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Pendulum: Tribute to Pius Adesanmi

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By Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, it is very difficult to write this tribute to a man one knew as a friend, colleague and brother, Professor Pius Adesanmi. Let me start from the end. Last Sunday started for me like every other Sunday, a day for relaxation. My son had driven to Oxford to pick me and take me home in London. The drive from Oxford on the Motorway was smooth, with little traffic here and there particularly when we got to London because as is typical of most roads in the capital, they are perpetually undergoing some repair or another at the weekends.
On getting home, I opted for a quick Nigerian lunch, something which is a rarity in Oxford and which I had therefore missed during my weekly stint in Oxford. Thereafter, I opened my phone to navigate through my social media platforms as is my habit. Suddenly, a satanic news item jumped at me. An Ethiopian airlines plane was reported to have crashed shortly after take-off. I was stunned. I have never liked such news, being a frequent flyer myself. I said the usual selfish prayer: “may we not have any of our family members or friends on it.” But truth was, that route, from Addis Ababa to Nairobi is quite popular for Nigerians. The headquarters of the African Union is in Addis Ababa and international agencies dot the landscape of Kenya which is also renowned for its amazing tourist attractions.  The allure for fun-loving and adventurous Nigerians is best imagined. My mind continued to process the news and I twitted a prayer for the casualties and offered my condolences to their bereaved families.
I was still wondering what might have caused this unfortunate crash when my eyes roamed to a pending direct message on Twitter from a lawyer, writer and brother, Tade Ipadeola: “Egbon, something ghastly has happened. We have to believe Pius Adesanmi was on the crashed Ethiopian airliner. Travelling with his Canadian passport.” I screamed, “no way!” I immediate called Mr Ipadeola in Nigeria and he reiterated his earlier message.
I started working the phones and soon stumbled on another bad news regarding another distinguished Nigerian on the ill-fated flight, written anonymously by God knows who: “Just got this: I’ve just been informed now that we lost one of our own. A high-profile Nigerian, Amb. Abiodun Bashua in that crash. Those serving in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will know him. He was the former UN and AU Deputy Joint Special Representative in Darfur, Sudan. A complete gentleman. May God rest his soul.” What a terrible day this is turning out to be, I soliloquised. Ambassador Bashua is a brother -in-law to Bose and Gboyega Adegbenro, and I could therefore share in their pain and sorrow because of my friend and brother, Prince Damola Aderemi, whose mother, Funlayo Adegbenro, is the matriarch of the Adegbenro family.
As for Pius, who I used to call Kofeso, as a Yoruba corruption of the word ‘Professor’, I eventually confirmed that he had indeed perished along with Ambassador Bashua and 155 other innocent souls on that doomed Flight ET302. I knew his death would reverberate to far-flung places across the oceans because of his towering accomplishments in academia and the literary world. Kofeso, in his inimitable, simple but flowing literary style had written himself into the hearts of too many fans globally. At under 50 years of age (Pius had only recently celebrated his 47th birthday on 27 February), he seems to have achieved what most people wouldn’t have achieved at the age of 80 and beyond. I had become acquainted with him through his compelling essays and articles before we met physically. And ours was love at first sight, based on mutual respect and admiration.
My colleague and brother, Segun Adeniyi had called me in Accra, Ghana, one afternoon from Abuja, Nigeria. After our exchange of usual pleasantries and banter, Segun informed me that his close friend, Pius Adesanmi, would like to have my numbers. I gave him my consent immediately. Who wouldn’t? I was a big fan of his writing prowess, as well as his political interventions, even if we disagreed from time to time on various issues. I soon received a call from Kofeso and he told me he was coming to spend some time teaching at the University of Ghana in Legon. I told him to alert me once he arrived and settled down, and he did. I personally drove to pick him from Legon to my home where we had so much fun devouring our bowls of pounded yam and egusi soup. We ate as voraciously as we chatted moving back and forth from mundane to serious issues. We got on so well, it was as if we had known each other forever. I told him that for as long as he was in Ghana, he had unfettered access to my chefs, whether I was home or not. He was such a friendly man and he would sometimes ask if he could invite his friends along and of course this was fine by me.  His friends straddled society and was a reflection of the kind of persona that Kofeso had. Needless to say, we all bonded as one blood.
Months later, Kofeso returned to his base in Canada but we kept in touch. I followed him on social media, and I admired his passion and love for our motherland Nigeria, a passion we shared, albeit with different approaches.
