Adebola Ishola, wife of the late renowned playwright, Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola, has said her husband gave no sign that he was going to die anytime soon.
She told newsmen in Ibadan on Saturday evening that Ishola took a spoonful of custard on Saturday at 9 a.m and repeatedly said: ‘Thank you my wife’, before he gave up the ghost moments after.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ishola died at exactly 9.30am in his Akobo residence in Ibadan on Saturday.
The widow said that Ishola had on Friday night taken ‘amala (food from yam powder) and bean soup’ dished for him.
“He finished everything. My husband did not give any sign that he would die.
“We give glory to God. The children said we should call the doctor anytime we feel that what he could do, he could not do it again. I have been keeping watch on him.
“Early this morning, we had a nurse who came and gave him his bath. I prepared custard for him. I put milo in it. As I was trying to feed him, he was just saying ‘Thank you my wife’ repeatedly.
“He has always been saying that anyway; even when his friends were around, he would ask them to thank me that I am the reason he was not dead yet,” she said.
The widow said that she was worried when he took just a spoonful of custard because he used to eat very well, saying that prompted her to immediately call the doctor.
According to her: “I called the doctor. I also called the children, who are all living in Lagos, that their father was just praying and not taking his breakfast.
“He sat on the chair in his room upstairs. He did not say more than “Thank you my wife’. The nurse and I laid him on the bed. He immediately gave up the ghost.
“That was around 9:30am. Even, the doctor I called and the children were yet to arrive when he gave up. Two of the children are around now. .”
Two of the children of the deceased, Akinjide Ishola, a Lagos-based legal practitioner and Mrs. Oluwatoyin Shomefun arrived Ibadan on Saturday.
Among the early callers at the deceased’s residence were Mr Toye Arulogun, Oyo State Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the University of Ibadan, Ayo Bamgbose and a businessman, Dr. Lekan Are.
The remains of Prof. Ishola has been taken to the Anatomy Department, University of Ibadan.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu have commiserated with the family and friends of the late Professor and the government of Oyo State on the passage of the acclaimed academic.
They sent separate messages of condolence.
A statement by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President (Media and Publicity), said “President Muhammadu Buhari mourns with the family, friends and government of Oyo State on the passing away of the renowned author, playwright and literary icon, Professor Akinwumi Ishola Saturday morning.
“President Buhari says 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.
“President Buhari notes 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.
“He calls 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 Professor Ishola eternal rest.”
On his part, the All Progressives Congress, APC, National Leader, Asiwaju Tinubu, described the passage of Prof. Ishola as a huge loss.
In a statement Saturday night by his Media Office, Asiwaju said: “The death of Prof. Akinwunmi Ishola saddens me. It is a huge loss.
“Prof. Ishola earned reputation for his writing and work in the promotion of Yoruba language.
“To his credit are many celebrated works like Efunsetan Aniwura, Oleku, Kosegbe, Saworoide and Agogo Eewo
“Coming not too long after the death of Alagba Adebayo Faleti, we have lost another Yoruba literary scholar and culture icon.
“Though late Prof. Ishola was younger, both of them were like Siamese Twins. Both were playwrights and authors. Both worked relentlessly for the promotion of Yoruba culture and tradition.
“Alagba Faleti was born in Agbo-Oye in Oyo State and Prof. Ishola in the capital, Ibadan, both earned their stripes and lived in Ibadan.
“I commiserate with the family of Prof. Ishola for this loss. I mourn with Governor Abiola Ajimobi. May the soul of Prof. Ishola rest in peace,” Asiwaju Tinubu said.