Ladipo Adamolekun: A shocking South African visa denial, By Tola Adenle


Reading Time: 4 mins read

Ladipo Adamolekun, world-renowned scholar, retired Obafemi Awolowo University professor, retired World Bank management specialist, and a Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) laureate, was just denied a South African visa!

In journalism’s best practice, first a declaration: Ladipo is one of my older brothers. It’s perhaps unnecessary for most who have followed my writings from the Western Nigerian-owned Daily Sketch in the 1970s through Emotan magazine, to The Comet and The Nation On Sunday – and my blog, – would know I always generally called a spade just that, no matter to whom my essays were about.

On Tuesday, 18th April, Ladipo WhatsApp-ed me a short message: “Kaaro. I’m skipping afternoon rest to monitor SA Visa application…” It was time-stamped 11:37 (at my destination it was 4:37 p.m. Nigerian time).

I was shocked as I had been aware of the application submission for about three weeks. Two minutes later, 11:39 (time-stamp), when I got to it after completing a response I had already sent, was this:

“After close of business on April 18th, South Africa Visa has not been issued to me. Please cancel my S.A. Ticket” (A message to his son), and this to me:

“Of course, if a delayed visa is granted, I’ll reschedule my visit. Missing the pleasure of spending April 21 with Kole and his children is a big disappointment. Must accept what you cannot change. That’s life!”

And bits of my response:

“… I take it not as S. Afr.’s complete fault; what kind of country is Nigeria? America won’t take a slight against a basketball star – or even a less-accomplished citizen …

“I’m just so-so angry, not as being blood-related but because Nigeria gets walked over like a door-mat all the time and the “leadership” class neither ever seem to understand nor care …”

As I was writing above on my small device, which also has one of my email addresses, I saw a notification from Ladipo on the iPad; it was a receipt to show the tracking he just completed. And here is the complete tracking message:

Here is the last bit of my WhatsApp response to this soul-destroying face slap, not just at Professor Ladipo Adamolekun, but to me, to all of us Nigerians, including those overfed and self-important supposed “leaders” – not only from this era but all those from w-a-ay back in our spiral to the pits of nothing-less-than-hell:

“South Africa? Et tu, Brute? To a distinguished Nigerian renowned all over the world for your contribution to scholarship? What in the world is “STILL UNDER CHECK” for a Nigerian, whose only passport by choice is the Green Document despite the fact that with all the inconvenience it brings during your many travels, you’ve refused to take any other country’s Passport?

“South Africa? What an ungrateful wretch … what a wasteland it remains, culturally … regardless of thousands of her new parvenue class.

“E pele [‘ti’, Yoruba for of; inflection on last ‘e’ calls for this)] Kole, o. I’m just mad as hell!”

Post Script 

[Kole – as in Professor Kole Omotoso – let the idiots (not the masses) in South Africa wrap their collective heads around the name of a well-educated and experienced professional who has contributed a lot to the teaching profession at university level when South Africa had very few of his calibre.

Kole, whose contribution to African literary writings is world-renowned, not only through his biting fiction but to many literary non-book publications. One of his three kids is already on his way up in another arts field, films. Akin Omotoso is an acclaimed movie producer, and one of his productions was presented at the annual Cannes Film Festival some years ago, and the other two are no slouches, either: an architect and already prize-wining novelist, and an engineer.

Professor Omotoso’s family and very close friends (he and Adamolekun date back to Akure’s Oyemekun Grammar School) plan to be with him – though ailing now – but South Africa seems unyielding as Adamolekun’s last tracking returned the same information which I’ve just received:

There we have it: A SHOCKING SOUTH AFRICA VISA DENIAL for Professor Adamolekun!

Finally, I have to mention this to the “leadership” in South Africa: at 80, Professor Adamolekun is not, nor would any Nigerian his age and even less his achievements, be interested in a job, ANY job, trading or physical labour like mining, what-have-you in S.A.

Born and raised in Iju, Akure North WHERE HE HAS MADE HIS HOME SINCE RETIREMENT, except for travels which see him out of Nigeria for three to four months annually, his most cherished accomplishment – as anyone close to him would tend to read – is becoming a NNOM laureate, the country’s highest prize for academic and intellectual attainment. It would be equivalent to the American Presidential Medal of Freedom in prestige and cache. They are both awarded by the Presidents of the two countries.

South Africa owes an apology to Professor Ladipo Adamolekun THROUGH the government of Nigeria whose help and largesse during apartheid was immeasurable, not the least among which was the education of her young citizens at Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan, during my own college days.

The slap on Adamolekun is a huge one on Nigeria.








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