By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 Nigeria general election, Mr. Peter Obi has charged Nigerians to celebrate people for their knowledge and not for their wealth and riches.
Mr. Obi made the call on Friday while addressing the school children at a one-day event organized to celebrate and mark the posthumous birthday of a Nigerian pioneer writer and academic, Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, who was also the Traditional Ruler of Ndikelionwu in Orumba South Local Government Area.
The event, which held at the Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, was organized by the Nigerian Book Foundation, a foundation which Prof. Ike headed as the president in the state before his death in January 2020.
Obi, while addressing the gathering, described late Prof. Ike as an intellectual and totems of
excellence, while also noting that he was one of the greatest assets Anambra State ever had.
He recalled how he started hearing of Prof. Ike and admiring him for his wisdom and intellect while he was still school, but ended up being the Governor who presented certificate to him as the traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu.
While commending the organizers of the event for their thoughtfulness, Obi stressed on the need for Nigerians to learn to admire and celebrate person for his knowledge, rather than for his money, which, he said, is the most common among Nigerians today.
In her address of welcome, the Co-president of the Nigerian Book Foundation (NBF) and first female professor of Mass Communication in West Africa, Prof. Stella Okunna, said the event, which the NBF organized in collaboration with the State Ministry of Education and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (Anambra State Chapter), was primarily aimed at commemorate the late monarch three years after his death, as well as keep his memory alive.
In their separate remarks at the event, the Traditional Ruler of Onitsha, H.R.M. Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, and the Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (Anambra State Chapter), Dr. Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, hailed late Prof. Ike as an outstanding intellectual, who left indelible marks and contributed immensely to national development.
They also called on the Anambra State Government to immortalize the great writer, while the say, will not only keep his memory alive, but also serve as motivation to others to add value to society.
On his own part, the Traditional Ruler of Obosi, Igwe Chidubem Iweka, who presented his authored-book ‘August Inmates’ to Peter Obi, noted that Anambra State has given the world arrays of writers, which Ike was one of, even as he urged the youths to emulate people of integrity and aspire to be like them.
Contributing, the State Commissioner for Education representative, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh said the governor had already projected to immortalise him by naming institution after him, which, she said, would be done anytime soon.
In his Keynote lecture, Prof. Sule Emma Egya Emmanuelle of IBB University, Niger State, dissected the various books authored by the Prof. Ike and extolled his literary prowess, while also marinating that the late literary icon would so dearly missed by Nigeria and the world at large.
Prof. Ike, born on April 28, 1931, was a prolific writer, scholar, lecturer, and administrator.
Until his death, he was also the Traditional Ruler of Ndikelionwu.
His works include The Potters Wheel, Toads for Supper, The Naked Gods, Sunset at Dawn, The Bottled Leopard, Expo 77, and many others.