Let me fast forward a bit. Kofeso was involved in a ghastly fatal motor accident on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway last year. He was lucky to escape with his life from what I later learnt. Somehow, I missed the news but stumbled on it on September 7, 2018, and I quickly sent him a WhatsApp message: “My dear Brother, this is Dele Momodu. I don’t know how the story of your accident escaped me. Just discussing now with Segun. May God heal you totally. I will keep trying till I get you.”
Kofeso responded about six hours later. I didn’t realise the accident was worse than I had imagined. “Great to hear from you my dear Brother Bob Dee. It was serious o. 2 months later I’m still in physio and recovering from injuries. 2 people died. I am the only survivor.” I was shocked to my bones. “Lord have mercy… May their souls rest in peace.” I wrote. How could I have envisaged that that fiendish accident was only a dress rehearsal?
Surprisingly, barely 24 hours later, Kofeso and I exchanged yet another WhatsApp conversation, after he read my Pendulum column titled “Are Nigerian Youths Truly Ready to Run or Just Ranting?” I was particularly delighted by his beautiful comment: “Bob Dee, this tour de force has arrived in time for inclusion in my syllabus on youth and politics in Africa.” I thanked him profusely.
Our interactions continued unabated, and on January 24, 2019, I contacted him to be one of the three referees I needed for my application to Oxford University, the others being my former teacher at the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Chidi Amuta, and my former boss at Weekend Concord, Mr Mike Awoyinfa. As always, as soon as he read my message, he responded: “Apologies Bob Dee, I’ve just seen this. I’m in a seminar. Can I call you in an hour?” I said ok. He requested for my current cv and asked if there was anything in particular I wanted him to write. I simply replied: “Pls write from the heart. You know I’m a great fan of your style.”
 I pestered him a bit about the deadline for the submission of the referee’s letter. At a stage, he phoned and said “Bob Dee, you should know I can never let you down” and I was deeply touched by his love. It was such a great honour to have him write a reference on my behalf as an impartial and independent assessor of the quality of my essays and work. He finally completed the reference and sent it off. True to his word, I subsequently got confirmation from Oxford that all my referees met the strict deadline, and I was very grateful to them all including Kofeso, who had obviously been very busy and distracted at that time.
My last WhatsApp interaction with Kofeso was on February 5, 2019, after what seemed an altercation between us on Twitter. Some young guys had suggested that Pius Adesanmi had attacked me in a comment, which I didn’t consider as a big deal, but Kofeso was visibly worried to the extent that he privately fired some quick clarification to me: “Bob Dee, I can’t believe this. I just got on Twitter now and noticed that a comment I made pointing out that CNN would always badmouth China from an American perspective was misread by so many. I hope you got my drift o. What is wrong with all these Twitter kids and reading comprehension?”
S
ince I didn’t feel his tweet was anything negative, in the first instance, I just told him: “Nothing at all KOFESO. We live in the age of ignorance and intolerance.” But Kofeso was not yet done, and he raged on: “I am so angry. How could anybody think it was u I was attacking? E GBA mi o. These kids can’t read!!” Kofeso appeared like a man who had a deadline to meet, and he didn’t want our relationship destroyed by any mischief-maker. I told him not to worry because, sincerely speaking, I didn’t take it to heart, in any way, and I had not even considered that I might be the one he was addressing in his tweet, which as he explained was not the case in any event. “My own KOFESO, these young guys don’t know our relationship. Check my response pls.” That was my final response to him on WhatsApp. It never occurred to me that it would be the last.
But I’m glad we managed to speak before his unfortunate departure on the tragic flight. Kofeso had called me weeks back to ask if I would be in Nairobi, Kenya, this week. He knew I travelled a bit within the East African region and was hoping we could meet in Nairobi where he was attending a conference. I said I would be in England most of this week before travelling to Lagos for a youth empowerment program. It was our last verbal discussion. It still plays on in my head like a broken record because this was a most unassuming intellectual and literary giant as his writings demonstrate.
Death took away one of Africa’s best and brightest. Like too many people have openly attested to, it would be difficult, if not impossible to replace Professor Pius Adebola Adesanmi. He came, he saw, he conquered, within a short space of time. Kofeso flew away on the wings of time into eternity and the sure hands and embrace of the Lord, when he finished his assignment on earth, even as we, the lovers and admirers of his writing and and some of his ideals, still feel that we needed him more. Such is the unchallengeable way of almighty God that we must give thanks for his short but monumental life. A life in which he gave of his knowledge and wit to enrich our space and thoughts. Kofeso, we thank and honour you today and always. You are a pious STAR!
My sincere condolences to his entire family particularly his mum, wife and children. May his beautiful soul rest in perfect peace.
Adieu, Kofeso. Sun re o!
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COLUMNISTS

