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Chukwuemeka Ike: 50 Years In Writing

Posted: May 15, 2015 at 5:46 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Emmanuel Nzomiwu –  Enugu


A famous novelist and academician, Professor Chukwuemeka Ike, has advocated improvement in the reading culture among youths in the country.

Ike spoke in Nsukka at a ceremony to mark his golden jubilee as a writer, organised by the Department of English Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

Ike, who is the traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu community in the Orumba Local Government area of Anambra State, noted that improvement in reading culture was necessary to ensure that literary work would not go extinct in the country in nearest future.

He warned that if the poor reading culture was not corrected, generations yet unborn might not see books to read and know the tradition and cultural heritage of their people.

“It is unfortunate that young people no longer have time to read books but can devout hours to watch films and home movies.

“If this ugly trend continues, many authors may be discouraged to continue to dedicate their time on literary work as result of low patronage.

“Government should do something urgent to revive reading culture in the country so that history of our country in future will not be told by foreign authors,” Ike said.

He, however, urged upcoming authors not to be discouraged but show commitment and steadfastness in literary profession so that their books would serve as moral barometer to resuscitate the country’s culture and tradition.

“For you to be celebrated in the literary world you must be steadfast by sticking to creative writing, else poor reading culture and piracy will become a stumbling block,” Ike said.

The list of his novels include, ‘Toad for Super’, ‘The Naked Gods’, ‘The Bottled Leopard’, ‘The Potter’s Wheel’, ‘Expo 77’ and ‘Sun Set at Dawn’.

Ike said he decided to kick start his golden jubilee activities in UNN because the university occupies a unique place in his life as a novelist.

“As a writer, my first novel, ‘Toad for Supper’, was published in London in April 1965 and my second novel, ‘The Naked Gods’, was published (1970) while serving as the first Registrar of UNN.

“My years in UNN exposed me to major life challenges. I take this opportunity to thank UNN for the significant manner in which it has demonstrated appreciation on my modest contributions, including the university conferment on me of Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters in 1998,” Ike said.

In his remarks, Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academics, Prof. Polycarp Chigbu, said the university would not forget the immense contributions of Ike in stabilising the university as registrar shortly after the civil war.

“The university will not forget the immense contributions of the novelist as the registrar of UNN after civil war.

“Ike as literary giant has used his God-given talent in storytelling to educate people on good moral values as well as remind them of rewards that come from  hardwork and honesty,” Ozumba said.

Earlier, Head of the Department (HOD) of English, Prof. Damian Opata, described Ike as a globally celebrated creative writer who has written literature books that have imparted positively on readers.

“I urge upcoming authors to see Ike as their model given his numerous achievements in the literary world. The history of creative writers in the world will be incomplete if Ike’s name is not mentioned,” he said.

Opata said Ike is among relevant writers whose creative work has made and enriched many literary scholars.