Novelist, Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike dies at 88

Renowned Novelist, Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike has died at the age of 88 years.

He died on Thursday in Nnewi, Anambra State. immediate past president of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Denja Abdullahi, said Ike the death of Ike could be tagged as signifying the end of an era as he was a contemporary of the likes of Chinua Achebe, John Munonye, Cyprian Ekwensi, Nkem Nwankwo, Flora Nwapa, and so on who wrote works of fiction that defined an era of our literary existence.

“He was a socially committed writer of a satiric streak. His works satirise the foibles of the society and they are delightful to read with striking titles. He was by nature also a very humble and genial person who stood out in his contributions, far beyond just being a writer, to the development of the Nigerian book industry,” he said.

Ike was born on 28 April 1931. He was a Nigerian writer known for a mixture of lampoon, humour and satire. He owed a little bit of his style to his Igbo cultural upbringing. He studied history, English and Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan and earned a master’s degree at Stanford University.

Among many of the younger generation, he was popular as the author of Expo ’77, a critical look at academic examination abuses in West Africa. Ike was a former registrar of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

In Expo 77, Ike tackles the issue of examination abuses. He explores cheating through the eyes of a university registrar who is forced to hire a detective due to the lack of trust he has in some of his applicants’ résumés because test questions have been leaked.

The detective later discovered a wide variety of examination abuses; from the parents who demanded new test results for their children, to principals who allowed students to bring in textbooks for closed examinations. The author believed it was partly the corruption of the nation’s leaders that had permeated the society and led to rampant unethical excesses. In later years, the word “expo” was used in Nigeria as slang for academic cheating.

Ike’s hometown of Ndikelionwu has featured regularly in his works, notably Potter’s Wheel, Toads for Supper and The Bottled Leopard