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Pa Abraham Adesanya… His life and times

Posted by By TOPE ADEBOBOYE on 2008/04/30 | Views: 4409 |

Pa Abraham Adesanya… His life and times


His demise at about midday on Sunday wouldn’t have jolted too many people. At 85, not too many people would consider the late Yoruba leader too young to die. What would sadden many minds, however, is the realization that, with his death, the nation has lost yet another member of the fast depleting tribe of authentic heroes.

… His life and times

His demise at about midday on Sunday wouldn’t have jolted too many people. At 85, not too many people would consider the late Yoruba leader too young to die. What would sadden many minds, however, is the realization that, with his death, the nation has lost yet another member of the fast depleting tribe of authentic heroes.

Pa Abraham Adesanya, the quintessential Awoist and leader of the Yorba nation, passed on at about 12.20 pm on Sunday. He would have been 86 in July. He is survived by his wife, 83-year old Mrs Rosannah Arinola Adesanya and four children, including, Hon Adebayo Adesanya, Mr Segun Adesanya, Mrs Modupe Adelaja, a former minister of state for defence, and Mr Femi Adesanya.

Born on July 24, 1922 in Ijebu Igbo in Nigeria’s Western region, Pa Adesanya’s father, the late Pa Ezekiel Adesanya, was a popular traditional healer whose fame travelled far in those times. But in those days, even the late politician would hardly have known that his political activism would one day bring his name to the lips of many within and outside the country.

After his secondary education at the Ijebu-Igbo Grammar School between 1942 and 1944 where he came out with outstanding results, Chief Adesanya first worked as a teacher. He
eventually journeyed to the United Kingdom in 1958 where he studied law at the famous Holborn College of Law. His studies over, Pa Adesanya came back to Nigeria to commence his law practice as well as plunge fully into politics.

In 1959, the Awoist became a member of the Western House of Assembly where he represented the Ijebu-Igbo constituency as a member of the Action Group, then the party of choice in his part of Nigeria. In the Second Republic, he was elected a senator on the platform of the defunct Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).

In the dark days of General Sani Abacha, Pa Adesanya was deputy leader of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), that group that fought against Abacha’s tyrannical rule. That, however, earned him Abacha’s ire. On Tuesday, January 14, 1997, Pa Adesanya was attacked by some members of the military dictator’s notorious killer gang who rained hot bullets at him. His Mercedes Benz car was thoroughly vandalized in the incident.

The target, Pa Adesanya, however, escaped unhurt alongside his driver, in what many people have termed the miracle of the century. In a press conference he addressed later that day, Pa Adesanya fingered the government as being responsible for the attempt on his life.
Earlier in 1996, Pa Adesanya was among those picked up and detained by the Abacha government on allegations that they had a hand in the gruesome murder of the late Alhaja Kudirat Abiola.

After the death of Pa Adekunle Ajasin, Pa Adesanya was pronounced leader of the Yoruba race. As a leader of Afenifere, the Yoruba socio-political organization, Pa Adesanya’s word was virtually law in the South-West. He continued in that tradition until about three years ago when, owing to age related illness, the foremost political activist stopped making public appearances.
With his death now, the question that would be bothering many people’s minds is, when will the nation produce another Adesanya? And who now leads the Yoruba nation? Tough question.

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