Carleton University has announced a memorial fund in honour of Mr Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian-born academic whose death on March 10 has continued to elicit tributes from all corners.
Adesanmi, a professor, died in the Ethiopian Airlines flight that crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa penultimate Sunday, all the remaining 156 passengers and crew were killed alongside the professor. He was 47.
Although Adesanmi was born in Nigeria, Carleton University and Canada, where he had lived for many years, are mourning him as a national loss whose replacement would be difficult to come by.
Adesanmi was director of Institute of African Studies at the Ottawa-based institution, which has now launched a literary fund in his memory.
The fund “will support students and continue” Adesanmi’s “life’s work,” an announcement said.
A memorial was held for Adesanmi at the school, where he was praised as an iconic professor who lived a life of dedication to work, family and humanity,
In Nigeria, several memorial activities had been held in Lagos and Abuja. The events were well attended, including by Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki who hailed his ability to speak truth to power.
As part of ongoing rites to mourn Adesanmi’s death, Carleton also announced a poetry contest from the public.
A guideline of the contest, which is expected to exorcize the pains of loss through provocative poems that pour out their beating hearts with all-consuming passion, was published here.
“Well-woven “wreaths” in the form of Requiems, Orikis, Spoken Word, Haikus, Limericks, Lyrics, Free Verse, etc. are welcome,” the announcement said. “Poems will be assessed by their poetic quality, thematic relevance, technical competence, and emotive force.”
His award-winning book – You’re Not a Country Africa: A Personal History of the African Present – was groundbreaking. One of the most important minds of the African diaspora, he inspired his Carleton colleagues with his brilliance and cemented his close ties to faculty, staff and students with his kindness, thoughtfulness, enthusiasm and unforgettable laugh.