Pius Adesanmi

The late Nigerian thinker, scholar and literary critic, Pius Adesanmi, will be buried on Saturday.

Details made available to this newspaper showed that the remains of the renowned scholar will be laid to rest in Ottawa, Canada.

Mr Adesanmi, a Nigerian-born Canadian scholar, died on March 10 when an Ethiopian Airline aircraft crashed shortly after take-off. He was among the scores of passengers in the plane.

Born February 27, 1972, the late Mr Adesanmi was a frontline writer, literary critic and columnist. He wrote a weekly column and was a member of this newspaper’s editorial board. Among his numerous publications is the popular book, Naija No Dey Carry Last, a 2015 collection of satirical essays.

Mr Adesanmi was a Fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa from 1993 to 1997, and later the French Institute of South Africa between 1998 and 2000. From 2002 to 2005, he was Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at Pennsylvania State University, United States. In 2006, he joined Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, as a professor of Literature and African Studies.

Until his death in March, he was the director of the university’s Institute of African Studies.

Shortly after his death earlier in the year, a poetry anthology titled ‘Wreaths for a Wayfarer: A Poetry Anthology in honour of Pius Adesanmi’ was proposed for publication in his honour. According to editors of the book, Daraja Press (Canada) will publish the North American edition while Narrative Landscape Press (Nigeria) will publish the African edition. The anthology is expected to be published this year.

In his last interview with this newspaper, Mr Adesanmi spoke passionately about Nigeria and its perennial challenges. In his characteristically brilliant and sarcastic style, he described his relationship with Nigeria as an “abusive” one.

“I am in an abusive relationship with Nigeria,” he began. “No experience, no matter how horrific, can reduce my commitment to Nigeria. Nigeria is that malevolent, abusive, beastly husband who is physically violent, beats and hurts you but you remain in that relationship and people wonder why.

“Well, you know that Nigeria’s beastly, cannibalistic nature (she feeds on her own ordinary citizens) is the handiwork of a few. The road that nearly claimed me is the handiwork of the visionless animals in the political leadership of the country.

“To reduce my commitment is to surrender to our enemies in the leadership. As I always say, Nigeria is a struggle for meaning and we must not allow the filthy political leadership to have the last word in that argument.”

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