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As Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike Joins His Ancestors...... By Izunna Okafor

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By Izunna Okafor



It was Haruki Murakami who once said that death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it —an aphorism buttressed strongly by George Eliot's apothegm that "Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them."


It is on these long-standing witty sayings that the Nigerian literary community received the her first shocking news of 2020, that foremost Nigerian novelist, who was also the Traditional Ruler of Ndikelionwu Kingdom in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra, Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike has gone asleep.


The news which ushered in the dawn of the second Thursday of the year was hitherto faulted and scored a grapevine, to the credit of two points —the source from which it came, and the terminology with which it was broken. 


By way of reaction to the news, it was rightly argued that, in Igbo land, Traditional Rulers do not die. In other words, in Igbo land, it is wrong for one to say that a Traditional Ruler is dead; instead, one could say that the king has joined his ancestors, is sleeping, is resting, or has fallen asleep.


Secondly, no one is authorised to disclose such information (that the king is sleeping) except the affected community's cabinets or Council of Elders, in agreement with the members of the royal family or the ruling dynasty, as the case may be. 

Although, people, especially the closest relatives or community members may be aware that the king has fallen asleep, they won't dare disclose it or tattle over it, pending an authorised disclosure by the right source.


Little wonder why, when interviewed on the hideous development, a stakeholder from the Ndikelionwu Community, Prince Emma Okoli-Ijeoma said, “'As far as I am concerned as a member of the ruling house in this Ndikelionwu Ancient Kingdom, I am saying that Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike Eze Ndikelionwu, the 11th of Ndikelionwu is not yet dead!

In our tradition, nobody opens his mouth to tell outsiders that the Traditional Ruler is dead. You don’t say it because according to the customary law of Anambra state, king doesn’t die!


"If at all there is anything of that nature, one would say the king has joined his ancestors. It is not the duty of anybody to tell outsiders that the king is dead. It is after the royal family has met and agreed before such thing would be announced. Not just a rifraf would come and say what he doesn’t know!


"So I am saying that as far as the royal family is concerned, we have not announced anything to the public, that is, if something really happened."


Also, in most cases, the Elder In Council may not even announce the news, except a replacement or heir is found, especially in a situation where the crown is rotational.


These formed the basis upon which the news of Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike joining his ancestors was held in the air on arrival.


Be it as it may, succeeding sunset and sunrise have unmasked and unearthed the rock.


As Nze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike rests on in his ancestral home and palace, Ndikelionwu, literary enthusiasts, fans and some other stakeholders in the country have continued to register their feelings and pour their tributes to the legend.


Breaking the news, the Anambra State's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr.  C-Don Adinuba said, "Goodnight, Prof Chukwuemeka Ike. We all drank from the fountain of The Bottled Leopard as students to assuage our curiousity for mystery. We were stunned by the shenanigans of Expo ’77 and thrilled, to no end, by Sunset at Dawn.


“As you join your ancestors, let’s pray you never stumble from The Chicken Chasers or undone by Conspiracy of Silence. Adieu, a great man of letters, a king who wore humility like a robe.”


On his own part, the Executive Governor of Anambra, H.E Chief Willie Obiano said, "I am saddened by the death of HRM Eze Chukwuemeka Ike. 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 exemplary life and the legacies he left for mankind through his literary works and stellar contributions to the traditional institution in Anambra State.”


Former PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said, “I mourn one of Nigeria’s prolific novelists and traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu in Anambra State, H.R.H. (Prof.) Chukwuemeka Ike.


“He will be remembered for his classics: "Toads for Supper" and "Sunset at Dawn" among others. May he rest in peace."



In similar tones, other literary enthusiasts and concerned Nigerians have also bared their minds thematically on the development, ruefully registering their reactions to the news and their tributes for the legend, as collated below:


Denja Abdullahi, immediate past President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) says:


"Prof. Ike's death was sad all the same but it was not a shock because he was an old man. He was a contemporary of all other first generation of Nigerian writers and his death was like the end of an era. We could say that the last of the titans has gone home.  


