By Henry Akubuiro
“A goat that stays under a breadfruit tree, isn’t it aware that a falling breadfruit can kill a goat?” That was the final coda in George Chijioke Amadi’s seminal collection of Igbo folktales, Nchikota Akuko Ndi-Igbo (published by Klamidas Communications, Abuja: 2020), replete with didacticism. But hardly had this unique collection emerged from the press when news broke out that the author had passed on.
A poet, novelist and nonfiction writer, Amadi wrote his first book, How to be A Good Journalist, in 2005, and his first French novel, La’ Tante Fine –Mama, launched by Alliance Française, in 2017. He also wrote Aunty Sumbo and over 1000 poems, published by George Amadi Media Consultants.
Fondly called Sensay or G-Poet by the Tripartite Group (1958/59/60 set of King’s College, Lagos), his alma mater, Amadi died on Saturday, January 23, 2021. As a prelude to his burial on Saturday, February 13, 2021, there will be a wake keep and service of songs at the deceased residence at No. 20 Edun Street, Shogunle, Oshodi, Lagos, today, at 6 p.m. The funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 13, 2021, 8 a. m., at St. Judge’s Church, Mafoluku, Oshodi, Lagos; while his interment will take place at Ebony Vault & Garden, Ikoyi, Lagos.
A statement by Busuyi Onabolu, on behalf of the Coordinators, informed that the Tripartite Group had scheduled a condolence visit to the Amadis on Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 11 a. m, at their Mafoluku, Oshodi, residence.
Speaking to Daily Sun, Dr. Bukar Usman, whose foundation sponsored the research and publication of Amadi’s Nchikota Akuko Ndi-Igbo was shocked by the sudden departure of his friend: “It is somewhat painful that he could not live to sight the book, Nchikota…, which he laboured to put together and was published several weeks to his passing away. My messages to him that the book was ready and I wanted to dispatch a copy to him remained unanswered, as he seemed to have totally switched off from worldly affairs in his final days. May his soul rest in peace.”
Some of Amadi’s contemporaries at King’s College, Lagos, have also commiserated with his family on his demise. Victor Mbamalu lamented: “George, we are already missing you. May your soul rest in peace and may the Lord grant all those you left behind the fortitude to bear the loss. It is like you, SENSAY, to act in a style all your own. Your brain and pen poured out torrents of poems and now this eternal silence. You were like the setting sun which displays all its beautiful colours and then…disappears!”
For Eddie Ogunbayo, “The death of George Amadi, our G-Poet, is like a riddle that only Our God Almighty can resolve. May the Lord console all his family & extended members, as well as the other individuals like us who are missing him badly. May his soul Rest In Peace.”
While Oladele Oluwadiya was “saddened to receive the news of the passing on of George Amadi”, Charles Utti prayed for the “good Lord to welcome him into his Heavenly Kingdom.”
In his tribute to Amadi, Jaiye Franklin Fawale said: “It is hard to accept the news that George Amadi is no more; it’s hard to believe, because, in his lifetime, he was always bubbling. He was a Lagos boy, though of lgbo extraction, who spoke Yoruba language very fluently. Beyond that, he was a linguist.
“Whenever he spoke, whether in Yoruba, lgbo, English or French, one marveled at his gift of oration. He was an excellent entertainer, a poet, a dancer and a master of the microphone.
“George lived a fulfilled life, and I am certain that he would approach the gate of Heaven singing from Songs of Praise, that popular song —’Rock of Ages Cleft For Me’. May his soul rest in peace and the good Lord console the family and friends he had left behind.”
An indigenes of Orji, Owerri, late Amadi was, until his death, the CEO of George Amadi Media Consultants. He had worked with the United Nations as a consultant during the tenure of Ban Ki-Moon and the News Agency of Nigeria as an editor. He served as the Chief Press Secretary to former Imo State Military Administrator, Commander Amadi Ikwechegh (1986-1987), and also worked with Financial Standard and Daily Independent newspapers.
Born in the 1940s, he is survived by his wife, Ifeyinwa Amadi, children and grandchildren. With Nchikota Akuko Ndi-Igbo, Amadi morphed into a setting sun, leaving a beautiful trail. Present generation of Igbo readers and those unborn will remember him for collecting those deathless tales of yore for posterity.