Saraki and the Tragedy of Victory

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www.securenigeria365.com

By Jude Ndukwe

Since the National Assembly elections ended in Kwara on March 9, and the current Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, lost at the polls, those who have lived in mortal fear of one of Nigeria’s finest Senate Presidents ever in history, have not relented in their infantile attacks against a man, who against all odds, wrestled official tyranny to the ground and eventually became one through whom God has preserved what is now our fragile democracy from being turned into a full blown dictatorship.

They have unleashed all manner of media attacks against the one popularly called “Oloye” by his fans, using pliable men who are obviously satisfied with being slaves, even though they are and should be living as freeborn, as long as crumbs fall for them from their slave master’s table.

To prove that Saraki was nothing but only a victim of his own rightful ambition, those who are bitterly persecuting him today under one concocted anti-corruption guise or the other, are merely doing so because they could not stand the audacity of his ambition to be Senate President against the overbearing wishes of the “Bullion Van Hawker of Bourdillon” and his coconspirators in the seat of power.

O, they wailed, they wept, they convulsed in extreme anger and could not believe that Saraki, (who used to be) a member of their party, who also had the legitimate right to be SP, beat them to the game as a master and battle-hardened politician that he is.

From then on, they marked him for destruction but he conquered them all to their dismay. Every trap set against him was neutralised with his soft speaking nature and deft political moves. He navigated their mines expertly, handling the affairs of the National Assembly with so much class that no weapon fashioned against him in the last four years thereabout prospered.

Despite being distracted with spurious court cases, phantom corruption allegations, none of which could be proven in court till tomorrow, official harassment, intimidation and desecration extending to the national assembly as an institution just to weaken and humiliate him, Saraki still kept the senate together, and will be stepping down in great glory as the “Senate President no one could remove”.

No matter what anybody says, the fact remains that Saraki will be leaving the senate as Senate President on his own terms.

The ignominy which his traducers tried their best to rub him in did not work. He was one Senate President who walked through the valleys of the shadow of death and feared no evil, for, indeed, God was and is obviously still with him.

He was professional in his approach to duty that not even for once did he allow his persecution by the executive negatively affect his sense of patriotism in the discharge of his duties.

When passage of budgets has been delayed, it was because the executive either padded the budget with mind boggling figures or that the ministries and MDAs were nowhere to be found to defend their estimates. Because they have a leader who is either bereft of ideas of how the legislature works or he still sees himself as a military dictator who must not be subjected to another institution as president, they expect the national assembly to just pass the budget “as is”. Saraki frustrated their plans to turn the national assembly to just another appendage of the executive arm, or, into a mere rubber stamp.

