More tributes have continued to pour in for the eminent Nigerian writer and academic, Professor Festus Iyayi who was victim of a convoy crash on Abuja-Lokoja Road, last week.
The latest is from Chido Onumah, Coordinator, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy, Abuja, Nigeria who remarks that Iyayl’s loss is indeed a very grave one.
‘With the death of Professor Festus Iyayi, Nigeria has lost one of its most courageous literary voices. His place in the pantheon of Nigerian literature was established long ago with his debut novel, Violence, in 1979. For me, and I am sure for many of my generation, Iyayi’s works were more than a literary exercise; they provided the impetus for understanding the tragic situation we have found ourselves as a natio.’
On his part, poet and academic, Professor Niyi Osundare recalls Iyayi to be a trail-blazing writer in his own rights.
‘In the annals of African fiction, only Ousmane Sembene’s God’s Bit of Wood and Ngugi wa Thion’go’s Petals of Blood have dissected Africa’s social reality in such gripping detail and with such committed panache as Iyayi did in Violence. The novel marked a new accent in Nigerian fiction when it appeared in the late 1970’s. In many ways, it is the harbinger for the likes of E. E. Sule’s Sterile Sky published about three decades later.”
What is your own view of the departed writer? Share with us.