Ikeogu Oke, is Dead! His book “the Heresiad” won the 2017, NLNG Prize for literature. His win came after the prose writer Abubakar Adam Ibrahim who won the prize money of $100,000 in 2016.
Abubakar in a sad statement, describes his encounter with the deceased:
And so it is true, that Ikeogu Oke has left us. Devastating news. I saw him a while ago. I noticed he had lost weight. Since he didn’t complain I thought he was trying to lose his belly. And even when his eyes, sallow, prompted me to ask, I didn’t. We spoke at length with Abdulkareem Baba Aminu, for who he happily signed his book. He didn’t want to stop talking and so the night stretched.
When I heard he was ill, I called him. He said he was glad I called. That he had just been in a surgery. I was traveling then and told him he would be better before I got back and we will see. I just got back and he just left us in the night.
We laughed when I called him my younger brother, because only last year we were celebrating his Nigeria Prize for Literature win, just a year after me. Shock to see that that laughter will ring no more. Travel well, nwanne’m.
It’s a sad loss to the Nigerian literary community as his work had just begun to receive the attention it deserves.
Oke performed his poems at various fora in Nigeria, South Africa and the US, including as a special performance poet guest of Brown University in 2014. – Chinedu Asadu (The Cable NG)
Oke was a graduate of the University of Calabar and University of Nigeria Nsukka. He held a BA in English and a MA in literature.
May his Soul Rest in Peace.