The Senate under him have enacted laws and passed Bills that have far reaching positive effects on our polity.

Saraki might not have won his last election, he is a victor anyway. No man passes through what Saraki was subjected to by members of the executive, survives and still see himself as a loser!

Sadly, the real losers are those who won elections in Kwara at Saraki’s expense but lost their soul and beholden to tyranny in the process.

With the incessant killings, rise in terrorism, hardship, continued displacement of communities by criminal bands, extra judicial killings by security forces, perpetually rising inflation, job losses in millions, Nigeria becoming the poverty capital of the world etc, to the extent that even the wife of the president had to, in order to exonerate her husband from the mess our nation has become under Buhari, confess that it was no longer her husband that was in charge but about three others, these hack writers see nothing in any of the nation’s misfortunes to address but their headache is a Saraki they love to hate because he beat them to their own game and that of their masters to become the Senate President.

This is where victory is tragic, for those who celebrate the ephemeral triumph of gross incompetence, ineptitude and the embarrassment our nation has become since 2015, by chasing shadows and leaving substance behind just because, to them, the country may collapse as long as they keep getting peanuts for attacking Saraki, it is most unfortunate and the misfortunes of a degraded nation is their lot!

As for Saraki, he has fought the good fight of faith. Yes, faith, because faith demands that we must stand up to tyranny even if just to prick the conscience of the tyrant and constantly remind him and his foot soldiers that all faiths abhor the vindictive imprisonment of citizens for their political and or religious beliefs as we currently have today. He can go home with pride knowing full well that when our nation was at its lowest ebb, post civil war era, he stood up to be counted among the few who used their status and political office to engage tyranny and dictatorship in a head on collision and left the senate unscathed. He is, by all standards, a fulfilled man, a winner!

jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk; @stjudendukwe

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Spectrum: Tragedy of too many lives

