By BENJAMIN NJOKU
The Nigerian literary community rose,yesterday, to pay tribute to the octogenarian writer and author of the famous novel, â€œOne Man, One Wifeâ€,Â Timothy MofolorunsoÂ Aluko better known as T.M.Aluko,who passed onearlier in the day.
Symphatiser after sympathiser drscribed him as â€œa brave and courageous writer who did not allow the pangs of sickness to hinder his writing prowess.â€
Aluko who would have turned 92 on June 14 died in Lagos. He was one of its oldest surviving Nigerian writers who had not allowed his pen to sleep in his hands.
Poet Odia Ofeinum said: â€œItâ€™s a painful death. Itâ€™s sad indeed, because Aluko is one writer who fought bravely and did not allow his sickness to deter him from writing. Even at age of 91, he was still writing. He lived a exemplary life worth of emulation by every Nigerian writerâ€
For Jerry Agada, president of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Aluko exhibited an undying ability to continue to write even in his sick bed. â€œIâ€™m happy that IÂ was part of the celebration of his 50th years of writing, observed last year. I thank God for his life. He lived a fulfilled life.â€
Abuja based literary critic and writer, Emma Shehu described Aluko as one of the major literary figures in Nigeria. According to him, Abuja literary society named a prize after his name , in recognition of his contribution to the development of literary culture in the country. â€˜Aluko did something unique, even though he was trained as an engineer.â€™ he said.
Aukoâ€™s death came barely few days after another renowned literary scholar and academia, Professor Ossie Onuora Enekwe, of the University of Nigeria Nsukka died last Thursday.
The octogenarian writer had suffered a stroke for decades that left him unable to use the right side of his body.
Despite this restriction, the author taught himself to write with his left hand and launched his â€œOur Born-Again Presidentâ€ in November, last year, a few months after his 91st birthday.
Aluko became popular amongst Nigerian readers for his satirical works like â€˜One Man, One Wifeâ€™, â€˜One Man, One Matchetâ€™; â€˜Chief the Honourable Ministerâ€™; Kinsman and Foremanâ€™; â€˜Conduct Unbecoming.â€™ He also produced the more autobiographical works like â€˜The Story of My Lifeâ€™; and â€˜My Years of Serviceâ€™, about his years in the Nigerian civil service.
Aluko was acclaimed both locally and internationally. Some of his works received international prizes and were broadcast on the BBC African Service. He was awarded an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) and an Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in 1963 and 1964 respectively.
Aluko, who schooled at the Government College, Ibadan, later studied engineering and town planning at the University of London.
A civil engineer who retired as an associate professor at the University of Lagos in 1978, TM Aluko is best known for his novels â€˜One Man, One Matchetâ€™, â€˜Chief the Honourable Ministerâ€™ and â€˜His Worshipful Majestyâ€™. He has also written two autobiographies: â€˜My Years of Serviceâ€™, an account of his activities as an engineer and university teacher; and its sequel, â€˜The Story of My Lifeâ€™.
Last year, Aluko marked theÂ 50th anniversary of his own first novel, â€˜One Man, One Wifeâ€™ as if he knew he was going to life to see tomorrow.
At the event attended by the high and might in the literary and the arts community, tn octogenarian writer was wheeled into the gathering amidst pomps.
Retired Justice Kayode Eso, industrialist Michael Omolayole and dramatist Segun Olusola – were among those that turned up to felicitate with the 92-year-old writer at the celebration where his latest novel, â€˜Our Born Again Presidentâ€™, was also presented. Writers J.P. Clark, Phebean Ogundipe (of â€˜Brighter Grammarâ€™ fame), Onuora Nzekwu (author of â€˜Eze Goes to Schoolâ€™), Mobolaji Adenubi, Dagga Tolar and Jerry Agada – were also there to honour the eminent but under-celebrated member of their clan.