Tributarily, Abdullahi said, "Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike was a productive writer of several novels with interesting stories and catchy titles. You could locate his works between the popular and literary fiction genre. He was a very good satirist of the human condition.I feel that he was not celebrated enough like some other people feel. It may be because of his self-effacing nature and unwillingness to indulge in needless literary and critical controversies.


"He has gone beyond just being a writer to contribute to the development of the Nigerian Book Industry through his Nigerian Book Foundation. He was always there anywhere you invite him to if it had to do with writing,writers and the books. 


"Prof Chukwuemeka Ike will live eternally in the minds of all of us through his evergreen stories of the foibles of man."



Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, a published author, poet and literary enthusiast says:


"The passing of HRM Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, Eze Ndikelionwu is numbing.   He was an exceptional, gifted, resolute and most unassuming person.  I was privileged to be considered his friend and welcomed freely into his palace. He was chair of my book presentation in 2018. 


His tribute: "Eze Chukwuemeka Ike lived life fully and made enduring contributions to our educational system, literature, cultureand traditional institution. He motived many writers, even those who never met him personally. 


"He has immortalized his name and his footprints will linger for years to come.  May God grant him eternal rest and his dear wife HRM Bimpe Ike, the fortitude to bear the loss."



Okeke Chika Jerry, an author, publisher and literary arts promoter says:


"I was in deed shocked when I heard the sad news over the radio. I wished he stayed a bit longer so that this generation of ours will have tapped a lot more from his wealth of wisdom. 


"But I believe Professor Ike is not totally dead and he will never die completely because all his works are still breathing all over the world. "Rest in peace Papa ndi authors."



Odili Ujubuońu, award-winning author and literary enthusiast says: 


"This is a huge loss. Chukwuemeka Ike was a great inspiration to a lot of writers who came after him. The choice of subject matters he treated in his novels spoke a lot about the kind of man he was and the whole essence of his writing.


"He was never complex in his style and or his plot and that led us easily into the wonderful worlds he created. These worlds would live forever with us. Through them, we would keep remembering him. May his gentle and kind soul find eternal peace."


Reginald Chiedu Ofodile, author and international award-winning actor says:


"I received news of his demise with sighs. I'm told Professor Ike is asleep, which is a correct phrase to apply to a traditional ruler. His subsiding into sleep did not shock me. He lost his only child three years ago. It must have been a massive blow, and he was also in his late 80s."


Tribute: "Eze Ike was an engaging, fluent and satirical writer. He created fascinating characters and witty, wicked situations. I remember 'Sweetie' in TOADS FOR SUPPER, 'Peace Bozo' in THE CHICKEN CHASERS, 'Mrs Ikin' and 'Dr Okoro' in THE NAKED GODS... and many others.  I recall his books appeared under the FONTANA imprint, not the AFRICAN WRITERS' SERIES."



Prof. Sam Uzochukwu, Igbo Poet and Novelist says:


"Prof Ike's death is indeed a loss to the nation, particularly to the literary class.Though he lived to old age, death, particularly of an icon always evokes shock to the living; so I feel shocked by his death as his other admirers .


"Prof. Ike was among the respected writers, in the same class as Chinua Achebe, for which Umuahia Govt college was renowned. He produced novels that dealt with topical issues of his time. 


"Above all, Prof. Ike was a man imbued with tenacity of purpose. He never wavered on any issue he was convinced about. This quality of his was manifested when I worked with him, a few years ago, on an Igbo project for which we were appointed by the Anambra State Govt.

May the Lord grant him eternal rest, amen."





Untill he slept off, Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike (born on April 23, 1931) was award-winning and pioneer Nigerian writer, known for a mixture of lampoon, humor and satire, a writing style believed to be tied to his Igbo cultural upbringing.


He attended the Government College, Umuahia, where he started writing for the school magazine, The Umuahian, which published his first ever written story —‘A Dreamland,’ a work which set his foot on the literary space.

