Chukwuemeka Ike, one of Nigeria’s most prolific novelists, is dead.
Until his death, he was the traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu community in Orumba, Anambra, a position he held since 2008.
Toads for Supper, Ike’s first work was published in 1965, three years after facing a series of rejection. But that’s not all: the work came after he was inspired by no other than Chinua Achebe whom he said was his senior in school.
Ike’s professional career was not only in authorship and leadership roles. In fact, he was in the academic field most of the time he wrote, and long before his first novel, the peak of which was working as the registrar of the West African Examinations Council in Accra, Ghana, in the 1970s.
He began with teaching roles in the 1950s and also served in various other capacities in the education sector, including as an administrative assistant and assistant registrar at the University College (now University of Ibadan) from 1957 to 1960, before proceeding to work as a deputy registrar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, from 1960 to 1963.
Ike also served as a director at the Daily Times of Nigeria Ltd before working as director of the University Press Ltd, 1978. In 1979, he retired from public service and was subsequently appointed a visiting professor of English at the University of Jos where he worked from 1983 to 1985. He was also at some point the pro-chancellor and chairman of council at the University of Benin, a role he held until 1991.