One of Nigeria’s foremost poet and novelist, Gabriel Okara, has died one month to his 98th birthday.
The was made known by family members who noted that he died at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa state, yesterday evening.
He was said to have been at his house, relaxing, when he slumped and died around 4pm
Seriake Dickson, governor of the state, has described Okara’s death as a great loss to the state and Nigeria.
In a statement on Monday, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, commissioner for information and orientation, said the governor has declared a three-day mourning for Okara.
Iworiso-Markson said for the next three days, all flags will fly at half mast.
Born on April 24,1921, late Okara is a lifelong patron of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and touted as the first modernist poet of anglophone Africa.
Among his works are Piano and Drums, Call of the River Nun, The Voice, The Fisherman’s Invocation, The Dreamer, His Vision.
He was educated at Government College, Umuahia, Abia state and Yaba Higher College. At first, he translated poetry from Ijaw into English and wrote scripts for government radio.