the adjuration and unalloyed truths.

And like John Donne returned, “Death be not proud, for thou shalt also die.”

– Emmanuel Jesuloluwa Odeyemi, University of Manitoba

You left a legacy

We would miss your write-ups about issues in Nigeria and the love you had for your people whom you strove to educate about their rights which have been stampeded upon by years of misrule. You loved being a Nigerian and it showed in your dressings and banters about Naija lives. RIP Prof, we would sorely miss you

– Ehidiamen Iyamabo, Carleton University

Thank You

My eyes shifted between your name and the headlines of the fatal crash, over and over. Surely it could not be real, I thought. Not you. Not Professor Pius. I could still hear your laugh, the way you drew for dramatic pause in your story-telling. Could still see your expressive hands and the glint in your eyes as you read poems about palm oil and baobab trees. You were so vibrant, so warm, so full of life….how could that spark have been stolen from you?

I still remember the day I saw your name written on my semester timetable. I felt like I had won the lottery; a true African author, to teach our class! Even then, it felt like a treasure, to be given the honour to be taught by you. I already had your book; had already read some of your stories, before you brought them to life in person. The book knowledge I had of oral tradition lit up in your presence. There you were, a true orator. Your wit and satire made the three-hour lectures pass in the blink of an eye.

I still cannot believe you are gone. Thank you for writing down your thoughts so that, even in your absence, we still have a piece of you to keep us company. Thank you for your wisdom, thank you for your passion.

Your impact will remain for many, many years to come. It was an honour to have known you. Rest in peace, professor.

– Emily Everett, Carleton University, Institute of African Studies

Rest in Peace

Rest in peace Prof. The whole world loss a great man.

– Taofeek Alabi, University of Derby

Pius, you came, you saw, and you were better by far

I first met Pius in 1989 at Mini Campus of Unilorin. We were both residing at the H Block hostel back then. Pius was a standout student – not just for his brilliance, but also for his sense of fairness and justice. Though I have not seen him since 1991, he maintained the same traits throughout his adult life: always standing for what is right, even when it was not convenient or safe. While we are all mourning him today, let’s take solace in a Yoruba adage that says “ka ku l’omode ko y’eni, o san ju ka dagba la i ni adie irana” (to die young and be honored is better than growing old and be buried without honor). Pius died young, but he died with his honor intact and was better by far. Sun re o.

– Olayinka Oki

Thank You

Pius took on many roles. Father. Husband. Son. Friend. Mentor. Writer. Storyteller. Teacher. Leader. He fulfilled them all genuinely and with integrity, which is more than what many of us do when gifted longer lifetimes. To stand for what is right- especially when it comes at high cost – is difficult, and Pius chose to do that repeatedly. I’m not much of a religious person, but I was inspired by Pius’ choice to lead with faith. Not only in his spirituality, but in people. Faith that we could do better, faith that we might.

Pius- thank you for leading by example. Thank you for inspiring generations of students and people to act with generosity and integrity. Thank you for choosing action. I will miss your laugh and kindness, but I am grateful to have gotten to know it. I hope you know what you mean to everyone. May you move forward with peace and power into the next stage

– KB Harwood, Lakehead University

God bless him

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 should hold me. -Psalm 139:9-10

– Snow Cheng

Thank you for you vibrancy

I still cannot believe this is real. I still cannot accept that you are truly gone. This news leaves a bitter feeling in my heart. My heart constantly bleeds. You were one phenomenal man. It hurts so bad knowing that you are really gone. I pray your soul rests in perfect peace. I pray for God’s strength and grace to your family and us all to get through this painful and trying phase. You would be greatly missed Prof. Thank you for your vibrant personality and endless contributions.

Rest In Peace Professor.

– Joan Ajoku


I will miss his laughter.

– Joan Thompson, Carleton University, Journalism


May his soul rest in peace.

– Remi Lawal

Pius Adesanmi

One of the Canadians killed in Sunday’s Ethiopian Airlines crash was my friend Pius Adesanmi, and it was quite a shock to receive the text message with this sad news. It is never easy to lose a friend, but it seems especially tragic when that friend is a larger-than-life colleague who was working so hard to make his world a better place.