Some eminent Nigerian writers who attended the school include Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, and Ken Saro Wiwa, among others.


A graduate of the University College, Ibadan, Prof. Ike made a plethora of impacts and left great legacies in the literary and academic fields, and was conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award which is Nigeria's highest and most prestigious national prize for academic and intellectual attainment, making him the second Novelist to receive the award since its inauguration in 1979, the first being Prof. Chinua Achebe.


Prof. Ike's works include Toads for Supper (1965), The Naked God’s (1970), The Potter’s Wheel (1973), Sunset and Dawn (1976), Expo ’77 (1980), The Bottled Leopard (1985), Our Children are Coming (1990); Conspiracy of Silence  (2001), among other publications.


Away from the literary flank, Prof. Ike served as an academic in different roles such as a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, registrar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), and visiting professor at the University of Jos.


He was also the President of the Nigerian Book Foundation, as well as the first Nigerian to be the registrar of the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC).


Ike slept at 88.


As Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike peacefully joined his ancestors, Nigerian literary community, fans, and the world at large heartily bid him farewell and wish him eternal repose in the world of immorality.

Goodnight great man.





About the Author:


Izunna Okafor is an award-winning Nigerian Novelist, Poet, Journalist, Essayist, Editor, Translator, Publicist, Igbo Language Activist and Administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South L.G.A of Anambra State Nigeria. He writes perfectly in English and Igbo languages, and has published several books in both languages.

Izunna has received over 25 awards, and has over 2000 articles published online, both nationally and internationally. 

He can be reached via: izunnaokafor70@mail.com


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Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter) —the literary body that hosts Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture— is calling for submission of quality poems and essays from writers across the world, for her 6th Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.

The annual anthology is published in honour and memory of Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, a foremost Nigerian literary legend and father of morden African Literature. The prestigious anthology will (as usual) be unveiled at the 6th edition of Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture, which is slated to hold on 16th November 2021, at the Anambra State Central E-Library (also known as Prof. Kenneth Dike Central E-Library), in Awka, south-eastern Nigeria.

According to the Project Coordinator, Izunna Okafor, who is also the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers in Anambra State and Editor-in-Chief of the Anthology, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival is an annual literary festival held by Society of Young Nigerian Writers in memory and honour of Achebe, in celebration of his life, works, contributions and legacies in the literary field. 

The event, he noted, was initiated in 2016, and holds on Achebe's date of birth (16th November) every year since then, with the last edition held in 2020, during which the most recent edition of the Chinua Achebe Essay/Poetry Anthology —'Achebe: A Man of the People' —was published.

"It is with a view to mark this year's edition of the Festival in a more remarkable and memorable way that we are calling on both burgeoning and established writers from different parts of the world, to enter their quality and thematically-written poems and essays for this sixth anthology," Okafor said. 

"The anthology is in honour of Prof. Chinua Achebe; hence, only entries that relate to or revolve around Achebe, his works, his literary prowess and legacies will be accepted for publication," he added.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES/RULES:

1. Only poems essays/reviews are accepted for the anthology.

2. Entrant must specify the genre of his entry; that is, specify if it is poetry or essay/review. 

3. The poems and essays/reviews MUST relate to or revolve around either Achebe as a person (his personality), his works, his literary prowess/feats, life, legacies or other areas.

4. The essay or poem should be as brief and concise as possible — maximum of 500 words for essays/reviews, and maximum of 30 lines for poetry.

5. Author’s information —location/contact address, phone number, e-mail address, with a short bio of NOT more than 40 words should be included in the submission.

6. Submission is FREE and open to writers from any part of the world.

7. Entry MUST be the original work of the author/poet. ANY PLAGIARISED WORK WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED.

