By Ayo Alonge
Author of a popular Nigerian novel, Eze Goes to School, Onuora Nzekwu is dead.
He died last Friday in his hometown, Onitsha, Anambra State, at the age of 89.
Nzekwu also authored several novels. In 1966, Nzekwu co-authored Eze Goes to School and Eze Goes to College with historian Michael Crowder. His other works include Wand of Noble Wood, written in 1961; Blade Among the Boys, written in 1962; The Chima Dynasty in Onitsha, written in 1977 and Faith of Our Fathers, written in 2003.
He worked at the Federal Civil Service as Editorial Assistant at the Nigeria Magazine Division of the Federal Ministry of Information, from 1956 to 1958 before taking over as the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine.
In 1966, when the Nigerian civil war broke out, he transferred his services to the Eastern Nigeria Public Service and returned to the Federal Service at the end of the crisis in 1970.
Nzekwu who was a professor, a writer and an editor of repute was also the founding General Manager of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), from 1979 to 1985. In all, he was in the public service for over 39 years.
Onuora Nzekwu received the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 1961, which enabled him to study American Methods of Magazine Production with Crafts Horizons in New York. In 1964, Nzekwu was awarded an UNESCO Fellowship which allowed him to study Copyright Administration for three months in Geneva, Prague, Paris, London, New York and Washington.
On August 8, 2006, NAN observed its 30th Anniversary in Abuja, where the Agency presented a plaque to Nzekwu with the engraving “Maker of NAN.” In December, 2008, Nzekwu was conferred with the Nigerian National Honor of the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON). Nzekwu married Onoenyi Justina Ogbenyeanu, daughter of Chief Isaac Aniegboka Mbanefo, the Odu II of Onitsha.