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Brother of celebrated novelist Isidore Okpewho reminds Nigerians of his Urhobo roots

By Nelson Dafe, Benin City on 09/09/2016

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Nigerians continue to mourn the loss of foremost literary icon Professor Isidore Okpewho who passed away Sunday in the United States of America.

Members of Okpewho’s nuclear and extended families have been receiving condolence messages from near and far, and the sheer number of such messages is helping the families to cope with the sobering news of the icon’s passage.
While news media, both local and international, have given considerable coverage to the demise of the Delta State-born Okpewho, one aspect of the coverage has been a source of considerable discomfort for the most senior male member of his extended family. This has to do with the fact that almost all news reports on Okpewho have failed to mention his Urhobo heritage.
The immediate younger brother of Okpewho has tried to address this seeming oversight by posting a message on Face book to remind everyone that Professor Isidore Okpewho was first and foremost an Urhobo, having been born by an Urhobo man.
Maurice Okpewho, who resides in Ado Ekiti, wrote: “I have been reading with discontent, various accounts, both in the print and social media of late Professor Isidore Okpewho’s biography. Professor I. Okpewho, was an academic giant of no mean stature and a balanced account of his parental background must be told.
“The omission of his paternal background was not only a disservice to him but also, to the Urhobo clan in general.
“In Africa and indeed globally, the paternal aspect of a man is given due prominence. Suffice it to say then, that late Professor I. Okpewho’s paternal aspect must not be shrouded. That he was born in Agbor does not suggest that he hailed from there. The late Prof. Isidore Okpewho was an Urhobo man from Oria-Abraka, in Ethiope East LGA of Delta State. His late father's name is David Omajemite Okpewho from Oria-Abraka. His mother of blessed memory hailed from Asaba, also in Delta State. As a result of the above information, those who would want to pay tribute to this great man should not forget to put the record right.
News Express reports that although Isidore Okpewho spent most of his growing up years in Asaba, and his adult life away from Delta State, his intellectual soul identified very much with his Urhobo paternal heritage as well as his maternal Igbo heritage of Delta State.
He carried out a number of extensive academic researches in the Urhobo area of Delta State and this is visible in the characterisation in some of his novels, like the famous war novel The Last Duty.
Prof. Okpewho died of complications from a stroke in Binghamton, New York. He was 74.
•Photo shows late Prof. Isidore Okpewho

Source News Express

Posted 09/09/2016 1:28:42 PM





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