8. Only ONE entry per person is allowed.

9. Entrant may choose/write on any interesting title of his/her choice.

10. Entries should be sent to:

achebeanthology@gmail.com 

and copied to:

synwanambrachapter@gmail.com

11.  Subject of the mail should read "SIXTH CHINUA ACHEBE ESSAY/POETRY ANTHOLOGY (SPECIFY THE GENRE OF YOUR ENTRY)".

Example: "SIXTH CHINUA ACHEBE ESSAY/POETRY ANTHOLOGY (POETRY)"

12. Entry and its title MUST be type-written and sent in the body of the mail; NOT AS ATTACHMENT. Entries sent as attachment will be automatically disqualified.

13. Submission Deadline: 30th SEPTEMBER 2021

Late entry/submission will not be ACCEPTED.

13. Entry may be written in either English or Igbo Language.

● All successful/accepted essays and poetry will be published in the Sixth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology (soft and hard copies).

● Online promotion of successful/published essays and poems and the entrants.

● All successful entrants shall receive Certificate of Participation.

● Each successful entrant is entitled to author's copy of the published anthology

● Authors/poets of the best ten essays and poems shall be given outstanding recognition and Certificate of Award at the 2021 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture.

● Automatic/free membership and admission into Society of Young Nigerian Writers (for successful/published young Nigerian entrants.)

For inquiries or support, contact:

achebeanthology@gmail.com

synwanambrachapter@gmail.com

+2348163938812

Izunna Okafor (Coordinator, Society of Young Nigerian Writers Anambra Chapter).



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By Uchem Obi, Awka

The trending news that a faceless and unknown group calling itself, Concerned Lawyers In Anambra State, has threatened to report Honourable Justice Nwabunike to the Nigeria Judicial Council, NJC, for hearing a motion ex parte, is a poorly scripted comedy acted by charlatans, who are merely out to exploit the ignorance of desperate and frustrated politicians to make quick money.

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Ex parte proceedings are permitted in law when a party needs urgent relief that cannot wait until the other party is informed and given opportunity to respond.

In the instant case, a candidate's right to enjoy the benefits of a fairly won primary election was in danger of absolute infringement, if urgent legal reliefs were not granted. In simple language, Senator Ugochukwu Uba's hard won victory at the PDP's primary election on June 26, 2021 was in danger of being torpedoed  by premeditated efforts that were both illegal and unlawful, championed by unscrupulous individuals.

Given the urgency required to stop the illegal and unlawful attempts to sabotage the Senator's victory, the option of ex parte motion was the most germane legal step to follow.

Moreover,the right to hear an ex parte application is entirely at the discretion of the judge, who is trusted by law to make wise decisions.

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Uchem Obi, a lawyer, writes from Awka

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By Izunna Okafor

It was an uncommon manifestation of spirit of brotherhood and solidarity, as the executives and members of the People's Democractic Party (PDP) in Nnewi South Local Area of Anambra dumped the party and decamped to Labour Party (LP), in support of the Chief Obiora Agbasimelo, the candidate of the party ahead of the November 6 governorship election in the state.

The well-attended event of decamping and reception held in Ezinifite, Nnewi South, which is also the hometown of the Labour Party's flagbearer, Chief Agbasimelo and his philanthropic brother, Chief Godwin Agbasimelo, popularly known as Oga Ndi Oga. It also had the executives and members of the both parties in attendance.

Announcing the decamping, the PDP Chairman in the Nnewi South, Chief Alphonsus Ofoke, and the PDP Ward Leader in Ezinifite Ward 1, Chief Obadiah Obiaku said their decamping and consequent collapsing of their structure in support of Labour Party was informed by their understanding that voting should be for candidate and not necessarily for party, as they have found a worthy and more prospective and reliable candidate  in Labour Party, who is also from the same local government with them.

They also hinted that their former party, the disorganised People's Democractic Party did not favour or 'do them well' and has no known candidate, thereby making them see more reasons to decamp to the new party and declare their support to a known candidate, rather than wallow in illusion. 

They further declared their loyalty to the Labour Party and its leadership, even as they assured that the entire leaders and members of PDP in all the 20 political wards of the local government area would vote for Labour Party and their brother, Chief Agbasimelo, come November 6, maka na ọ naghị adị mma ịhapụ egwụ n'ụlọ gbaa n'ama. Ọ naghị adịkwa mma a hụchaa ebe a na-echi ọzọ, e jebe ebe a na-arụ agwụ.

