The Nigerian literary community woke up yesterday in pains at the announcement that a literary giant and culture ambassador, Prof. Chukwuemeka Vincent Ike, has passed on, aged 89.
Ike was until his death the traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu in Orumba Local Government Area of Anambra State.
He reigned with the title, Eze Ikelionwu XI.
Eze Ikelionwu a former registrar of both the West African Examination Council (WAEC), and of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was also a visiting Professor of Literature at the University of Jos.
An alumus of the famous Government College Umuahia and Nigeria’s premier College, the University of Ibadan, he completed a master degree at Stanford University before returning to Nigeria to work.
We shall sorely miss him. But we shall also find strength and consolation in his examplary life and the legacies he left for mankind through his literary works and stellar contributions to the traditional institution in Anambra stateGov. Willie Obiano
Chukwuemeka Ike, as he was famously known, was a multi-talented performer – education administrator, author, cultural ambassador, and community leader.
His post colonial novels are classic works widely adopted for teaching and examinations in secondary and tertiary institutions all over Africa and beyond.
They include such masterpieces as Toads for Super (1965), The Naked God’s (1970), The Potter’s Wheel (1973), Sunset at Dawn (1976), Expo ’77 (1980), The Chicken Chasers (1980), The Bottled Leopard (1985), Our Children Are Coming Home (1990), and Conspiracy of Silence.
He retired from academia to pitch his tent in his hometown of Ndikelionwu where his people prompy adopted him as as their natural ruler and king.
Ike and his wife, Adebimpe (who is also a retired Professor), had an only a son, Osita, who sadly passed on a few years ago.
Anambra State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano, described Ike’s passage as a great loss of one of Anambra’s “greatest assets and totems of excellence.
“I am saddened by the death… He was always a regal presence around us here, bringing his wealth of experience to bear on the deliberations of the Traditional Rulers Council.
“We shall sorely miss him. But we shall also find strength and consolation in his examplary life and the legacies he left for mankind through his literary works and stellar contributions to the traditional institution in Anambra state,” Governor Obiano said.
Eze Chukwuemeka Ike was born on April 28, 1931 in Ndikelionwu, Orumba North LGA, Anambra state.