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Wednesday 10 April 2019

Pius Adesanmi : My tribute to the Unknown Soldier

Exactly a month ago, on the 10th March 2019, the world received with shock the news of the crash of Ethiopian airline flight 302 which crash-landed six minutes after takeoff killing all one hundred and fifty-seven on board - one hundred and forty-nine passengers and eight crew members. The ill-fated flight which crashed in similar circumstances to the Lion Air flight 610 five months earlier,  was a scheduled international passenger flight from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya.

It is no longer news that the erudite Professor of Literature Pius Adesanmi, as well as other distinguished nationalities from other countries including the US, UK, Germany, Kenya, Egypt, Canada, China, Italy and Ethiopia, lost their lives in the monumental tragedy. May their gentle souls continue to rest in peace. Adesanmi was a Nigerian-born Canadian professor, writer, social and literary critic, satirist, and columnist. He was forty-seven years old.

The Nigerian-born, Canadian-trained Professor Pius Adesanmi

I must have read over a dozen of the late Adesanmi publications since his tragic death on the ill-fated flight. Till date tributes and memorials are still being held in honour of this great mind and son of Africa. Therein however lies our greatest undoing as Africans - our inability to recognise,  honour and celebrate our heroes WHILST THEY ARE ALIVE. Our loss is Europe and America's gain. Permit me to elucidate further.

Prior to his death, I had never heard of nor read any of his publications. Less than two weeks into his death, I have read over a dozen! These publications of his that I have now read didn't fall from the sky. They were shared by my circle of friends who somehow "forgot" to share them while the man lived. And this is not to indict my circle of friends for their "forgetfulness" because I am equally guilty.

And because we have not learnt to honour our prophets as Africans, they are lured and absorbed by other climes who know, appreciate and reward their worth. Africa's best brains are domiciled abroad. Any wonder the late Adesanmi was a Canadian citizen as well as a holder of the American Green card! Patriotic zeal, however, didn't allow him to forget his Nigerian roots.

But what an enigma the late Adesanmi was? He was christened Pius (meaning 'forthright', 'Straight', 'Upright'); Adebola (meaning 'the crown or royalty meets wealth') Adesanmi (meaning 'the crown or royalty fits me')! And my did he live up to those names!

Pius Adesanmi posing on a chair

He lived for forty-seven years; forty-seven short but highly impactful years! And even in death his works and legacies live and still speak. He is more influential and popular in death than in life. That is the kind of legacy I want to leave behind. To be speaking and impacting lives long after I'm gone.

What kind of man writes his own epitaph as well as predict his own death? Well, the late Adesanmi did! He wrote his own obituary six years ago. Hear him

“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.”
And fly away home did he do on 10th March 2019! His last  Facebook post as observed on his wall was

“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.”
... posted on 6:56am on 9th March 2019, a day before embarking on his final journey aboard  Ethiopian airlines

Pius Adesanmi last post on Twitter

Despite his tight schedule, he still managed to find the time to connect with his family especially his daughter, Tise. In the picture below he is seen carrying her the traditional Nigerian way. As a result of his frequent travelling which kept him away from home most times, he cherished and maximised every opportunity he had to be with his family. What a man! A family man indeed! You may want to read on my definition of a man here

Pius Adsanmi and Daughter

But as everyone on this side of eternity would experience sooner or later, death came calling and Pius Adesanmi bowed out. He bowed out whilst the ovation was loudest. He bowed out a fulfilled man who had emptied himself leaving indelible footprints in the sands of time.

Adieu great son of Africa!
Adieu citizen of the world !!
You lived with the end in mind;
Living to better the lot of  humanity especially Africa,
Whilst alive, you strode the earth like a colossus,
Even in death, you live and speak through your works,
May your soul find rest in your Creator!!!
In conclusion, death is a common denominator for all mankind. "It is appointed for man to die once... the Manual for life declares. How are you preparing for this all-important appointment with your Creator? Would you be ready and
confident like the late Adesanmi?

And then I saw all the dead, great and small, standing there—before the Throne! And books were opened. Then another book was opened: the Book of Life. The dead were judged by what was written in the books, by the way they had lived. Sea released its dead, Death and Hell turned in their dead. Each man and woman was judged by the way he or she had lived. Then Death and Hell were hurled into Lake Fire. This is the second death—Lake Fire. Anyone whose name was not found inscribed in the Book of Life was hurled into Lake Fire.
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