Pius Adesanmi: Celebrating Life and Times of Highly Cerebral Intellect, Critic (1972 – 2019)

By Eric Elezuo

Full of expectation, full of preparation, Pius Adesanmi set out for Kenya to attend the African Union ECOSOCC committee in Nairobi. He was ready for a thorough representation as usual. But alas, he couldn’t reach the destination. His Ethiopian Airlines plane came down forcefully in Ethiopia, shortly after take off, taking his life in its prime, and that of 156 others on board.

A citizen of Nigeria, Adesanmi, who was a Professor of Literature and African studies at the Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada, was born in February 1972, in Isanlu, in Yagba East Local Government area of Kogi State, Nigeria.

Adesanmi had his education in Nigeria before attending the University of Ilorin in 1992 where he obtained a BA Honours in the first class honours category. He followed it up with a Masters in French from the University of Ibadan in 1998, and afterwards a PhD in French Studies from the University of British Columbia in 2002.

Professionally, Adesanmi served as Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University, USA between 2002 and 2005.

He joined Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada in 2006 as a Professor of Literature and African studies. He has also been a Fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA), a position he held from 1993 to 1997, as well as of the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) in 1998 and 2000.

A prolific writer, Adesanmi had been written on a regular basis for front line online platforms such as Premium Times and Sahara Reporters.

Wikipedia reports that his writings are “often satiric, focusing on the absurd in the Nigerian social and political system…, adding that “his targets often include politicians, pastors, and other relevant public figures.”

He was known to create stirs with some of his write ups, one of which was the one on the decision of the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, to take an underage wife in 2015. This, according to reports, generated substantial conversation on the matter, to the extent, the Emir had to respond.

Among many of his public appearances was a 2015 TED talk titled “Africa is the forward that the world needs to face”.

He won many awards in the course of his sterling career, receiving in 2017, the Canada Bureau of International Education Leadership Award among others.

Adesanmi is a satirist, who spoke loudest in his published books, some of which are Naija No Dey Carry Last (Parrésia Publishers; 2015), a collection of satirical essays; The Wayfarer and Other Poems (Oracle Books, Lagos; 2001) and You’re Not a Country, Africa (Penguin Books; 2011).

Adesanmi may have passed on, but his well spent life speaks volumes to his credit, and as many that know him.

May his intellectual soul rest in perfect peace!

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