Tributes Pour in as Novelist, Playwright Akinwunmi Ishola Dies at 78

Tributes have been pouring from all over the country as renowned playwright, actor, culture activist and scholar Professor Ishola Akinwunmi died after a prolonged illness on Satrurday.

Isola, who wrote the popular play Efunsetan Aniwura when he was a student of the University of Ibadan in 1961 died at his residence in the ancient city at the age of 78.

“Baba has gone,” said a family source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, The Nation writes.

“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.”

Other popular works of the late Ishola include Madam Tinubu, Oleku and Olu Omo.

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 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,” the governor, in a statement by his Special Adviser, Communication and Strategy, Yomi Layinka, said.

“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, praised Akinwumi for his passion for Yoruba culture, language and tradition.

“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,” he said.

Ovation Publisher, Dele Momodu, also confirmed the death in a Facebook post.

“Sad to receive the news that Nigeria has lost the legendary writer PROF AKINWUNMI ISOLA, my former lecturer and supervisor; author of O LE KU and EFUNSETAN ANIWURA and others… Rest in Peace Sir…,” Momodu wrote.

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