Okowa, writers pay tribute
By Henry Akubuiro, Perpetua Egesimba and Paul Osuyi, Asaba
NIGERIA’S Literary Amazon, Florence Onyebuchi Emecheta is dead. She died on yesterday in London at the age of 72.
Emecheta, who hailed from Ibusa in Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, was the winner of the 1979 New Statesman, Jock Campbell Award for The Slave Girl, 2005 Order of the British Empire (OBE).
She once described her writing as “stories of the world where women face the universal problems of poverty, neglect, violence and oppression…”
Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in a tribute, expressed sadness over the death, describing her passage as a monumental loss to the country and the literary world.
The governor, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, yesterday, in Asaba, extolled the immense contributions of the late writer to the growth and development of literature in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
The governor noted that the literary works of Emecheta promoted Delta State, Nigeria and Africa, hence, she will be celebrated by lovers of literature all over the world.
“Her magnum opus was The Joys of Motherhood. She was one of the most prolific Nigerian authors, having written more than 20 books. You can only compare her to Cyprian Ekwensi. Though she lived abroad, she never forgot home,” he said.
Nigerian writers have also reacted to the passing of the iconic female writer.
Novelist and a leading Nigerian literary theorist, Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo said Emecheta was an authority in African feminist literature, who rose to prominence with her unique feminist bent.
Head of Department of English, University of Lagos, Professor Hope Eghagha, hailed Emecheta as a writer who had brought the history of female oppression and exploitation to the fore.
“Why we really enjoyed her writing, in that she presented her own experiences in a fictional manner,” he said.
Prof. Femi Osofisan, of the University of Ibadan said “Emecheta belonged to that generation of writers, now rapidly dwindling, whose lofty minds conceived of art as a grand and holy vocation, a house of healing and dreaming and self-regeneration, a fountainhead of humane values.
“They are being replaced by the buccaneers of our new mercantile age. That is why the loss is so painful. Emecheta is gone! Goodbye, our grand old Lady of the Pen!”