‘Professor Chukwuemeka Ike Is Not Dead’

Raymond Ozoji, Awka

Contrary to news in the social media that Nigeria’s foremost novelist and traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu ancient kingdom, Prof. Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike is dead, the royal family has declared that the monarch is not dead yet and that disgruntled elements should desist from peddling false information.

Engr. Prince Emma Okoli-Ijeoma, a member of the ruling house of Ndikelionwu ancient kingdom, who spoke with our correspondent at Ezi-Nkwo village Ndikelionwu yesterday, opined that the traditional ruler of the community is not dead yet but had only gone into a deep sleep and resting in the palace.

Okoli-Ijeoma who is a retired lecturer at Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University Uli, explained further that even though anything of such happened, the source of information wouldn’t come from the social media or any vagabond but from seven ruling house of Ndikelionwu ancient kingdom.

He said such misleading information should be discarded and jettisoned, until the elders of the seven ruling houses broke such news m, that is, if the king has actually joined his ancestors in the land of the great beyond.

Okoli-Ijeoma said, “As far as I am concerned as a member of the ruling house in this Ndikelionwu ancient kingdom, I am saying that prof. Chukwuemeka Ike Eze Ndikelionwu the 11th of Ndikelionwu is not yet dead!

“In our tradition, nobody opens his mouth to tell outsiders that the traditional ruler of the town is dead. You don’t say it because according to the customary law of Anambra state, king doesn’t die!

“If at all there is anything of that nature, one would say the king has joined his ancestors. It is not the duty of anybody to tell outsiders that the king is dead. It is after the royal family has met and agreed before such thing would be announced  Not just a rifraf would come and say what he doesn’t know.

“So I am saying that as far as the royal family is concerned, we have not announced anything to the public. That is if something really happened.

“I don’t know who sent that information to the social media and if someone has gone forward to declare the king dead, it is very wrong. Eze Ikelionwu is still living. He is resting in his house.”

Also the younger brother to prof. Chukwuemeka Ike in the person of Arch. Evans Ike, a retired lecturer at Federal Polytechnic Oko, who spoke with our correspondent at his Ezi-Nkwo village residence Ndikelionwu, also dissociated himself from the news of his brother’s death in the social media.

He said, “I am the only brother to Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike. I don’t know where people got their information about his demise because I have not made any official announcement to that effect. The family has to meet and take a decision.

“I didn’t give anybody information about his death and anybody who gave the information is acting on his own.”

On the other hand, Chief Umezuruike Okereke of Amagu village Ndikelionwu, said the news of his uncle’s death is uncomfirmed yet as no one from the royal family has said anything close to that, not even the wife of the traditional ruler, Prof. Adebimpe Ike.

Chief Okereke recalled that Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike was the first Nigerian to be registrar at the West African Examination Council (WAEC), the first Nigerian to be  registrar and sole administrator at the University of Nigeria Nsukka and a host of other spheres where he blazed the trail.

He said one of his books, “Toad For Supper” was most didactic to him because it was an account of Prof. Ike’s personal experiences in life especially as he married a Yoruba woman and his kinsmen felt that the heir to the throne of Ndikelionwu shouldn’t marry from another tribe but his nuptial bond with the Yoruba woman became legendary in the end.

Chief Okereke said, “Toad For Supper” is like his life history. He married to a Yoruba lady against all odds and the wife became even more popular and accepted in the whole town. The wife speaks not just the Igbo language but our dialect here. She won the hearts of all the women in the community and everyone consulted her.

“So if what people are saying in the social media is true about his death, then it leaves a very big vacuum in this town and the entire local government area.”

Chief Okereke maintained that the reign of Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike as traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu brought peace and stability to the community and its neighbours. He added that apart from his personality, Prof. Ike was equally well grounded in culture and this attribute, he said, helped him to pursue as well as maintain peaceful coexistence between Ndikelionwu and other surrounding communites.

He said that the purported death of Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike was still a rumour until a concrete information on the subject was made public, stressing that he refused to believe that his role model uncle had kicked the bucket.

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