Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, says Ikeogu Oke, the winner of the 2017 NLNG-sponsored Nigerian Prize for literature, saw his death coming.
Concise News had reported earlier that the award-winning Nigerian poet died November 24 at the National Hospital in Abuja after a protracted illness at aged 51.
Reacting to his death, the Presidential spokesman said he met Oke in person two weeks ago for the first time, and that the poet told him it would be their last meeting.
His words: “I join millions of our countrymen to mourn Ikeogu Oke, the prize-winning poet. I met his person for the first time two weeks ago. Before then, Femi had spoken very well about him,” Shehu wrote.
“I told him that I read his recent writings and he asked me if I had been impressed by them. When I observed that he looked unwell, he told me about his recovery from a recent surgery. Throughout the meeting, he was warm and affectionate.
“I don’t know what others will make of his telling me at that time that I and him will not meet again. To this, I protested and assured that we will meet again and again.
“He then requested me to join him in a photo and thereafter, he embraced me and said goodbye. Few deaths have shocked me as this one. May God give his family the fortitude to bear this loss.”
Interestingly, the award-winning Nigerian poet had posted his epitaph on Facebook two months to his death.
Oke had simply written, “My Epitaph. Here lies a man who loved virtue and art, And gave to both his fortunes and his heart. Ikeogu Oke (1967 – ).”