Obituary of Chief Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi (1921 -2007)
It is with gratitude to God that the Ekwensi family of Nkwelle Ezunaka, Anambra State , formally announces the passing of one of Nigeria's greatest citizens, Chief Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi, on Sunday November 4, 2007.
A Nigerian novelist, pharmacist, broadcaster, forester, teacher, administrator, short-story writer, and children's author, Chief COD Ekwensi was born in Minna, Northern Nigeria in 1921. He attended Government College, Ibadan and Achimota College, Ghana. He later studied Pharmacy at the Yaba Technical Institute, Lagos . He read Forestry at the School of Forestry, Ibadan and worked for two years as a forestry officer. He also taught for a couple of years at Igbobi College, Lagos. He graduated from the Chelsea School of Pharmacy, UK in 1956.
Although a pharmacist by training, Ekwensi opted for a vocation in writing. He wrote his first novel, When Love Whispers in 1948. He followed up with many remarkable works such as An African Night's Entertainment (1948), The Boa Suitor (1949), People of the City (1954), Passport of Mallam Iliya (written in 1948 but published in 1960), The Drummer Boy (1960), Jagua Nana (1961), Burning Grass (1962), Iska (1966) and many more titles in a writing career that spanned about six decades. He has also authored hundreds of short stories and radio and television scripts. He was also for many years, a columnist with DRUM magazine and later MONTHLY LIFE magazine.
He was Nigeria 's first indigenous Director of Information at independence. In 1968 he won the Dag Hammarskjöld International Prize for Literary Merit. Chief COD Ekwensi was honoured with the chieftaincy title of Osi Baarohin of Ibadanland in 1996 and was inducted Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters in 2006. He was also a recipient of the Nigerian National Honour of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic , MFR.
He is survived by a wife, 9 children and many grandchildren.
The Funeral will be held in January in Nigeria, detailed funeral arrangements will be announced by the family in due course.
Georges Chiedu Ekwensi (Son)
On behalf of the Ekwensi Family
Originally appeared in Guardian.