By Yinka Olatunbosun
A foremost author, Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, has died at the age of 88. Ike was one of the leading post-independence writers known for works such as Toads for Supper (1965), Expo 77 and The Bottled Leopard (1985).
Born in Ndikelionwu, Anambra state, Chukwuemeka attended Government College, Umuahia from 1945 to 1950 before his sojourn to the University of Ibadan. Expectedly, his contemporaries were writers of the same generation such as Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo and Ken Saro-Wiwa. It was at the University that he was invited by Achebe to join the magazine club of the premier University.
His body of works were known to be rooted in his experience and the social realities of the period which were very identical to today’s. For instance, in Expo 77, the unethical conduct of examination malpractice was explored. He may have tapped from his experience as the former registrar, West African Examination Council (WAEC).
He often made his hometown a regular setting for his carefully developed storylines, characterised by simple language and interesting characters which made them the toast of many secondary school students in the 70s, 80s and 90s.
His other publications include The Naked God’s (1970), Sunset at Dawn (1976), The Chicken Chasers (1980) and Conspiracy of Silence (2001). Although most of the books are out of print, some of them are still very much sought-after on various online book platforms.
No doubt, his death is a huge loss to a generation of thinkers, visionary writers and the literary community at large.