Nigeria has lost one of its iconic writers and educationist, Professor Chukwuemeka Ike, author of many bestselling novels, Expo ‘77, The Bottled Leopard, Toad for Super, among others. The late writer, till his demise on Thursday, January 9, 2020, at Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, was the traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu community in Orumba, Anambra State.
Born on 28th April, 1931, Eze Chukwuemeka Ike, (the Ikelionwu IX), who died of old age, would have been 89 on 28th April, 2020. In the literary world, Professor Ike was remarkable for his unique brand of fiction that mixes lampoon, humour and satire. His hometown, Ndikelionwu, was a regular feature in his writings.
Also, a former Registrar of WAEC and Nigerian Book Trust Foundation boss, his works have been studied nationally and internationally for school certificate examinations. His other works include: The Naked Gods (1970), The Potter’s Wheel (1973), Sunset at Dawn (1976, The Chicken Chasers (1980), The Bottled Leopard (1985), Our Children Are Coming Home (1990), and Conspiracy of Silence.
Late Ike was educated at Government College, Umuahia, same school attended by Prof. Chinua Achebe and Chris Okigbo. He went on to study at the University of Ibadan. He is survived by his wife, Prof Adebimpe Ike. His only son, Osita Ike, having died in 2016.
A family member, who confirmed his demise to Saturday Sun, said that burial arrangements would be announced soon by the royal family.
In reaction to his death, Anambra State Commissioner for Education, Prof Kate Onenugha, told Saturday Sun: “Chukwuemeka Ike is one of our role models in Anambra State. In 2015, when he marked 50 years as an author, we used him as a role model for our students to celebrate him in many ways. We have missed somebody not just in the literary world but in education world; in so many ways, drawing inspiration to write and teach our children creative writing.
Also reacting to his death, American-based poet, Uche Nduka, said: “May he rest in power. He was an inspirational human being,” while the Chairman of ANA Rivers chapter, Uzo Nwamara, said: “Igwe! May your journey be easy and peaceful. Rest on, great Umuahian.
For Professor Sunnie Ododo: “This Iroko has not fallen but elongated to kiss the eye of the ssky. Eze Ike, enjoy Celestial glory as you unite with the controller of the Divine Centre. Adieu.”
Professor Anthony Oha, in his tribute, echoed: “Silence has visisted Igboland. Quietude has engulfed our nation. Our voices have become mute. The calmness is unusual. Ike is gone. His pen was like a bone. Sleep tight even as the night is filled with bigger fights.”