Tragic! Professor Pius Adesanmi dies in the Ethiopia Airlines crash

Tragic! Professor Pius Adesanmi dies in the Ethiopia Airlines crash

Sunday, March 10, 2019 7:32 pm

Pius Adesanmi

By Ademola Adegbamigbe

Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian professor with Carlton University in Canada, was among those that died this morning on the Ethiopia airline plane that crashed. He was on his way to attend the AU ECOSOCC committee meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

John O. Oba put it on Twitter thus:

“John O. Oba
I just got information that Professor Pius Adesanmi, a Nigerian professor with Carlton University in Canada was among those that died this morning on the ill fated Ethiopia airline. On his way to attend the AU ECOSOCC committee meeting in Nairobi. RIP. @pius_adesanmi, @Canada”

Also, Mireille Tushiminina, one of the coordinators of the meeting, wrote:

“CIDO has an ECOSOCC meeting organized in Nairobi. Although all AU staff and most participants are safe we have lost two participants coming from the diaspora. Prof Pius Adesanmi, Carlton University in Canada. One of the few professors who taught about the AU and Agenda 2063; & Mr Karim Safi, one of the most active Diaspora youth in Europe and one of the founders of African Diaspora Youth in Europe (ADYFE). We pray for their souls and for their loved ones at this time.”

For hours on Sunday morning, that a Nigerian was aboard that flight was trending. Since Adesanmi was traveling on his Canadian passport, none pinned his name to the tragedy.

However, TheNEWS just gathered from a reliable source that a high profile Nigerian, Amb. Abiodun Bashua was in that crash. The source revealed: “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.”

The Ethiopian Airlines, on Sunday, announced that its flight ET 302/March 10 in schedule service from Addis Ababa to Nairobi was involved in an accident around Bishoftu in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia.

Mr. Abiodun Oluremi Bashua, a UNAMID Ambassador

The Airline made the announcement in its Accident Bulletin, posted on its website, on Sunday.

It said that the aircraft B-737-800MAX with registration number ET- AVJ took off at 8.3 a.m. local time from Addis Ababa, Bole International Airport and lost contact at 8.44 a.m.

“At this time search and rescue operations are in progress and we have no confirmed information about survivors or any possible causalities.

“Ethiopian Airlines staff will be sent to the accident scene and will do everything possible to assist the emergency services.

“It is believed that there were 149 passengers and eight crew onboard the flight but we are currently confirming the details of the passenger manifest for the flight.”

Ethiopian airline:

“Ethiopian Airlines is establishing a passenger information center and telephone number will be available shortly for family or friends of those who may have been on flight ET 302/March 10.

“Ethiopian Airlines will release further information as soon as it is available. Updated information will also be on Ethiopian Airlines website at

Professor Okey Ndibe wrote: “ I’m near-speechless, nothing short of devastated to learn that the ever-ebullient, effervescent, larger-than-life scholar, gadfly and kindred spirit, Pius Adesanmi (right in the photo), died in the Ethiopian Airline jet that crashed earlier today shortly after take-off in Addis Ababa. I’ve been inundated with phone calls since news started swirling that the guy numerous friends and I called Payo was on the doomed flight. Only last year, Pius survived a horrific automobile accident in Nigeria. And now, the stilling of a voice that was vibrant and tough and irrepressible, a voice needed in our world, now more than ever. There’s no bottom to the shock, no window out of the grief. May his spirit find eternal rest, and may his wife and young daughter count on all the many hearts that celebrated and now mourn this too-soon-departed wordsmith

L-R: Professors Okey Ndibe, Nduka Otiono and Pius Adesanmi

Ogaga Ifowodo, also submitted:

“What or who do I curse? The day? The plane? The makers of the new technology-driven plane on which my friend and my brother was flying from Addis Ababa to Nairobi? Ah, death! And the stealth and many ways it comes! But it should never ever have set its sights on Pius, again, having tried and failed last year. Ah, Pius, you survived that road accident, and marvelled that you did: “I still don’t know how and why I survived,” you wrote to me. And death shamed that you had proved stronger than it on the road stalked you in the air. Ah, Pius, Pius, my brother Pius . . . From the campus of the University of Ibadan, to the campuses of Penn State University, College Station, and Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, and that visit to Jersey City in 2007 when I was finishing my dissertation (here’s the photo of us together on the Hudson River Walk), and all the places too many where we were together alone or with mutual friends . . . I can’t bring myself to say rest in peace and yet I must wish your restless, fecund, passionate and patriotic (how much you ached and wrote to save Nigeria!) soul eternal rest. Well, then, rest. You did more in your short life than many can living the fullness of their days. Rest in peace, my friend, my brother.”

Ogaga Ifowodo, left, and Adesanmi

In July 2018, Adesanmi was involved in an accident along Oyo-Ogbomosho road. He was on his way to Lagos from Ilorin to board a flight to Dakar for a meeting.

Adesanmi told Premium Times how no help came for him and other victims of the accident for almost two hours after the accident. Between Oyo and Ogbomosho, his vehicle – a Nissan- had a head-on collision with a car from Ibadan (a Toyota Privia). “Two hours after the accident, no help came. The evacuation culture was zero,” he said. He explained that people just gathered at the scene of the accident, wondering and shouting. Others were screaming and cursing. No one attempted to help.

Mr Adesanmi narrated how he passed out several times. He said a taxi driver eventually “came to his senses”, about two hours after the accident, and took the victims to the hospital. He explained that they were taken to a general hospital in Oyo town where they spent another two hours before they were attended to.

Pius Adesanmi is a Nigerian-born Canadian professor, writer and literary critic, satirist, and columnist. He is the author of Naija No Dey Carry Last, a collection of satirical essays.
Adesanmi was born in Isanlu, in Yagba East Local Government area of Kogi State, Nigeria. He had a BA (first class honours) from the University of Ilorin in 1992, a Masters in French from the University of Ibadan in 1998, and a PhD in French Studies from the University of British Columbia in 2002.

From 2002 to 2005, he was Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. In 2006, he joined Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada as a Professor of Literature and African studies. He has also been a Fellow of the French Institute for Research in Africa (IFRA) from 1993 to 1997, as well as of the French Institute of South Africa (IFAS) in 1998 and 2000.

For many years, Adesanmi has been a regular columnist for Premium Times and Sahara Reporters. His writings are often satiric, focusing on the absurd in the Nigerian social and political system. His targets often include politicians, pastors, and other relevant public figures. In September 2015, his scathing column on the decision of the Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, to take an underage wife generated substantial conversation on the matter, and even got the response of the Emir who responded to Adesanmi by name.

In 2015, he gave a TED talk titled “Africa is the forward that the world needs to face”.

In 2017, Adesanmi was a recipient of Canada Bureau of International Education Leadership Award.


The Wayfarer and Other Poems (Oracle Books, Lagos; 2001)
You're Not a Country, Africa (Penguin Books; 2011)
Naija No Dey Carry Last (Parrésia Publishers; 2015)[10][11]


In 2001, Adesanmi’s first book, The Wayfarer and Other Poems, won the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Poetry Prize.[12]

In 2010, his book You’re not a Country, Africa (Penguin Books, 2011), a collection of essays, won the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing in the nonfiction category.

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