Vincent Ikeotuonye: The Omekannaya Goes Home


Mary Ekah

He was probably the best bass guitarist ever to hit the Nigerian music scene. Those who knew Sweet Breeze, the popular Nigerian music group of the late seventies and eighties may have a clue. Chief Vincent Chukwunyelu Ikeotuonye, popularly called Omenkanaya by friends and family members, was born on December 9, 1952 as the first child to a renowned educationist, first and second republic politician, late Hon. V.C Ikeotuonye, and his first wife, Mrs. Christy Ikeotuonye. His father was the founder and proprietor of Zixton grammar and public school.

Last year 2016 was a great one for Vincent Ikeotuonye. One of his daughters had got married and the Government of Anambra State honoured him for his impact on the Nigerian music industry. However, on a routine visit to Lagos, a string snapped unexpectedly. A shock note pierced the quiet of his Lagos house, that afternoon, Saturday May 6, 2017. Without warning Vincent Ikeotuonye passed away.

A Vigil Mass and Christian Wake Keep will be held in his honour, today, Friday, June 9 at his country home while a Requiem Mass and internment will hold tomorrow Saturday, June 10 at his country home, Ikeotuonye Compund, Zixton Ozubulu, Anambra State.

Late Ikeotuonye attended Zixton Public School, Zixton Grammar School Ozubulu, Christ the Kings College Onitsha and University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) from where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. And, like his late father, Ikeotuonye during his life time was an active politician and philanthropist.

During his second year at UNN, Vincent Ikeotuonye, then popularly known as Vin Iyk, had hit music stardom along with his other colleagues in the band Sweet Breeze and was one of the few undergraduates who owned a car on the campus in those days. A few years after graduating from the university, he turned his back on the music scene, returned to his alma mater Zixton Grammar School, the great institution built by his father and began a career as a teacher and educationist just as his father had done in 1948 when he returned from the U.S.A.

After more than a decade of educating students and rendering community service, Ikeotuonye ventured into the business world of the nineties and gradually became a very successful Defence Contractor, combining this with running the family estate.
According to Iyom Christy Ray Okoye of Raynes Fabrics, late Vincent Ikeotuonye was pound for pound, one of the most fun guys ever. He did not just have a sense of humour. He had several. One could not spend an hour with him and not be charmed. He was a heroic figure to many people. He would drive a car or a truck and fix them just as easily as he could politicize or write a song. He was always involved in politics from his days as the co-ordinator of the Olu Falae presidential campaign in Anambra State to his final days as the deputy national Public Relations Officer in the All Progressives Grand Alliance.

He was crazy about soccer and could roar with mirth or outrage when watching matches. He was a gentleman but not the kind to back away from a fight. Late Ikeotuonye was not just a football fan. He was a fan of life. He was a fan of the arts. He was a fan of science. He was a fan of politics and culture. He so loved the environment that he shied away from the blistering light of the city. He hugged the beauty, the green and undulating hills of Nza Ozubulu.Ikeotuonye was an extremely knowledgeable man and engaged people with the passion of an enthusiast. He lived a life that made for a great tale. He had been struck by tragedy in 2003 when his wife died in an armed robbery attack on his country home, turning him into a devastated but unbeaten widower with five children. No one who knew Vincent could miss the special bond formed with his children through the years of having to bring them up without their beautiful mother, Nkem. Vincent was a great father and he was also blessed with the most devoted sisters.He is survived by his step-mother, five children, six sisters amongst whom is Iyom Christy Ray Okoye of Raynes Fabrics, five brothers, brothers and sisters in-law, a host of cousins and many others too numerous to mention.