Receiving them into Labour Party, the standard bearer of Labour Party for the 2021 Anambra guber election, Chief Obiora Agbasimelo hailed their courage to dump the old party and join the moving train.

He said, "Thank you for coming. You have come to the right place. Labour Party is a safe and peaceful party without any faction. This is the best decision you can make. Thank you for coming. You will see that when you support me, you will get there, and Agu Awka is our own. I welcome you once again and say thank you."

Highpoints of the event include the official reception of the decampees into the new party, as well as gifting them with Labour Party uniforms, and chanting of solidarity songs in support of Agbasimelo's candidacy, among other side attractions.


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By IHRAF, US


As part of her contribution towards curbing the issues of human rights abuse and violation in Africa, the International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF) has thematically released a new classic and international essay anthology.

Edited by Nigerian author and journalist, Izunna Okafor, the anthology, entitled "The Malady and the Remedy" is a collection of twenty (20) essays on human rights abuse and violation in Africa, written by essayists, authors and human rights activists from different countries in Africa; as well fifteen (15) inspiring human rights quotes by selected activists around the world.

According to a statement, issued by the Coordinator of IHRAF in Africa, Mr. Wole Adedoyin, who announced the official release of the new anthology, the 20 essays published therein are the essays longlisted in the 2021 human rights essay competition recently organised by IHRAF (African Chapter), captioned "African Human Rights Essay Competition 2021", through which which 45 essays were received from different countries in Africa.

He congratulated all the entrants who participated in the essay competition, and appreciated everyone who contributed in one way or the other to the success of the initiative and the publication of the anthology, particularly the IHRAF founder, Tom Block, who is also an American author and playwright; as well as the editor of the anthology, Izunna Okafor, who is also an award-winning author and journalist.

In his Editor's Note, the editor of the new anthology, Izunna Okafor noted that the publication was a fulfilment of one of the promises made while calling for submissions of essays for the competition, during which only shortlisted entries and entrants were promised publication —a promise that was eventually extended to the longlisted essays and entrants, owing to the quality of their contents.

He wrote, "Although only the shortlisted essays and essayists were promised publication during the 'call for submissions', it became really wise to adjust further to accommodate all the longlisted essays and essayists in this publication, beholding the perceived extraordinary quality, relevance and efficacy of their contents in actualising the overall goal of the initiative, which is to promote human rights values in Africa and positively influence the betterment of the human rights situation in the continent.

"It is the conglomeration, editing and publication of these twenty longlisted essays that gave birth to this classic anthology, entitled "The Malady and the Remedy".

"The essays published herein take both the form of stories/narratives, analyses, etc, to x-ray, bemoan, condemn and challenge the incessant abuse and violation of human rights in Africa, the unsafeness of Africa for human rights activists and freedom fighters, as well as recommend the elixirs to all these ills against humanity.

"Aside its intriguing, thought-provoking, informative, educative and didactic qualities, another most outstanding feature of this anthology is that the essays published therein do not just condemn human rights violations and make recommendations; they are research-based and deep rooted. 

"In other words, these essays experientially and comparably look deep into the history of human rights and human rights abuse/violation in Africa, the causes, the types, what and what have been done so far to better the situation, why those things are not yielding the expected results, and finally propose/present better and more efficacious alternatives to addressing this age-long issue of human rights abuse, borrowing from the experience of yesterday, the situation of today, and the projection for tomorrow.

"Indeed, this anthology is a must-read for everyone who loves human rights and freedom. Every human being deserves to be treated as a human, for his being. Freedom fighting and right activism should be for all and for everyone. Human rights are for every human; and Africans are humans. For every other thing regarding that, flip through the pages of this anthology, and come out a better activist."


Download the book through the link below:

https://ihrafessayanthology.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/themaladyandtheremedyeditedbyizunnaokafor..-1.pdf


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