By Ifeanyi Ndukwe and Ogochukwu Nwaokafor
The need to immortalise legendary author, Prof Chukwuemeka lke, has been stressed. The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, stated this in his address of welcome at the maiden edition of the Nigeria Book Foundation in collaboration with the Anambra State Ministry of Education and the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Awka.
According to the monarch, he had known the author from his university days as someone whose writing inspired many people; even as he promised to keep celebrating the author as an icon
The event, which took place on Friday, April 28, at the state library complex in Awka, attracted dignitaries from the political, traditional, academic and literary world.
In her opening remarks, the chairman, organising committee, Prof Stella Okunna, thanked all for honouring the invitation to celebrate one of Nigeria’s finest writers. She encouraged the younger generation to emulate the qualities of Chukwuemeka lke and imbibe good reading culture.
The former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, who was the special guest of honour, in his speech, saud he had known Prof Chukwuemeka lke since his secondary school days as a good writer and strong advocate of due process.
He described the late literary icon as a celebrity in every part of the world because of his good works and knowledge.
He urged the students to always take their education seriously and exhibit good morals so as to be celebrated, as according to him, no man could ever be celebrated for money, but for knowledge and good deeds just like the late author.
Speaking at the occasion, the governor of Anambra state, represented by the Commissioner for Basic Education, Mrs Chuma Udeh, said Governor Soludo was optimistic of establishing facilities to enhance and promote education and good reading culture in the state.
‘Chukwuemeka Ike is a genius. His writings stood the test of time and addressed societal ills and verisimilitudes,’ she said.
In addition, the chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Anambra State Council, Comrade Emeka Odogwu, appealed for the immortalisation of the legendary writer. He said the late author stood out for justice and equity in his works as ‘A true son of Anambra Land.’
In his keynote speech, “Remembering Chukwuemeka lke”; the Director, Centre for Arts and lndigenous Studies, lBB University, Lapai, Prof Sule Emmanuel Egya, lauded the legendary author for his impact to the literary world.
According to him, Chukwuemeka lke was a force to reckon with in Nigerian Literature. He praised his various works, citing what he described as their didactic impacts on our Nigerian society.
He appealed that public and private organisations do more by immortalising him. through the establishment of what he termed, a writer’s residency, to be located in his community and encouraged higher institutions to organise an annual conference to appraise his works.
In his vote of thanks, the chief host, His Majesty EZE IWEKA of Obosi 111, thanked the Soludo led Government and members of the Nigeria Book Foundation for initiating the programme. He called on youths to identify, adopt and promote the lgbo Language and Culture. This was even as he advised youths to shun violence and cultism.