1, July 2016
Elechi Amadi is no more. According to Thisday newspaper, he died on June 29, 2016 in hospital in Port Harcourt, Rivers State of Nigeria, of an undisclosed ailment at the age of 82. Reacting to the news, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, said Amadi was “a consummate patriot, a great literary icon, a soldier’s soldier and development enthusiast.”
Eldred Jones, in “African Literature 1966-1967,” described the novelist as “a Nigerian author of plays and novels that are generally about African village life, customs, beliefs and religious practices, as they were before contact with the Western world.” Amadi is best remembered for his 1966 novel, “The Concubine,” which was described “an outstanding work of pure fiction.” His other works included “The Great Ponds,” “Isiburu,” “Sunset in Biafra,” “Dance of Johannesburg,” “Pepper Soup,” “The Road to Ibadan,” “The Slave,” “Estrangement,” “Les Grand Etangs,” and “The Woman of Calabar.”
Born in 1934 in Aluu, Rivers State, Amadi attended Government College, Umuahia, Survey School, Oyo and the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a degree in Physics and Mathematics in 1959. He was a land surveyor and later teacher in several schools, including the Nigerian Military School, Zaria from 1963–66. Amadi served in the Nigerian Army and remained there during the Nigerian Civil War, retiring as a Captain.
He also served in the Rivers State government as Permanent Secretary, Commissioner for Education and Commissioner for Lands and Housing. Elechi Amadi was a writer-in-residence and lecturer with the Rivers State College of Education (now Ignatius Ajuru University of Education), where he was Dean of Arts, Head of the Literature Department and Director of General Studies.