A Respected Nigerian playwright, screenwriter, poet and actor, Akinwunmi Ishola is dead.
Professor Akinwunmi Ishola passed away at the age of 79. He was born in Ibadan in 1939, attended Labode Methodist School and Wesley College.
He studied at the University of Ibadan, earning a B. A. in French. Isola earned an M.A. in Yoruba literature from the University of Lagos in 1978 before commencing academic work as a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University.
The deceased was appointed Professor at the same University in 1991. Ishola wrote his first play, Efunsetan Aniwura, during 1961 and 1962 whilst still a student at the University of Ibadan. This was followed by the novel O Leku, all of which were made into motion pictures by filmmaker, Tunde Kelani.
Below are some of his works
Efúnṣetán Aníwúra, Iyálóde Ìbàdàn, and Tinúubú, Ìyálóde Ẹgbá– 1970
Madam Tinubu – 1980
Ogún ọmọdé – 1980
Belly Vellows – 2009
Herbert Macaulay and the Spirit of Lagos – 2009
The Campus Queen – 2009
Saworoide – 2008
Iwe agbeyawo: lori “Ogboju ode ninu igbo irunmole
Ẹfúnróyè Tinubu- 2009
Òrìṣà wo ló ń gun òǹkọ̀wé? -2009
Making Culture Memorable: Essays in Language, Culture and Development – 2010
Two Contemporary African Plays – 1992
“He had been sick for some time and was getting better. But this morning, he died peacefully. He left a good legacy and his life was a good example for mankind.”
Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi described the death as a colossal loss not only to his immediate family but to Oyo state, the Yoruba race and the world at large.
The governor, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, Yomi Layinka, said that he received the news of the death of the Ibadan-born culture ambassador and progenitor of Yoruba literature with disbelief and utter shock.
By his death, the governor said that the state had lost a venerated son of the soil, who devoted his life to the promotion of Yoruba culture through his creative works and huge contributions to the global body of knowledge.
Ajimobi said: “The late Prof. Ishola was also a blessing to his Alma Mata, Wesley College, Ibadan because he composed the school anthem, which is still in use till date.
“He was a man of many parts. Not only was he a prolific writer but he was also a talented actor and astute broadcaster who churned out many plays, drama series and box office films.
“Prof Akinwumi Isola was an unabashed believer in the promotion of the Yoruba language, which he once demonstrated by being the first person to deliver a university convocation lecture in Yoruba at the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State, which was very unconventional.”
A friend of the deceased and chairman of Kakanfo Inn and Conference Centre, Dr Lekan Are, who also confirmed the demise of the professor of Yoruba and writer of several Yoruba plays, praised Akinwumi for his passion for Yoruba culture, language and tradition.
Are said: “When his wife called me this morning and told me that Isola had died, I was shocked because I had visited him two weeks ago he told me that he was getting better. We had a vibrant discussion. He was excited to see me again.
“This is why I was taken aback by his death. He was a brilliant individual who made Yoruba history popular beyond Africa.
“He delivered lectures in Yoruba language. He wanted the language of Yoruba to feature prominently in our education system but unfortunately, this did not happen in his life time. May his soul rest in peace.”
Born in Ibadan in 1939, Ishola attended Labode Methodist School and Wesley College in the capital of the old Western Region of Nigeria.
He studied at the University of Ibadan, earning a B.A. in French.
He also earned an M.A. in Yoruba Literature from the University of Lagos in 1978 before commencing academic work as a lecturer at Obafemi Awolowo University where he was appointed a professor in 1991.
He worked with Kelani as a member of a trio of late Adebayo Faleti and late Larinde Akinleye.