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By Anikulapo Macmillan

Sometime, death comes like a puritanical to us when we hear the news of our beloved passage. It is painful to lose family in a bizarre. And it is a bad feeling when the shock of such an untimely death comes to us as misfortune. So, an English poet, Robert Frost, wrote vividly in his poetry: ‘’ and be one traveller/ long I stood/and looked down one as far as I could/ to where it bent in the undergrowth’’
It was an event of grief when the world mourned the ill-fated airplane victims in Ethiopia. I was perplexed about the lives of those victims. And it was later in the evening a friend dropped; what I called a parcel of sadden news on my Whatapp. When I saw what he wrote; I was devastated. It was like a joke not until I saw the news spreading like a fume on twitter. That one of our columnist cum essayist had gone too soon.
Indeed the tragic news was the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minute after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all aboard, who were 157 people and Prof. Pius Adesanmi was visited by death. It is saddened to the world that we don’t pay attention to death than to giving priorities to imperfectness because this particular Boeing 737 Max 8 has once crashed six month ago.
So, unfortunate, that we lost two Nigerians, we lost two Irokos; one as an academia and the other one as a diplomat. I met Prof Adesanmi at the AKE Art Book Festival in 2015. His intelligence was overwhelming. He spoke with too much tenacity. Since then I have been following his writing and wanting to read his collection of essays title: Naija no dey carry last.
Well, death has made March to become significant. It has made the month to become a symphony to T.S Eliot’s poem, the wasteland. That March is now the cruellest month, breeding death out of land like what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand when unknown gunman killed 50 Muslims in their mosques.
When I heard this particular news on Friday and I saw the footage, I thought, it was scripted like grand theft auto game. Hence, I didn’t believe at first; and later I began to see trending news on twitter. This shows that our world is molested by racial people. Those who believe that killing is the best way to live a good life are mistakenly wrong. They have forgotten that it is not humanity.
However, let me say, that any kind of incessant killings like this or the one that happens in Kaduna over the weekend needs to be addressed not only by the government but by the whole world.
It is pertinent; that by now, the perpetrators of the New Zealand massacre have not been arrested. Are we saying no CCTV cameras in those mosques? Are they not human beings or do they come with a mask? Thank God for the Nigerian Iman, Lateef Alabi who made us to believe that the news was indeed truth.
Therefore, it is probably a theory of ignorance, when the police by now can’t identify the culprits. Yet, the world is still not finding ways to stop all kind of carnage; that is also an albatross to security policies. Well, this is not the fight of New Zealand alone because those who were killed have families. And the trauma could cause fratricidal or matricidal.
Maybe what an Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci said: ‘’ to tell the truth is revolutionary’’ which means, the United Nation needs to watch out for killings like this. It is awful. That people life does not mean anything anymore.
Well, in this same part of the world, it is still disparagingly wrong, that after our general election, what we should have next is what I called: blood relative in my poetry. Kaduna has become a death trap in our society. It has become a place where we mourn of envy and religion catastrophe.
Death even came like tidal wave with a tremulous wailing from residents and onlookers when a building collapsed in, Ita Faji area of Lagos Island. School pupils are mostly victims of the collapsed building. While some die, and few that survived where at the state hospital. Hence, it is so painstaking that the Lagos government and the ministry of housing are ignorantly not performing their functions. This was horrific event as many dead bodies were recovered.
So, the federal government needs to understand that causalities like this are not expected to happen in a society like Lagos. However, those pupils now have trauma of such a malign that bestow them. And the Lagos state government responsibility is to start a policy on building because the lives of those who reside in those buildings are part of the electorate.
In this vein, such a death replenished the atmosphere in the eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 24 people. When I saw this news, I began to wonder why these tragedies come in March. Is it that the affected nations do not control their societal values? Meanwhile, the case of cyclone, In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is that the two countries have not properly fund their weather science appropriately.
Perhaps, death that comes in March is a tragedy to humanity. It is also a worry to country like ours that we don’t know how to control our citizens and their heritage. Because I know, if our airlines are good enough, Prof. Adesanmi would have flown ours or if our country is good enough, Iman. Lateef Alabi would have stayed back than to face the gossamer of death in New Zealand.
We need to bring the country we want together and to make conversation because it is paramount to have a good system than to have death toil every month when citizens die like prey. Apparently, I think it is time we needed to provide security for our individualism— not to witness scourge.
A nation that refuses to understand the people’s welfare is already in precipice and it is a disgrace for Nigeria to fail even though her politicians are into the epiphany of misconception and all sort of imperial modulation. Still like theme of Jack London’s short story, ‘’to build a fire’’. We need not to build a fire but we need to build a monument for our country.

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COLUMNISTS

Spectrum: Tragedy of too many lives

Published

on

 

Anikulapo Macmillan

Sometime, death comes like a puritanical to us when we hear the news of our beloved passage. It is painful to lose family in a bizarre. And it is a bad feeling when the shock of such an untimely death comes to us as misfortune.  So, an English poet, Robert Frost, wrote vividly in his poetry: ‘’ and be one traveller/ long I stood/and looked down one as far as I could/ to where it bent in the undergrowth’’

It was an event of grief when the world mourned the ill-fated airplane victims in Ethiopia. I was perplexed about the lives of those victims. And it was later in the evening a friend dropped; what I called a parcel of sadden news on my Whatapp. When I saw what he wrote; I was devastated. It was like a joke not until I saw the news spreading like a fume on twitter. That one of our columnist cum essayist had gone too soon.

Indeed the tragic news was the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed six minute after take-off from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, killing all aboard, who were 157 people and Prof. Pius Adesanmi was visited by death. It is saddened to the world that we don’t pay attention to death than to giving priorities to imperfectness because this particular Boeing 737 Max 8 has once crashed six month ago.

