Delta State governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has described renowned poet and playwright, Prof. John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo as a consummate patriot and great literary icon.
The late professor, who hailed from Kiagbodo in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta and was a younger brother of former Information Minister, Chief Edwin Clark, reportedly died at a Lagos hospital on Tuesday at 85.
In a condolence message to the Clark family, Okowa, through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba, said the literary world had lost an enigma whose works would continue to dominate the contemporary Nigerian society.
Okowa, describing his passage as a great loss to the country and the literary world, extolled the immense contributions of the late poet to the growth and development of literature in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
“The literary works of Professor J.P. Clark promoted Delta, Nigeria and Africa, hence his demise is being celebrated by lovers of literature all over the world.
“As a serial award-winner in poetry, the late Prof. Clark was a consummate patriot, a great literary icon and a teacher par excellence, whose literary publications inspired deep thoughts, especially on social-economic and political themes.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I commiserate with the Clark-Fuludu Bekederemo family over the passing of renowned poet, literary giant and playwright, Emeritus Professor John Pepper Clark.
“He will be sorely missed by all whose lives he affected in many ways with his literary works,” he said.
Okowa urged all who mourn the demise of the late Professor to take solace in the fact that he “remains alive through his literary works”.
He prayed to God to grant his immediate family, the Ijaw nation and lovers of literature, the strength to bear the irreparable loss.