Literary community mourns poet laureate, Ikeogu Oke
Nigeria’s literary community has been thrown into mourning following the death of one of its finest poets, Mr. Ikeogu Oke, who won The Nigeria Prize for Literature 2017 with his epic poet, The Heresiad.
Oke died at National Hospital, Abuja, after battling with liver cancer. He died at 51.
Former president of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Dr. Wale Okediran, said Oke was his alter ego, as he embodied some of his excesses as young man.
He said: “It’s really a great loss. I cried when I heard it.”
Also, spoken word poet, Mr. Efe Paul Azino, said on his Facebook wall: “How does one find words for this? Rest on peace Ikeogu.”
However, for literary journalist and novelist, Mr. Henry Akubuiro, the loss is a monumental one, saying: “Life is like the euphoria of a drunkard.
Sometimes, it thrusts you onto the limelight above your peers in a village square. Some other times, it flickers like candlelight, and is gone, never to return. Goodbye, Ikeogu Oke.”
Another poet, Mr. Chiedu Ezeanah, stated: “Go well my brother on your last journey. You have done well, poet. Pancreatic cancer is a liar. You have earned your immortality.”
The 2016 winner of the same prize, Mr. Ibrahim Adam Abubakar, expressed shock at the sad news, when he wrote: “And so it is true, that Ikeogu Oke has left us. Devastating news.”
For Ikhide Ikheloa, it was, “Good night you, library walking into the dark unforgiving night. You lived it on your own terms, and wrote about it on your own terms.
Everything is as it should be but we will all miss you.”
Other poetry collections Oke published include Salute Without Guns and In the Wings of Waiting.