So, unfortunate, that we lost two Nigerians, we lost two Irokos; one as an academia and the other one as a diplomat. I met Prof Adesanmi at the AKE Art Book Festival in 2015. His intelligence was overwhelming. He spoke with too much tenacity. Since then I have been following his writing and wanting to read his collection of essays title: Naija no dey carry last.

Well, death has made March to become significant. It has made the month to become a symphony to T.S Eliot’s poem, the wasteland. That March is now the cruellest month, breeding death out of land like what happened in Christchurch, New Zealand when unknown gunman killed 50 Muslims in their mosques.

When I heard this particular news on Friday and I saw the footage, I thought, it was scripted like grand theft auto game. Hence, I didn’t believe at first; and later I began to see trending news on twitter. This shows that our world is molested by racial people. Those who believe that killing is the best way to live a good life are mistakenly wrong. They have forgotten that it is not humanity.

However, let me say, that any kind of incessant killings like this or the one that happens in Kaduna over the weekend needs to be addressed not only by the government but by the whole world.

It is pertinent; that by now, the perpetrators of the New Zealand massacre have not been arrested. Are we saying no CCTV cameras in those mosques?  Are they not human beings or do they come with a mask?  Thank God for the Nigerian Iman, Lateef Alabi who made us to believe that the news was indeed truth.

Therefore, it is probably a theory of ignorance, when the police by now can’t identify the culprits. Yet, the world is still not finding ways to stop all kind of carnage; that is also an albatross to security policies. Well, this is not the fight of New Zealand alone because those who were killed have families. And the trauma could cause fratricidal or matricidal.

Maybe what an Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci said: ‘’ to tell the truth is revolutionary’’ which means, the United Nation needs to watch out for killings like this. It is awful. That people life does not mean anything anymore.

Well, in this same part of the world, it is still disparagingly wrong, that after our general election, what we should have next is what I called: blood relative in my poetry. Kaduna has become a death trap in our society. It has become a place where we mourn of envy and religion catastrophe.

Death even came like tidal wave with a tremulous wailing from residents and onlookers when a building collapsed in, Ita Faji area of Lagos Island. School pupils are mostly victims of the collapsed building. While some die, and few that survived where at the state hospital. Hence, it is so painstaking that the Lagos government and the ministry of housing are ignorantly not performing their functions. This was horrific event as many dead bodies were recovered.

So, the federal government needs to understand that causalities like this are not expected to happen in a society like Lagos. However, those pupils now have trauma of such a malign that bestow them. And the Lagos state government responsibility is to start a policy on building because the lives of those who reside in those buildings are part of the electorate.

In this vein, such a death replenished the atmosphere in the eastern Zimbabwe, killing at least 24 people. When I saw this news, I began to wonder why these tragedies come in March. Is it that the affected nations do not control their societal values? Meanwhile, the case of cyclone, In Zimbabwe and Mozambique, is that the two countries have not properly fund their weather science appropriately.

Perhaps, death that comes in March is a tragedy to humanity. It is also a worry to country like ours that we don’t know how to control our citizens and their heritage. Because I know, if our airlines are good enough, Prof. Adesanmi would have flown ours or if our country is good enough, Iman. Lateef Alabi would have stayed back than to face the gossamer of death in New Zealand.

We need to bring the country we want together and to make conversation because it is paramount to have a good system than to have death toil every month when citizens die like prey. Apparently, I think it is time we needed to provide security for our individualism— not to witness scourge.

A nation that refuses to understand the people’s welfare is already in precipice and it is a disgrace for Nigeria to fail even though her politicians are into the epiphany of misconception and all sort of imperial modulation. Still like theme of Jack London’s short story, ‘’to build a fire’’. We need not to build a fire but we need to build a monument for our country.

 

@Babatunde_Mac

+2348076926109 or +2348090917041

 

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