Pius came to Carleton in 2006, hired during my first year as Dean of FASS. Like many, he made a huge impact on his colleagues and his students, and he was part of the groundswell that led a few years later to the foundation of our Institute of African Studies. In recent years he has served as its Director. But what was truly amazing was the impact that he had in Africa. Through his writing and blogging he reached an audience numbering not in the hundreds or even thousands, but in the millions, in his native Nigeria and beyond, becoming one of the most avidly read commentators on contemporary life and politics on that continent.  I frequently feared for his life, but not in this way. His criticism of politics and political leaders was insightful and biting, no holds barred, and invariably couched in humour that made it even more devastating to the pilloried target. This took courage as well as talent. I have never known anyone who so fully embodied Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s claim that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Shakespeare wrote that ‘some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them’. Pius certainly belonged in the second of those categories, although he would probably have demurred, and himself opted for the third.  I can still remember the day in 2010 when he mentioned that Penguin Books wanted him to go to Johannesburg for the inaugural awards ceremony for the Penguin Prize for African Literature.  He was incredulous to have been short-listed, but of course pleased. ‘Of course you’ll go’, I said. ‘Not a chance’, he replied.  ‘Why would I spend all that money. I would never win.’  He did end up going, and I have an even better memory of getting the phone call from the celebration when he did win (in the non-fiction category). The background noise was deafening, and Pius couldn’t quite seem to believe what was happening. The prize included publication of his book, You are not a country, Africa, and we continued the party in Ottawa when it appeared in print some months later.

Of my many memories of times shared with Pius, my favourite relates to when he was first hired.  The chair of the Dept. of English was pessimistic about our chances, and told me that he had discovered that Pius also had job offers from a number of American universities, including both Penn and Princeton. So I was very pleasantly surprised when I called to offer him the job, and he accepted. Sometime after his arrival the following summer, I broached the question that had been nagging me for months. ‘Pius, I am curious. Why did you chose Carleton over Princeton? They surely had much deeper pockets.’ In response, he just laughed, and what a laugh he had. Once heard, never forgotten. ‘When I came to Carleton for my interview’ he said, ‘it felt like family. And that was more important than money.’  I have always treasured those words.

Today we lost a much loved and much respected member of our Carleton family.

– John Osborne, Carleton University

An Irreplaceable Gem

Someone once said; The value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you live, you are important because of how effective you live. And most people are concerned about growing old rather than being effective. The people who have impacted the world didn’t live long. Martin Luther King. John F. Kennedy. These people who impact the world were not old people, but they lived so effectively that we cannot erase them from history.
Professor Pius Adesanmi is an irreplaceable gem. He was a conscience of a generation. His impact will transcend generations. He moulded minds. He was a scholar and teacher of the highest calibre. Pius loved his family, he cherished his relationships.

So even though it still feels so surreal and I’m struggling to wrap my mind around the fact that you are no more with us, I would like to thank you for who you were. I want to thank you for your friendship, your laughter, your generosity of spirit.

Professor Pius Adesanmi was a good man. He was genuinely good. In a time & season where people are enamoured with narcissistic tendencies, people refusing to make time for each other; he made sure he was able to separate the “noise” and busyness of life and make out time to cultivate genuine connections with people. If you were to listen deeply enough, you would see that at his core he simply cared for people.

On his last post on social media just as he begun the ill-fated journey, he wrote: “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 – Psalm 139:9-10” Pius, may those of us you have touched and impacted and left behind never forget your legacy.
You will be forever missed.

– Kenneth Akhiwu, Carleton University, Dept of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Tribute to Prof. Pius Adesanmi (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa)

CODESRIA has learned with extreme sadness and sorrow of the passing on of Prof. Pius Adesanmi in the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 that crashed upon take-off from Addis Abeba’s Bole International Airport en route to Nairobi on March 10th 2019.  Until his death, Prof. Adesanmi was a Professor of English and African Literature and Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University in Canada. A graduate of the University of Ilorin Ibadan University for his Bachelor’s and Masters degrees, Pius obtained his PhD from the University of British Columbia, Canada, taught at Pennsylvania State University in the United States before he left for Carleton University, Canada. At Carleton, Pius has remained an avid intellectual combining both administrative tasks and intellectual engagement. Through his work and engagements, both in Canada and in Africa, Pius came to the notice of CODESRIA.

At the 91st meeting of its Executive Committee, the Council adopted a policy on honouring members of the CODESRIA community. The policy allows the Secretariat to issue statements in honour of colleagues who have made a distinguished contribution to knowledge that reflects and advances the mandate of CODESRIA. Pius embodied the core principles that sit at the heart of the mandate of CODESRIA.

