The Nigerian Novelist, author of “The Naked Gods”, Chukwuemeka Ike Passes on at 88.

After a brief illness, on the 9th of January, the novelist Chukwuemeka Ike died Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, where he had been admitted.

Born to a king in Anambra State, Nigeria, on the 28 of April, 1931, until his death at age 88, Chukwuemeka Ike’s life was a pack of so many beautiful things. At the age of 14, he moved to Ife-Mbaise where he attended Government College Umahia—the same school that Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, and Ken Saro Wiwa attended. There, in Government College Umahia, he would write his first pieces, for The Umahian, the school magazine, and he would be influenced by the teacher Saburi Biobaku, who had received honors from Cambridge. On leaving the College, he would attend the University of Ibadan to study History, English and Religious Studies; he would go on to Stanford University to earn a Master’s Degree.

Widely known as a novelist—having authored such books as Toads for Supper, 1965; The Naked Gods, 1970; The Potter’s Wheel, 1973; Expo ’77, from which the term ‘expo’ (a term for cheats in secondary school exams in Nigeria) came; and five other notable works of fiction—he was too many things to list. He was a former registrar of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the first Nigerian to be the registrar of the West African Examination Council (WAEC), visiting professor at the University of Jos, refugee officer and scout commander during the Biafran War, and, until his death, was the king of Ndikelionwu town in Anambra State. In 2001, he was appointed to Nigeria’s Order of the Federal Republic; and he got fellowships and grants from the University of Iowa, UNESCO, and the Ford Foundation.

May his soul rest in perfect peace.

Ernest Ogunyemi

Ernest O. Ogunyemi enjoys playing with words to express what he feels within, or wants to feel. His stories have appeared in magazines and blogs such as Tuck Magazine, Naija Stories, Poetry Soup and his poetry is forthcoming in Acumen91 (out in May) and African Writing. Currently, he is working on a short story collection: Weaving Fine Rhythms from Broken Tunes.

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