Tuesday, July 4, 2017

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Fwd: Professor Francis Abiola Irele, NNOM, FNAL (1936-2017): R.I.P

Subject: Re: Professor Francis Abiola Irele, NNOM, FNAL (1936-2017): R.I.P

Dan Izevbaye <izevbayes8@yahoo.com>

Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 11:30 AM

To: Nigerian Academy of Letters <nigerianacademyofletters@gmail.com>

---- Begin Forwarded Message ----

From: Dan Izevbaye<'izevbayes8@yahoo.com'>
Date: Jul 3, 2017, 22:30:05
Subject: The Late Biola Irele

It is not a pleasure to be asked to do a sudden tribute to a friend like Biola Irele, formerly Professor of Literature at Harvard University, who passed away this morning. I am dejected, as everyone who knows him would be. But I am not made speechless by the shock of the news. It is just that with all the memories crowding in, it is hard to know where to start and when to stop. Biola is the kind of man of letters who appears once in a generation; such was his many talents and the force of his influence. For him, there were no barriers between disciplines; he moves as easily between literature, sociology, and philosophy, between cultures and languages, and among people of different races and ethnic groups. An entrepreneur in literary matters, he left an enduring stamp as critic, editor, teacher and mentor of younger scholars, and could have distinguished himself in the professions of publishing, music and diplomacy. Up to his last days, his intellect, the vigor of his mind, had not shown signs of not aging. Up till a few weeks ago, he still was working on yet another number of his top quality journal, "The Savannah Review," and busy as editor planning themes and in collaboration with scholars to whom contributions to the volumes of African literature to be published by Cambridge Press. Biola once said that he would like to be remembered after his days on earth as a Catholic raising his voice among a choir of the elect. And remembering the vocal quality of his performance on earth, what singing that would be. My heartfelt condolence to his wife, Eka, and his children.


Sent from my iPad


ayelaho@yahoo.com <rayelaho@yahoo.com>

Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 6:53 AM

To: Nigerian Academy of Letters <nigerianacademyofletters@gmail.com>

What a loss to the literary world. May his gentle soul rest in peace. Amen. Prof. Emeritus Raymond Elaho. Department of  Foreign Languages, University of Benin.

[Quoted text hidden]


Nicholas Akwanya <nickakwanya@gmail.com>

Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 6:02 AM

To: Nigerian Academy of Letters <nigerianacademyofletters@gmail.com>

May the Lord's face shine on him for ever.

Sent from BlueMail


olusegun adekoya <oadekoya2@yahoo.com>

Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 7:36 AM

To: Nigerian Academy of Letters <nigerianacademyofletters@gmail.com>

Professor Abiola Irele was human, all-too human, as Nietzsche would say. May his soul rest in peace. May almighty time bring him back when next it returns all to our planet Earth. 


Prof. O. A. Adekoya Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. +2348037298264 +2348059186247


Sam.nedum Ukala <sam.nedumukala@yahoo.com>

Tue, Jul 4, 2017 at 8:31 AM

Reply-To: "sam.nedumukala@yahoo.com" <sam.nedumukala@yahoo.com>

To: "nigerianacademyofletters@gmail.com" <nigerianacademyofletters@gmail.com>

Dear Secretary,


This is truly a painful loss. Prof. Abiola Irele was in the mould of late Prof. Emmanuel Obiechina - a perfect example of humaneness, urbane in criticism. May God accept his soul and grant his family and the literary world the fortitude to bear the pain of his departure. Amen.


Sam Ukala, fsonta, fat, FNAL

Department of Theatre Arts

Delta State University





On Mon, Jul 3, 2017 at 8:13 PM, Nigerian Academy of Letters <nigerianacademyofletters@gmail.com> wrote:


Professor Francis Abiola Irele, NNOM, FNAL (1936-2017): R.I.P

The President, Nigerian Academy of Letters, Prof. Olu Obafemi, fesan, fsonta, FNAL regrets to announce, the transition to eternal life of one of the founding fathers of the Academy; literary critic and the doyen of Africanist literary scholars worldwide, Prof. Francis Abiola Irele, NNOM, FNAL.

Prof. Irele died in the United States of America on Sunday, July 2, 2017, at the age of 81 years. Born in Ora, Edo State of Nigeria, the Late Prof. Irele had a distinguished academic career in Africa, Europe and the United States. He held teaching positions at the University of Ghana, University of Ife, University of Ibadan, Ohio State University, Harvard University, and Kwara State University, Malete, Kwara State, Nigeria.

During his distinguished career, Prof. Irele helped to expound upon the understanding of Negritude first theorised by Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal.  A prolific writer and author; Prof. Irele worked extensively and insightfully on African, French and Comparative Literature. He has left behind a legacy of sound scholarship in African thought.

He will be sorely missed by family, friends, colleagues, students and all those who knew him and worked with him.

May God grant him eternal rest. Amen.


Olutayo C. Adesina

Secretary, NAL

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