Though he does not formally appear in the registers of CODESRIA as a member until 2018, Pius’ intellectual work intersected with that of the Council. His convictions, his take on the politics of knowledge production, his interest in mentoring young academics and his expectation, indeed his demand for excellence, all reflect positions that the Council holds, cherishes and advances. It was therefore easy to convince Pius, at a meeting of Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program Advisory Council in Nairobi in March 2018 that he needed to engage the Council activities more.

On the basis of such discussions, Pius was invited to the 15th General Assembly with the express task of observing the Assembly and submitting a critical piece on the proceedings. Pius was struck by a tension between the social sciences and the humanities at the Assembly and offered to support our work to enhance the interdisciplinary conversations he sensed the Council wanted to encourage. He was on course to submit this critical piece to a syndicated weekly column carried in four different papers. He also was on course to submit an expanded version of the piece for publication in the CODESRIA Bulletin when the hand of death robbed us of this rare privilege.

Pius had also just accepted to support the Council as a resource person for the Meaning-Making Research Initiative (MRI) Methodology and Scholarly Workshop to be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 1st to 5th April 2019.  Additionally, he had accepted to be on the scientific team of advisors working with CODESRIA’s Carnegie Corporation of New York-funded programme on African Diaspora support to African Universities. The indefatigable worker, Pius had also just set up a new team that he was leading on a Carnegie-supported project on Higher Education. There is no doubt that the crash has robbed us of a young, energetic, boisterous colleague, one whose presence among us elevated us and bestowed a sense of direction to our work.

At the intellectual level, one always discerned in Pius a proud African scholar; one who believed in excellence and roundly dismissed mediocrity in African scholarship. He critiqued vehemently those who understood African scholarship to be mediocre and second grade simply because it was produced by Africans. He elevated Africa’s position in the global knowledge industry by being prolific while safeguarding quality and insisting on representing Africa from the vantage point of Africans. He did not suffer any conflict resulting from his location in Canada. In fact, a key part of his contribution to Carleton University is his enormous work as Director of the Institute of African Studies at Carleton University. Many people will have noticed that Pius was particularly passionate about mentoring postgraduate students, notably in Africa.  He travelled the continent extensively, holding Postgraduate workshops in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.  He also set up an African Doctoral Lounge, a virtual mentorship, dialogue, and opportunity-sharing platform on Facebook which grew in leaps and bounds in no time, affording young scholars a rare meeting point across boundaries of scholarship and geography.

It is for these combined reasons that he was the winner of the inaugural Penguin Prize for African writing in the non-fiction category in 2010 and proceeded to be awarded the prestigious Canada Bureau of International Education Leadership Award in 2017.

Pius was never the Ivory Tower scholar, if there is one. He was as avid in engaging the political landscape, particularly that of his beloved Nigeria. A robust contributor and columnist for Sahara Reporters, he was as scathing of his country’s leadership weaknesses as he was generous in seeking to offer solutions. He was deliberate in his engagement on the policy arena in his scholarship.  A key contributor to the African Union’s Vision 2063, Pius also took it upon himself to teach about this vision in the classroom.  It is telling that his last journey into the continent was to attend a meeting of the AU-ECOSSOCC, among other engagements. Thus, this scholar, activist, and son of Africa, was to die in the service of a new vision of Africa.  The plane crash may have interrupted it, but the work of Prof. Pius Adesanmi shall endure through his many writings, and crucially, through the expansive network of scholarship and activism that he ignited while he was with us.  Travel well, Pius.  Long may you live on.

– The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa based in Dakar


So sorry to hear of such a tragic loss -my thoughts and prayers are with family, friends, students and staff.

– Kerri Wilson, Carleton University, PMC


To: Prof. Pius Adesanmi Family and friends,

My sincere condolences. May you find comfort and the strength to cope during this difficult time.

– Mizthika Sanjeevan Carleton University, Library

Once in a lifetime

Professor Pius, thank you for blessing us with your intellectual rarity. Your kind is once in a lifetime. It is sad for you to exit this way but God knows best. Rest in peace

– Victor Onyekonwea, University of Lagos

Using the past to do good for today

My condolences for Director Pius Adesanmi. The program he ran was unlike any other at Carleton. It has taught me more about the world than any other class ever could. I have been able to accept more perspectives on society because of the subject matter that he and his professors worked hard to preach to us, students. His example of teaching us about the history and philosophy and struggles of our ancestors have inspired me to do better by others today. And now I hope he is resting well with them. My heart goes out to Director Adesanmi’s family and to everyone who knew him, and to all those affected by that tragic plane crash in Ethiopia.

