A renowned poet and winner of the 2017 Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Prize for Literature, Ikeogu Oke, has died at 51.
Family sources disclosed that, Oke died on Saturday night, November 24th after battling an undisclosed ailment at an Abuja hospital.
The poet was celebrated last year when he won the 2017 Nigeria Prize for Literature for his book, The Heresiad, an epic poetry and was presented a cheque of $100,000 (N37m) by the NLNG.
The Heresiad, beat Ogaga Ifowodo’s A Good Mourning and Tanure Ojaide’s Songs of Myself: Quartet, to claim the prize after an intensive adjudication process.
His works have been published in international journals, anthologies and other publications worldwide.
The poet performed his poems in Nigeria, South Africa and the US, including as a special performance poet guest of Brown University in 2014.
Oke graduated with a BA in English and literary studies from the University of Calabar and an MA in literature from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The Abuja Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors which also confirmed the death in a statement by its spokesman, Alex Enemanna described his death as sudden. “His death came after a brief illness at the Nation Hospital, Abuja,” the group said.
However, another poet Uzor Maxim Uzoatu, who commented on Oke’s demise on social media, recalled their meeting at the Christopher Okigbo Soiree and noted that the poet looked ill, which got him worried.