Chukwuemeka Ike

Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike (28 April 1931 – 9 January 2020)[1][2] was a Nigerian writer known for a mixture of lampoon, humor and satire. He owed a little bit of his style to his Igbo cultural upbringing. He studied history, English and Religious Studies at the University of Ibadan and earned a master's degree at Stanford University.[3] Among many of the younger generation, he was popular as the author of Expo '77, a critical look at academic examination abuses in West Africa. Ike was a former registrar of the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).[4]

Vincent Chukwuemeka Ike
Born28 April 1931
Died9 January 2020(2020-01-09) (aged 88)
Nnewi, Nigeria
Alma materUniversity of Ibadan, Government College Umuahia
Notable work
Potters Wheel, Toad for Supper
Spouse(s)Prof Adebimpe Ike

Early yearsEdit

Born in Anambra state, Nigeria, Ike was given the Christian name of Vincent but later chose his Igbo name, Chukwuemeka as his preferred choice (meaning "God has done great").[5] He was raised in a strict home. His father was a king, civic leader and disciplinarian who instilled in his son the necessity of civic duties and education. Chukwuemeka started early education in his native town. He left his town for further education at Ife-Mbaise and then from 1945 to 1950, he attended Government College Umuahia. He started writing at Umuahia for the school magazine, The Umuahian,[4] and he was also influenced by teachers that included Saburi Biobaku, who had honours in English from Cambridge. Some eminent Nigerian writers who attended the school include Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, and Ken Saro Wiwa. After completing his secondary education, he studied at the University of Ibadan.[3] While at the college, he was invited by Chinua Achebe to join the magazine club. He was a king, Eze Ndikelionwu of the great Aro town Ndikelionwu in eastern Nigeria, with the title "Ikelionwu XI" in his hometown of Ndikelionwu in Anambra State.


Ike served as a teacher in a primary school at Amichi (1950-51) and in a secondary at Nkwerre (1955-56). Between 1957-1960, he worked as an administrative assistant at University College, Ibadan. He joined University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he worked as the Deputy Registrar (1960-63) and Registrar and Secretary to the Council (1963 - 71).[6] Ike had served in Biafra as the Provincial Refugee Officer in charge of Umuahia Province (1968-69) and Headquarters Scout Commander in Nsukka Province (1970-71). After the Nigerian Civil War, he was appointed Chairman, Planning and Management Committee of the University. He was responsible for reopening and managing the institution as the interim Chief Executive immediately after the war.[7] He served as the Registrar of West African Examination Council (1971- 79)[8] as the first Nigerian Chief Executive of the organization.[9]

He had also worked with Daily times Nigeria and University Press Ltd as a Director in both organizations. He retired from public service in 1979 and became a visiting Professor of English Language and Literature at University of Jos from 1983 - 1985. Between 1990 1991, he was the Pro-chancellor and Chairman of Council, University of Benin, Benin-City.[10][11] He was the President, Nigerian Book Foundation from 1991 until his death in 2020.[12]


Expo 77Edit

In Expo 77, Ike tackles the issue of examination abuses. He explores cheating through the eyes of a university registrar who is forced to hire a detective due to the lack of trust he has in some of his applicants' résumés because test questions have been leaked. The detective later discovers a wide variety of examination abuses; from the parents who demand new test results for their children, to principals who allow students to bring in textbooks for closed examinations. The author believed it was partly the corruption of the nation's leaders that had permeated the society and led to rampant unethical excesses. In later years, the word "expo" was used in Nigeria as slang for academic cheating.[13]

Ike's hometown of Ndikelionwu is featured regularly in his works, notably Potter's Wheel, Toads for Supper and The Bottled Leopard.


  • Toads for Supper (London: Harvill Press, 1965)
  • The Naked Gods (London: Harvill Press, 1970) ISBN 0-00-271555-4
  • The Potter's Wheel (London: Harvill Press, 1973) ISBN 0-00-271620-8
  • Sunset at Dawn (Collins & Harvill Press, 1976) ISBN 0-00-261807-9
  • Expo '77 (Fontana, 1980) ISBN 0-00-616063-8
  • The Chicken Chasers (Fontana, 1980) ISBN 0-00-615947-8
  • The Bottled Leopard (1985) ISBN 978-154-778-2
  • Our Children Are Coming (Ibadan: Spectrum Books 1990) ISBN 978-2460-21-4
  • Conspiracy of silence (Longman, 2001)


  1. ^ Oyekan Owomoyela, "Ike, Chukwuemeka (1931–2020), The Columbia Guide to West African Literature in English Since 1945, Columbia University Press, 2013, p. 116.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b Routledge Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English.
  4. ^ a b Ozolua Uhakheme (16 May 2015). "My wife has been my most thorough, reliable critic -Ex-WAEC Registrar and literary icon Eze Prof Chukwuemeka Ike". The Nation. Nigeria. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Chukwuemeka - Nigerian.Name". Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  6. ^ "Chukwuemeka Ike: A tribute". Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  7. ^ "Prof Chukwuemeka Ike: Remembering the life and times of humble king and literary giant". The Sun Nigeria. 28 June 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  8. ^ "V. Chukwuemeka Ike, B.A., M.A., M.N.I.M. Hon. F.C.G.I". Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  9. ^ "Chukwuemeka Ike (1931 – 2020)". Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics. 17 January 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  10. ^ "OBITUARY: Chukwuemeka Ike, the intellectual in royal garb who 'chose 20 novels over £20m'". TheCable. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  11. ^ Aniche, Emeka (27 December 2019). "HRH (Prof) Chukwuemeka Ike (OFR) - educationist, author". Notable Aros. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  12. ^ "Obituary: Chukwuemeka Ike, Nigerian literary giant, dies at 88 - Sylva Nze Ifedigbo". The Lagos Review. 12 January 2020. Retrieved 10 June 2021.
  13. ^ Nkem Ikeke, "Top 15 Ways Nigerian Students Cheat During Exams",