Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Government has announced that the remains of the late Literary Icon, Capt. Elechi Amadi (rtd.), will be laid to rest in his family compound in Aluu, Rivers State on December 3.
Amadi died on June 29 at the age of 82 and the state government said the renowned novelist and poet would be accorded a state burial.
Addressing a press conference at the Ernest Ikoli Press Centre, Port Harcourt yesterday, the Chairman of the Elechi Amadi Burial Committee set up by the state government, Hon. Frank Owhor, unfolded a week-long programme for the burial.
He announced that the programme would kick off with selected plays of Amadi; Isiburu and Great Ponds at the Obi Wali Cultural Centre, Port Harcourt while the next day would witness the launch of his biography, a book fair and arts exhibition.
According to him, there would also be a literary day, a service of songs/night of tributes at the Civic Centre on November 30 while a mock executive council meeting would be held in his honour on Friday, December 2 at the Cabinet Chambers of Government House, Port Harcourt.
The burial proper, he said, would hold at the family compound on Saturday, December 3 after a thanksgiving service at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Aluu.
“We are expecting literary giants and other scholars from across the globe to the Garden City for this event.
“We are using this opportunity to invite the public to all the activities lined up for the week as it will not only be an opportunity to savour Elechi Amadi’s works at stage plays but also present a rare privilege to interact with great names in the literary world and the Nollywood industry,” he said.
Giving a snippet of Amadi’s works, Owhor said: “The Concubine was the first of a trilogy, completed by The Great Ponds and The Slave in which he (Elechi Amadi) illustrated a central premise of much African fiction. In portraying the character of an individual, a whole community is revealed.
“His last novel, Estrangement, revisited the Nigerian Civil War, but in later years, he concentrated more on plays. Several of these, Isiburu depict struggles between ordinary people and the supernatural world, but one of them, The Dancer of Johannesburg, faced up squarely to the moral obnoxiousness of apartheid.”
He said the state Governor, Nyesom Wike, had provided the committee with all that it required to give departed “journalist and writer” a befitting burial.
“I can unequivocally tell you that everything needed to make the burial of this man who took the literary world by storm in 1966 a success, ranging from logistics to security have been put in place as we have the full support of the Rivers State Government to prosecute this assignment,” he said.