I am distressed beyond comforting by the gut-wrenching news of Pius Adesanmi‘s death today in an aircrash. I don’t think I will ever come to terms with this tragedy.
A mutual friend of Pius and me, Bamidele Ademola-Olateju, moved to the Atlanta area from Michigan recently and reached out to me. She told me how Pius reminded her to call me so we could visit each other. We visited her and her family just yesterday. As you would expect, in the nearly five hours we spent at her home, we talked about Pius. Bamidele’s husband had fun things to say about Pius, especially about his travels to Ghana where Bamidele’s husband grew up. Their lovely daughter, Imani, took photos of our visit, which Bamidele said she would share with Pius today.
Bamidele’s call woke me up this morning. I thought she called to tell me that Pius had seen our photos. Instead, she told me Pius had died in an air crash! Because I was still in bed and not quite awake when I answered her call, I thought I was having a nightmare from which I would wake up. So I called her back a couple of hours later to confirm if she did actually call to tell me Pius had died. I was hoping against hope that it wasn’t true. She said I wasn’t dreaming, but importuned me not to share or confirm the news to anyone yet because Pius’ family hadn’t yet been informed about this.
This is a tragic national loss. It’s also an inconsolable personal loss to me. In the past few months, we missed each other’s calls several times and didn’t get to speak. That’s one of my biggest regrets, but one from which I’ve learned great lessons. I’ll henceforth be checking up on my friends as frequently as I can. This life is too transient to allow ourselves become too busy that we don’t have time to say hi to our friends.
Pius and I used to call each other “in-law” because my late wife, Zainab, and he shared the same hometown. They were both from Isanlu. When I lost my wife in 2010, he took it really personal and was one of the people who rallied Nigerians in the diaspora to offer me both emotional and financial support. Now he is gone, too.
Like me, Pius was always self-conscious of his own mortality. He always knew and said that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. That’s why I live every day like it’s my last. I’ll always stand on the side of truth, justice, and fairplay even if the whole world no longer sees merit in these virtues. It was Pius’ commitment to these ideals that made us friends. May his soul rest in peace.