Wednesday, June 29, 2016 8:58 pm
Elechi Amadi, the novelist, is dead. He departed today in Port Harcourt at the age of 82. A member of the family , Bar Wabueze Amadi, confirmed the developmen.
Born on 12 May 1934, Amadi’s plays and novels are generally about pre-colonial African village life, customs, beliefs and religious practices. Amadi is best regarded for his 1966 first novel, The Concubine, which, according to Wikipedia, has been called “an outstanding work of pure fiction”.
The Director General, NIMASA, Dr Dakuku Peterside, described him as a great Nigerian who will be greatly missed. He was quoted by Vanguard: “Captain Elechi Amadi, certainly was a man of many parts who touched lives in many ways. And he will be remembered for good by many people who met him physically or through his books. He was a well known author, publisher, soldier and statesman who was concerned about a better society.
“My generation will definitely remember him more for his great books like the Concubine, the Great Ponds, Sunset in Biafra, Estrangement, the Slave and a collection of poems.
“It is regrettable that Amadi passed away at a time when Rivers, our dear state is still far away from the aspirations of its founding fathers like him and most sons and daughters of the state. There is no doubt that Elder Elechi Amadi and other founding fathers will be weeping in their graves at the state of Rivers State. Nigeria and the international literary community has lost a creative giant.
“The departed patriot, no doubt, had a remarkable life and he will surely be remembered for serving humanity with literature and his interventions. May his soul find eternal rest in the Lord.”
The Man Amadi, according to Wikipedia
Born in 1934, in Aluu in the Ikwerre local government area of Rivers State, Nigeria, Elechi Amadi attended Government College, Umuahia (1948–52), Survey School, Oyo (1953–54), and the University of Ibadan (1955–59), where he obtained a degree in Physics and Mathematics.
He worked for a time as a land surveyor and later was a teacher at several schools, including the Nigerian Military School, Zaria (1963–66). Amadi served in the Nigerian army, remained there during the Nigerian Civil War, and retired at the rank of Captain. He then held various positions with the Rivers State government: Permanent Secretary (1973–83), Commissioner for Education (1987–88) and Commissioner for Lands and Housing (1989–90).
He has been writer-in-residence and lecturer at Rivers State College of Education, where he has also been Dean of Arts, head of the literature department and Director of General Studies.
On 13 May 1989 a symposium was held at the University of Port Harcourt to celebrate Amadi’s 55th birthday.
In May 2004, a conference was organized by the Association of Nigerian Authors, Rivers State Branch, to mark Elechi Amadi’s 70th birthday.
On 5 January 2009 Amadi was kidnapped at his home in Aluu town, Port Harcourt, by unknown gunmen. He was released 23 hours later, on the evening of 6 January.
1992 – Rivers State Silver Jubilee Merit Award
2003 – honorary doctorate, Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Education, honoris causa, awarded by Rivers State University of Science and Technology
2003 – Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Education
2003 – Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR)
Elechi Amadi has said that his first publication was in 1957, a poem entitled “Penitence” in a University of Ibadan campus magazine called The Horn, edited by John Pepper Clark.
Amadi’s first novel, The Concubine, was published in London in 1966 and was hailed as a “most accomplished first performance”. Alastair Niven in his critical study of the novel wrote: “Rooted firmly among the hunting and fishing villages of the Niger delta, The Concubine nevertheless possesses the timelessness and universality of a major novel.” The Concubine was made into a film, written by Elechi Amadi and directed by accomplished Nollywood film director, Andy Amenechi, which premiered in Abuja in March 2007.
The setting of Amachi’s second novel, The Great Ponds, published in 1969, is pre-colonial Eastern Nigeria, and is about the battle between two village communities over possession of a pond.
In 1973 Amadi autobiographical non-fiction, Sunset in Biafra, was published. It records his personal experiences in the Nigeria-Biafra war, and according to Niven “is written in a compelling narrative form as though it were a novel”.