– Michael Kaduck, Carleton University

Thank you, Abiku

Your classes were precious. Thank you for everything.

by J.P. Clark

Coming and going these several seasons,
Do stay out on the baobab tree,
Follow where you please your kindred spirits
If indoors is not enough for you.
True, it leaks through the thatch
When floods brim the banks,
And the bats and the owls
Often tear in at night through the eaves,
And at harmattan, the bamboo walls
Are ready tinder for the fire
That dries the fresh fish up on the rack.
Still, it’s been the healthy stock
To several fingers, to many more will be
Who reach to the sun.
No longer then bestride the threshold
But step in and stay
For good. We know the knife scars
Serrating down your back and front
Like beak of the sword-fish,
And both your ears, notched
As a bondsman to this house,
Are all relics of your first comings.
Then step in, step in and stay
For her body is tired,
Tired, her milk going sour
Where many more mouths gladden the heart.

– Mah-Jabeen Jesani

You will be missed

You were an important part of the fabric of Carleton University, Pius, and your comitment to learning, to students and to making the world a better place will be missed. We all share your los deeply.

– Randall Germain, Carleton University

An ‘Iroko’ Tree has Fallen

It is with sad emotions that I received the shocking news of the death of Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi, who died alongside 156 others in the ill-fated Ethiopian Airline crash that happened on Sunday, 10th March, 2019.

I never knew that the untimely death of a person I have only read about and from, but never met, could have such a devastating effect on me.
For some hours after I got the news, I lost coordination and life temporarily lost its meaning to me.

He was a literary giant, whom I followed on social media. He advocated for a better African society.

The delivery of his masterpiece articles laced with humor, is always a delightful read.

My major consolation is the fact that he lived a very impactful life.

My sincere condolences to his family, friends and the Carleton society.

Rest on African Giant!

– Adesola Oluwaseun Adeleye

An optimist (in a way)

I met Prof. Adensami last year in Nairobi while he was here with his class on social media and activism.

That class was the first time I heard of Bobrisky. Prof talked about how Bobrisky existing so unapologetically was shifting conversations.

Prof also talked about student activism in Nigeria, about how many students have been murdered by the state and how many dreams shattered.

He weaved that story of student activism and Bobrisky’s story together.

It made me feel hopeful like anything can happen, like an optimistic nihilism maybe.

It was a great class.

I remember thinking that this is a man who lives well.

– Karwitha Karwitha, Daystar University, Kenya

A hole that may never get filled

What is man, he is bright in the morning but withers away in the evening. It is saddening and disheartening to hear about your death being on board on the ill-fated aircraft of the Airplane and the question I’ve repeatedly maintained on my lips has been why were you on board, why? I’ve not met you personally though I had hoped that one day, this seems impossible. You being a Nigerian makes it feel good to be a Nigerian. You were highly cerebral, well read and a scholar per excellence. You display erudition at its premium which always inspires someone like me to pursue excellence in Academic. Your Facebook posts are always part of the posts I l long to read due to the level of knowledge imparted on me by them. But on a day which shall be forever remembered for the gloom it brought to us, you exited this temporal world. Countless times I’ve checked through Facebook timeline after the news of your death awaiting you to come and debunk the news but that seems to be impossible. Now I’m confronted with the reality that you are gone, gone forever. But the vacuum created by your exit remains a very big one which makes it hard to get it filled for only few can Match up to your personality. Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi, I must attest that you lived well, for what you believed especially your clamour for good governance in Nigerian. Rest on Erudite Professor, you remain forever in my heart. May God grant your family (Mother, Wife, and Tise) the fortitude to bear the loss.

– Victor Ayodele

Goodbye to the Achebe of my time!

Goodbye to a literary giant. It’s like losing a close family member. Anytime I read one of his posts, it’s like reading Achebe’s Arrow of God. Indeed if Achebe wrote his novels as a blog series, that would be Adesanmi’s FB page! Prof. Adesanmi wrote with old-time African humor and common sense and thus made his unique form of creative memoir. It was like “listening” to both the past and the present. He’ll be missed by the literary world but especially by people like me who looked up to him to tell the story of “home” in a way that shows the “home” we love.

– Chinelo Ezenwa, UWO

Adieu to Pius Adesanmi

This is a difficult time for those of us who had the rare privilege of interacting with Prof Pius Adesanmi. Death stole Pius from us a couple of days ago. Really? It is true.

