Ikeogu Oke, the author of the poetry volume, Heresiad, and winner of the 2017 Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored by NLNG, has died. He died yesterday, aged 51, at the National Hospital, Abuja, after a protracted illness.
Confirming his death, Denja Abdullahi, the National President of the Association of Nigerian Author (ANA), told Daily Sun that the late poet had been ill for four months now. Oke hailed from Akanu Ohafia, Abia State and was married with children.
Abdullahi, while commiserating with the family and the Nigerian literary community, said, “He was a gentleman and a writer whose commitment to literature was second to none. We were together at the second edition of the Return to Mother Idoto in honour of Chris Okigbo in Awka recently. He will be missed sorely.”
Ikeogu, who had a Bachelor of Art in English and Literary Studies from the University of Calabar and an MA in Literature from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, was also author of Salutes without Guns.
In 2010, Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer selected Salutes without Guns as Book of the Year for The Times Literary Supplement, while, in 2017, The Heresiad won the Nigeria Prize for Literature, Africa’s biggest literary prize at $100,000.
In a statement signed by Diyego Okenyedo for The Splendors of Dawn Poetry Foundation and the World Poetry Movement, the groups commiserated with the Association of Nigerian Authors (Abuja Chapter) and the Nigerian literary community on the sudden passing of Ikeogu Oke, the award-winning poet.
The statement read, “Ikeogu was a dedicated poet and a supporter of the Splendors of Dawn and WPM activities. This year, despite his busy schedule, Ikeogu was a guest performer at the World Poetry Day 2018 celebration organised in Abuja. Ikoegu was one of the few Nigerian writers who lives on in his literary works.”