President Muhammadu Buhari has condoled with the family, friends and government of Oyo state on the passing of renowned author, playwright and literary icon, Professor Akinwunmi Isola.
He said the literary world will surely miss the cultural activist whose steadfastness and dedication to the promotion of the native language as a means of sustaining the culture and tradition of Africans is worth emulating.
In a statement by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari noted that the love of the departed academician for the Yoruba language was never in doubt as he exhibited this through all his published works and speeches even as a student and throughout his academic life.
“The President joins the entertainment industry in mourning the loss of a producer and director whose contributions to the evolution and transformation of the entertainment industry from a disparaged genre into a major contributor to the nation’s economy will never be forgotten”, the statement added.
“He called on other academicians to follow the sterling qualities of the National Merit Award Winner and Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters who was more focused on the development and transformation of minds as opposed to material gains.
“The President prays that Almighty God will grant the soul of the Professor Ishola eternal rest.”
Similarly, Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State has described the death Isola, as a colossal loss to the state, the Yoruba race and the world at large.
Ajimobi, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on 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 state has lost a venerated son of the soil, who devoted his life to the promotion of the Yoruba culture through his creative works and huge contributions to the global body of knowledge.
“As a student at the University of Ibadan, Isola wrote ‘Efunsetan Aniwura,’ a play that remained a timeless piece in teaching lessons on abuse of power and retribution.
”His epic novel, ‘O leku,’ was also evergreen,” the governor said.
Ajimobi, quoting from William Shakespeare’s book ‘As You Like it’, said the world was a stage, where Ishola played his part meritoriously and gloriously exited to be with his maker.
According to him, “Isola was a blessing to his Alma Mata, Wesley College in 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, he was also a talented actor and astute broadcaster who churned out many plays, drama series and box office films.
“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 in Ondo State.
“But, in the words of William Shakespeare ‘All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances;
“And one man in his time plays many parts. Baba has played his parts and he has exited gloriously,” Ajimobi said.