Pius was humble and a highly committed citizen of the World. He used his wits, energy, and pen to shape young academics and fluster dye in the wool politicians. His essays in the early days of internet commentaries on and subsequent ones in the rigorous world of academia bear testimony to this rare breed of Homo sapiens. Pius would e-mail me with words of support and encouragement after reading my essays and commentaries. Thereafter, we became cyber pals.

In Pius’ death, a vacuum has been created. His satires were relieving. One of the soothing and positive minds in Africa of his generation is gone to be seen no more.

We shall mourn but will not be deterred in the progressive task of reforming Africa and the world.

Sleep well Pius. Adieu.

– Steve Nwabuzor, Federal University Otuoke, Nigeria

Thanks, Pius

I think I only met and chatted with Pius two or three times at Carleton’s IAS but I can still feel his warmth, humour – you can never forget that smile and chuckle – and welcomes. IAS folks, you must be feeling really low … but you were so lucky to have worked with Pius and you can carry on with those good vibes.

I was able to listen to CBC’s As It Happens’ interview with Lola Shoneyin: sums Pius up.

– David Moore, University of Johannesburg and Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study



Words left unsaid only given life in death.

Pius, Pius. L’ojo oni, Yoruba ni kan l’owa si ori mi. Boya b’oti ye ko ri niyen. Toripe awon igba ti a bawa papo, Yoruba ni a maa nso julo:

Se e ti lo ni?
E ti fi wa si le ni?
Awa omo yin. Awa aburo yin. Awa ore yin, Awa ara ibi ise yin.
Eyin ti e mu wa rerin.
Eyin ti e sowa papo
Eyin ti e so ooto oro – nigba miran ti awon yoku ko fe so…tabi won o fe gbo.
Eyin ti gbogbo eniyan npe ni omoluabi eti kuro l’aye. E ko si l’aye mon. Eyin.
Eyin ti e ni’fe Africa ati awon ara Africa. E ni’fe awon ti o ni’fe Africa. E ni’fe Naija. Eyin.
Eyin ti e di wa mu. Eyin ti e pe wa – ti e so fun wa wipe a ni lo lati monra wa. Eyin Eyin.
Eyin ti e je egbon fun mi. Eyin ti e ri ebun abinibi mi – – ti e so wipe mo nilo lati ja fun nkan ti o to simi.
Nisinsiyi, omije lo wa l’oju wa.
Sugbon bi a ti nse iranti yin, a ntuju ka, erin wa si oju wa
A o le gba gbe yin – lai lai.
Ka gba gbe yin ke? Eyin? Lai lai.
Ko le ri be.
E se. E se. Pupo. Pupo. Adupe lopolopo.
Opolopo awon eniyan ni igbesi aye yin f’owo kan si rere
Bi e se gbe igbesi aye yin je apeere fun mi. Apeere yi ni mo fe tele

Thank you for inspiring and encouraging us. Thank you for caring. Thank you for teaching us the way to live.

Od’abo, Omoluabi. E sun re o.

Words failed me in English. Everything came in Yoruba – a language Pius and I often used to communicate when we spoke. The English translation does not quite do the Yoruba justice, but here it is:

Omoluabi (A person of honour and of good character; a person who is courageous, well-spoken, intelligent, humble, respectful, community oriented, and committed to justice)

Have you left?
Have you left us?
Us, your “children”. Us, your “younger siblings”. Us, your friends. Us, your co-workers.
You- that made us laugh.
You – that joined us together.
You – that spoke the truth – sometimes when others didn’t want to say it – or they didn’t want to hear it.
You – that everyone calls omoluabi – you’ve left the world. You’re not in this world anymore. You.
You – that loved Africa and those from Africa. You loved those who loved Africa. You loved Naija.
You – that held us. You that beckoned us – and told us we needed to get to know each other
You – you were like an elder brother to me. You that saw my talents – that told me to fight for what is rightly mine.
Right now, tears are streaming down our faces.
But when memories of you surface, the tears slowly dry, and a smile comes to our faces.
We cannot forget you. Never.
Forget you? You? Never.
Never ever.
Thank you. Thank you. Very Much. We thank you – so, so much
You’ve had a positive impact on many people’s lives.
How you lived your life is an example for me. This example is what I’d like to follow.

Thank you for inspiring and encouraging us. Thank you for caring. Thank you for teaching us the way to live.

