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Monday, May 20, 2024

Four Years After, Chukwuemeka Ike Resurrects with New Book in Awka


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The spirit of the legendary Nigerian writer, Prof. Eze Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike came alive in Awka, the capital city of Anambra State over the week, as stakeholders remembered him with an auspicious ceremony, four years after his death.

This reawakening ceremony, tagged “Remembering Eze Professor Chukwuemeka Ike”, also featured a call by the stakeholders for the immortalization and preservation of the legacies of the star writer, Ike, who was also the President of the Nigerian Book Foundation (NBF) and the Traditional Ruler of Ndikelionwu in Orumba South Local Government Area of the state, until his death in 2020.

Organized by the Nigerian Book Foundation, in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Anambra State Council, and the State Ministry of Education, the annual event that drew participants from different walks of life, also featured panegyrics and unveiling of a new book in honour of the legend.

Delivering a keynote lecture, titled “Like Clay in a Potter’s Wheel: Moulding Nigeria Back to Shape” at the event, the Traditional Ruler of Omor Community, H.R.H. Igwe Oranu Chris Chidume, gave an overview of Prof. Ike’s literary prowess and how he dedicated and utilized his God-given talents and potential to the service of the nation and humanity at large. He further harped on the need to mould Nigeria back to shape, to be able to realize her full potential as one of the most blessed nations of the world.

Dwelling on one of Prof. Ike’s outstanding novels — “The Potter’s Wheel”, Igwe Oranu, an industrialist, highlighted the various challenges bedeviling and retarding Nigeria’s development as a nation, among which he pinned insecurity as a top problem.

“…For any potter, if the potter is able to mould the clay in his wheel right, Nigeria will be well on its way back to shape. In other words, if we, as a country, are able to tackle our security challenges, I believe Nigeria will be repositioned to actualize its natural and true greatness,” he said.

The monarch further recommended true independence of all the three arms of government and the constitutional empowerment of states to legislate on and create State Police, as sure ways to mould the country back to shape, as, according to him, these will help improve the county’s security and also wet the ground for investments and economic feat to boom again in the country.

Earlier in her address of welcome, the Co-President of the Nigerian Book Foundation (NBF) and first female professor of Mass Communication in West Africa, Prof. Chinyere Stella Okunna, said the one-day annual event which marks the posthumous birthday of the pioneer writer and academic, Prof. Ike, also aims to commemorate and keep his beloved and cherished memory alive.

In their separate remarks, a Board of Trustees Member of the Nigerian Book Foundation and Traditional Ruler of Obosi, Igwe Chidubem Iweka; and the Anambra State Council Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Dr. Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, hailed late Prof. Ike as an outstanding intellectual and quintessential community leader, who left indelible marks and contributed immensely to the creative world and national development in general.

While recalling that Anambra State has given the world arrays of writers, whom Prof. Ike was one of; the duo also advised the youths to emulate such people of excellence, uphold their legacies and aspire to be greater than them. They further reiterated the call on the Anambra State Government to immortalize Prof. Ike, adding that doing so will not only keep his memory alive, but also serve as motivation to others, especially the young ones, while also adding value to the society.

Also speaking, the State Commissioner for Education representative, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh described late Prof. Ike as a totem of excellence and one of the greatest assets Anambra State ever had, adding that the late literary icon is already being so dearly missed by Nigeria and the world at large. She, however, solaced that the literary star still lives on, through his works; as, according to her, writers never die.

Contributing, the Traditional Ruler of Umueri, Igwe Ben Emeka and that of Abacha, Igwe Godwin Odimegwu, commended the organizers of the event for such initiative, even as they stressed on the need for Nigerians to learn to admire and celebrate person for his knowledge, integrity and impact, rather than just for their money, as is common in the society today.

The event featured performances by Ajambele Kids and kids from FTC Performing Arts, as well as poetic performance of Igwe Chidubem Iweka’s poem, titled “Visible Virus”, which bewails the corruption in the Nigeria system, as was delivered by Oma Iweka.

It also featured the unveiling and presentation of an Igbo book, titled “Nka na Akaọrụ Ndị Igbo” (published by the NBF and reviewed by Izunna Okafor) in honour and memory of Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike; as well as students’ quiz competition on one of his novels, “The Potter’s Wheel”, as was judged by Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo and Prof. Ngozi Ezenwa-Ohaetoo.

This saw Igwebuike Grammar School, Awka emerge the champion, followed by the Capital City Secondary School, Awka, which came second, and Kenneth Dike Memorial Secondary School, Awka, which came third; as well as St. John of God Secondary School, Awka and Girls Secondary School, Awka, which came fourth and fifth respectively and all went home with mouthwatering cash prizes and copies of “Visible Virus” and “Nka na Akaọrụ Ndị Igbo”.

Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, born on April 28, 1931, was a prolific writer, scholar, lecturer, administrator, and quintessential community leader.

His works include The Potters Wheel, Toads for Supper, The Naked Gods, Sunset at Dawn, The Bottled Leopard, Expo 77, among others.

The Eze Ndikelionwu joined his ancestors on the 9th day of January 2020 at a prime age of 88.

More photos from the event:

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