The Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano has condoled with the family of Prof. Onuora Nzekwu, the late novelist and author of the popular book, Eze Goes to School, who passed away last Friday at the ripe age of 89 years in his country home in Onitsha.
In a condolence message by James Eze, Senior Special Assistant on Media, Governor Obiano described Prof Nzekwu’s death as a big blow to the Nigerian literary tradition and an end to a glorious career that spanned journalism and fiction writing.
According to him, Nzekwu who co-authored the classic Eze Goes to School with Michael Crowder in 1963was a man of many parts having distinguished himself in different fields of human endeavour.
“Prof Nzekwu had a long meritorious career as a journalist and rose through the years to head the nation’s News Agency. But he was still prodigious enough to churn out important literary works like Eze Goes to School, Eze Goes to College, Wand of the Noble Wood, Troubled Dust, Blade Among the Boys and Highlife for Lizards among others. With his death, we have lost an irreplaceable institution,” the governor declared.
Governor Obiano also described the late author as a quintessential father-figure whose physical and figurative presence always loomed across the landscape, saying that the world is poorer without him.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the illustrious Nzekwu family in Onitsha and all lovers of literature who have suddenly been thrown into mourning by this huge loss. I pray that God will give his family, friends and fans the fortitude to bear this loss,” he further added.
The Governor therefore urged Nigerians to emulate the exemplary life led by the author whom he recalled had won the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship in 1961 as well as the UNESCO Fellowship in 1964 which exposed him to a higher learning in New York, Geneva, Prague, Paris and London among other important cities of the world.
Governor Obiano also recalled that Chief Nzekwu had served his country well and was consequently conferred the Nigerian National Honour of the Officer of the Order of the Niger in 2008.