Dr Ogungbemi Akinola

This poem is for my brother and friend Pius. After we graduated from graduate school at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, over 20 years ago, Pius left the country in pursuit of more knowledge, or better said, in the quest to challenge perceived better thinking. Pius was a gentleman whose intellectual business was greatly aroused by the love for nation states and the state of nations as well as challenges of nationhood. As it is expected of socio-political critics and the literati fraternal, from Soyinka to Zakes Mda, from Steve Biko to Chinua Achebe, from Nelson Mandela to Desmond Tutu, from Ngugi wa Thiong’o to Arton Fugal, from Bob Marley, Hugh Masekela, to Diawara and Homni Bhabha, from Frantz Fanon, to Chinamanda, from Alex la Guma to Ezekiel Mphahlele, from Dennis Brutus to Can Themba, to Camara Lara and Mongo Beti, Adesanmi concerned his mind with things not only terrestrial but many times celestial.


My friend challenged the emptiness of arrogant leaders, especially in Africa and questioned the hypocrisy of the former colonisers as he celebrated the traditions and cultures of Africa, many times through his humble Isanlu upbringing. He brought his grandmother’s teachings to fore, instructing the world that no people or civilization has the monopoly of knowledge. He questioned issues of immigration policies as well as border politics and the escalating threat to African unity. My friend was like Aristotle who, in certain ways, was a rebellious student who bothered little with gerontocracy.


Prof Pius Adesanmi is today remembered, not merely because he was born, but because he knew the reason for his birth and he pursued it vigorously. He was tall, physically, and even more, cerebrally. Pius was a man’s man. He was also a lady’s man. He was loved by all: the old, young and those in between. Adesanmi was feared by those he called out as well as revered by those who sat at his bosom for tutelage. Pius drank extensively from literary giants as well as gave suck to stage-bound future generations. He was generous with his frankness, speaking truth to power as well as glamorous with the praises he showered on those he admired. As you join our ancestors, Pius, it is to the memory of your life and work that I wrote and now, deliver this lines:



Omo Isanlu,

Born in humility,

Raised in credibility

The ancestor, now rested

Oga Isanlu rele re

Eso pele o, Piusi


Beyond the skies,

Behind the curtains

Vanishes Isanlu’s pride

Kogi’s pride

Oga Isanlu rele re

Eso pele o, Piusi


Dripping with grace,

Never dry to be forgotten

Only too shy to continue

Nigeria’s pride

Oga Isanlu rele re

Eso pele o Piusi


Jetting to and fro,

Chastising and chiding relentlessly,

Not too weak to progress

Only too clear to regret

Africa’s pride

Oga Isanlu rele re

Eso pele o Piusi


Beyond rhetoric,

Never forgotten,

Raising faces and hopes,

The pride of the world.

Oga Isanlu rele re

Eso pele o Piusi



©Ola-Kris 2019, Pretoria,

Specially for Pius Adesanmi. Our Pius!

The African Association for Rhetoric (AAR)

© 2018 by African Rhetor. template modified.

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