Celebrating the life of Professor Pius Adesanmi

Professor Pius Adesanmi  27 February 1972– 10 March 2019
 
 
 
Message from Mrs Olumuyiwa Balogun-Adesanmi on the death of her husband, Professor Pius Adesanmi
 
I have no words to describe the depths of my pain on the untimely passing of my husband, Pius Adesanmi. He was an extraordinary scholar, husband, devoted father and a fine gentleman. He was an uncommon breed. He wrote about human rights, gender equality and human dignity. He practised what he preached. I am a living witness to the kindness of his soul and love for others.
Pius Adesanmi enjoyed spending time with his family and friends. Our daughter Tise’s words often tugged at his heart every time he needed to travel. He compensated for his regular absences by being generous with his time. He was witty, funny and a joy to behold.  
My family and I have been touched by the incredible demonstrations of support and waves of condolences sent our way. I have learned about people of all ages and backgrounds, who never met Pius Adesanmi but broke down in tears when they learned of his death. I am comforted by the sheer enormity of the lives he touched. He lived and died in pursuit of a better world. He lived and died in service to Africa. Nigeria was dear to his heart and he longed for Nigeria’s development. Pius Adesanmi was also a Canadian citizen and deeply appreciated the blessings of making Canada home.  
I appreciate the tremendous support from the Canadian and the Nigerian governments. The administration, students and faculty at Carleton University have been exemplary in our moment of grief. The academic community in Canada, Nigeria and around the world have been immense in their tributes. I applaud all individuals and institutions around the world that have held or plan to hold vigils, processions and other events to mark my husband’s transition. I thank all local, national and international media organizations for their professionalism in the coverage of the unfortunate crash.   
Our extended family, neighbours, and friends from all areas of human endeavour have stood solidly by us. I am deeply grateful. Mo dupe, E se pupo, Merci. Thank you.
Pius Adebola Adesanmi, the whole family misses you. I miss you. I miss your laughter, ebullience, reassuring presence as well as the effervescence and incandescence of your person. ‘Bola, you were an uncommon star in the firmament of God’s creation. Oko mi, sun re o (sleep well, my husband). O daro o. Goodnight, Okun ‘Bola.
 
Mrs Olumuyiwa Balogun-Adesanmi
Ottawa, Canada. 
16 March 2019.
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Pius Adesanmi Family album
 
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Ottawa Remembers Pius Adesanmi – Memorial Service
Over 500 persons were at the Metropolitan Bible Church on Prince of Wales Drive, Ottawa, on Saturday for the memorial service in honour of academic icon, the late Professor Pius Adesanmi, one of the victims of the tragic Ethiopian airline crash a week before. Until his tragic death, Pius was the Director of the Institute of African Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa. Significantly his last Facebook post was done while on the fight and what could have been a prophetic prediction: 
“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”. 
Adesanmi was born in Isanlu, in Yagba East Local Government area of Kogi State, Nigeria. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in French language from the University of Ilorin in 1992, a Master’s degree in French from the University of Ibadan in 1998, and a PhD in French Studies from the University of British Columbia, Canada, in 2002. Adesanmi was a Fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) from 1993 to 1997, and of the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) in 1998 and 2000.[4]From 2002 to 2005, he was Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. In 2006, he joined Carleton University, in Ottawa, Canada, as a Professor of literature and African studies. He was the director of the university’s Institute of African Studies until his death.For many years, Adesanmi was a regular columnist for Premium Times and Sahara Reporters. His writings were often satiric, focusing on the absurd in the Nigerian social and political system. His targets often included politicians, pastors, and other relevant public figures. In September 2015, his scathing column on the decision of the Emir of KanoLamido Sanusi, to take an underage wife, generated substantial conversation on the matter, and even got the response of the Emir who responded to Adesanmi by name. In 2015, he gave a TED talk titled “Africa is the forward that the world needs to face”. Adesanmi died on 10 March 2019, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashed shortly after take-off. He was on his way to an African Union conference. 
At the funeral ceremony, Professor Adesanmi was described as a spark plug, a charismatic and gregarious man with “an irrepressible sense of fun and a razor-sharp wit.” He was an engaging storyteller, a sought-after international speaker and a good husband and father to his wife, Muyiwa, and daughters, Damilare, 12, and Tise, 7. He was, in the words of Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada Ambassador Adeyinka Asekun, “a man with a large heart who always wanted things to be better.” According to his cousin, journalist Tunde Asaju, Pius “challenged mediocrity” and “berated a system that lavished resources on the privileged few while impoverishing the masses.” Among the mourners were Benoit-Antoine Bacon, President and Vice-Chancellor of Carleton University, Member of Parliament Pierre Poirlievre and South African High Commissioner to Canada Her Excellency Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo.

All photographs copyright Black Ottawa Scene

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

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