Goodbye, Omoluabi. Rest in peace

– Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin, Carleton University

Gone too soon

Pius, you went too soon. Our conversation in the Summer of 2018 when we first met in Kenya will always stay with me. I will forever cherish the opportunity to speak at the Institute African Studies in November. You will be dearly missed by the tens of thousands you inspired. So long dear brother and friend.

– Alex Awiti, Aga Khan University

Using the past to do good for today

My condolences for Director Pius Adesanmi. The program he ran was unlike any other at Carleton. It has taught me more about the world than any other class ever could. I have been able to accept more perspectives on society because of the subject matter that he and his professors worked hard to preach to us, students. His example of teaching us about the history and philosophy and struggles of our ancestors have inspired me to do better by others today. And now I hope he is resting well with them. My heart goes out to Director Adesanmi’s family and to everyone who knew him, and to all those affected by that tragic plane crash in Ethiopia.

– Michael Kaduck, Carleton University

Gone too soon, yet, what a well lived out academic life

Words fail me. God knows you left us so early when otherwise, there was still so much left undone by you, with you, because of you and for you. In as much as you have left a huge void as a great leader of African descent here in North America: we will take great comfort in that you have natured so many others that will surely draw their strengths for the future from your body of work(s) that lingers on. Till we meet again, rest easy Prof.

– Nombuso Makhubu, Carleton University (Alumni)

A Great Teacher

There are many things I would like to say about this great teacher, Pius Adesanmi. There are many words I would like to weave together in honour of the great teacher that is Pius Adebola Adesanmi. There are many paragraphs I would have loved to structure together for my great teacher. But, they keep skipping my mind. The words keep leaping, keep mixing, and keep hiding. I would reach for them but they seem like an illusion.

Perhaps, this is because my great teacher is gone to entertain the ancestors. The great griot that is my teacher has taken his great skill to the other side of life, where all great thinkers exist.

My teacher touched me the day we met. I was a Ph.D. student in Cambridge and my teacher quickly jumped on my project, telling me what to read and how to present my argument. My teacher would never rest until I have got every comma, every full-stop and every mark in the right place. He would push and pull me to be the best. He gave me his busy self. My teacher, outside the academic space, would ask about my family and about my personal life. He wanted to be always in the know.

My teacher is a great teacher. My teacher is relentless. My teacher is present in me. My great teacher is forever in my mind one of the greatest teacher ever.

I can’t lie. I cried. I can’t lie. I cried.

You, my great teacher, Pius, are forever with me. Your words to me will be put to use.

– Michael Irene

My condolences

I want to offer my condolences to Mr.Pius Adesanmi’s family, friends, students, co-workers, and loved ones. I never personally had the pleasure of meeting him, however, it is still a great loss to our campus community. May you Rest In Peace.

– Grace Besserer, Carleton University


May he rest in peace. May God look after his family.

– Moshood Raheem, Carleton University, Engineering

Mauris sed porttitor

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– Claire Chen, Carleton University


I’m so sorry.

– Pengbo Zhang, Carleton University

An Inspiring Soul

As a student of African heritage and descent, it was really inspiring to see someone like Prof. Pius Adesanmi at the head of the African Studies Department. He really cared about the teaching and success of African students, not just at Carleton but in general. Through the tragic circumstances of his death, we will continue to cherish and uphold the legacy and great works he left behind. A truly inspiring soul. Rest in internal peace Professor Pius Adesanmi.

– Shyann Richards, Carleton University, FPA, Criminology Major

Rest in Power

My condolences to the family and friends of Professor Pius Adesanmi! May the grace of the Lord help you through this tough time! I may have not know him personally, but through my peers I saw the positive influence he had on everyone that was around him! He will forever remain an inspiration for many! May we all carry your legacy forward and onward.

– Horace Owiti, Carleton University

May his soul rest in peace

Never really met him but I’m sure he was great. May God comfort his family and may his soul rest in peace- AMEN.

– David Obara, Carleton University

Dr. Adesanmi’s Disarming Charm

Dr. Adesanmi’s laughter, geniality, and generosity would strike you immediately. What a funny, loving, and caring individual. Dr. Adesanmi was disarming in his sharp wit, his brilliance, his eagerness to include anyone and everyone. The Institute is poorer without him. My deepest condolences to his family, his friends, and to everyone who feels this enormous loss.

– Olivia Dooley, Carleton University – Institute of African Studies (grad)

In Memoriam: Professor Pius Adesanmi

Please read:

– Temitope Oriola, University of Alberta

To honour Prof. Adesanmi’s memory, a fund has been established to support students who aspire to follow in his footsteps