I mourn my brother, Pius/

Pius Adesanmi was my brother, friend, and confidant, but I knew him first as a writer. In the early days of the Nigeria Village Square (NVS) website, I invited him to be an opinion writer on the website, which he readily agreed to. We formed a bond of mutual respect.

At the same time and back in Nigeria, my mum’s friend and prayer partner Mrs. Adesanmi would always mention one “Bola in the US”. Then on one of my trips to Nigeria, Mrs. Adesanmi gave me Bola’s number. Lo and behold, it was Pius! I couldn’t believe that this fine writer is so close to home. Not only are our families so close, we share some very similar experiences – same secondary school – Titcombe College, same university - University of Ilorin, mutual friends and acquaintances. That is how we formed a close friendship and brotherhood over several years.

Pius and I worked together on several projects. He helped spearhead the formation of the NVS editorial board along with the likes of Sonala Olumhense, Okey Ndibe, Moses Ochonu, Farooq Kperogi, Salisu Suleiman, Zainab Usman, Chika Ezeanya, where we penned several editorials called “The StandPoint” and made sure that the then President Jonathan read them. Our most fun project was the interviews with the presidential aspirants in the 2011 elections, including Buhari, Saraki, Ribadu, Dele Momodu. As Pius wrote later in “Nuhu Ribadu and the Oriki of the Internet”, “we set preconditions - no vetting of our questions and, of course, we would not tolerate the Nigerian nonsense of no-go areas.”  Pius and the NVS team also cohosted weekly podcasts “the hotseat” with several guests in and out of government. Pius helped organize protests against injustices on Nigerians at home and abroad, including the global protest against British Airways in 2007, to the Spanish Authorities and many more. On top of these, Pius would also find time to rumble on the forum with everyday Nigerians from all walks of life. I preferred to be behind the scenes, but Pius would always try to push me to be more “out there” (He eventually carried out his threat to ‘out’ me in his article titled “Iya Kii S’Omi Obe”).

Beyond these public activities, Pius and I formed a very close personal bond. We would spend many hours talking on public and personal issues. He would try and stop by in Chicago anytime he is in the area. He would call from all parts of the world to touch base.  I promised too many times to visit Ottawa, especially when his mum is around – a promise I never fulfilled and now regret. Pius has helped improve my rudimentary knowledge of our native dialect, Yagba and we were mulling to form a group of Kogi intellectuals that will rescue the State from its state of perpetual backwardness. We talked about starting village libraries around our district.  I insisted, I’m his Titcombe ‘senior’, but he was my mentor in many ways. He pushed me to start my long-deferred doctoral program and wrote a letter of recommendation to make it happen. Thereafter he ‘enrolled’ me in the African Doctoral Lounge, a Facebook platform he administered.

His last message on the African Doctoral Lounge last Friday was to assign his admin duties to other members. It was as if he knew. Then a few hours later, he posted a bible verse on Facebook. I’ve never known Pius to quote scriptures publicly. Now I know it was a goodbye message.

Sleep well my dear brother Pius

Philip Adekunle is a Chicago-based Business Consultant and convener of Nigeria Village Square