The name Olu Olagoke resonates with the title of a popular play, The Incorruptible Judge. The book was authored by a renowned academic and prolific writer, Prof. D. Olu Olagoke. Olagoke was more than just a Playwright or an author. He was an academic that utilized his talents in writing to achieve a lot. Readers that were not influenced by his academic prowess were inspired by his awesome literary works.
Life of Professor Olu Olagoke
He was born on January 22, 1934 and had his elementary education in Nigeria. His academic pursuit led him to the prestigious University of London, University College Ibadan, and University of Colchester, Essex. He rose through the rank from a lecturer to a professor in Nigeria. Olagoke was also a renowned Longman fellow of the University College London. Also, he wrote mainly about African genres. His books are focused on promoting the moral values of Africans and reacting to social problems. His works of fiction are realistic in that they capture the everyday problems of his immediate society. He died on October 29, 2022, at his residence in Ado-Ekiti.
Influence on the younger generation and Critics
Many students have been inspired to live right and to better understand the African condition through his novel and plays. Although it is not clear how many notable authors took their inspiration from his genre, the fact that some of his students came to identify with him upon his retirement, proves that he has made an immense impact.
The News Nigeria, an online news platform reported that members of the Ado-Ekiti Old Students Association (OSUA) of the English and Literary Studies class of 1989 visited Prof Olagoke after his retirement in 2002, to honor his contributions to society.
Although there are no major critics of his works, his preferred genre is not very popular among younger authors today. The Masterclass online reports that the romance genre still remains the most popular among authors because of its sales propensity. Most traditional Nigerian authors do not write romance genre. They hence may not have influenced much of the younger generations of authors that are easily drawn to genres that sell faster. Romance authors have been found even in highly conservative cultures in Northern Nigeria, as in Zaynab Alkali’s The Stillborn.
His published works
Although his play, The Incorruptible Judge (1972) is still popular among Generation X group of readers, he still has many other books to his credit such as; Death in the forest (A Three Crowns Book) and The Iroko-man and the Wood-carver (Plays for African Schools).