The death of a physically challenged Nigerian street seller named Alika Ogorchukwu in Rome, Italy, last year may have been a blessing in disguise for authors, since three authors have emerged from a writing competition created to honor him.
Ogorchukwu Alika, a 39-year-old crippled Nigerian street vendor, died tragically on July 29, 2022, in Civitanova Marche, Northern Italy. It is claimed that Philipe Ferlazzo approached him, took his crutches, and beat him to death with them.
His horrifying death allegedly prompted outrage, resulting in Ferlazzo’s arrest and detention. Ferlazzo is scheduled to appear in court on April 5 of this year.
The seller was viewed by many as a prime example of ability in the handicapped since, up until the point of his terrible murder, he sold daily newspapers to support himself and his family.
Angered by the occurrence, thousands of Africans living in Rome, including Nigerians, took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations to call for justice.
Yet, a literary contest started by Nigeria’s Head of Consular and Immigration Services in Rome, Ugochukwu Onuzulike, to immortalize him was completed last week with three writers receiving awards. This is despite the ongoing hunt for justice for the bereaved family.
The “Alika Ogorchukwu 2023 International Poetry Competition,” which had as its topic “Life, Humanity, Love and Race Harmony,” saw Gordon Egeonu take home the top prize of 1,000 euros and a plaque. The competition also aimed to encourage peace and tolerance among individuals of different races.
The contest was won by Egeonu’s script, “The Street Vendors Goodbye.” The second place reward of 400 euros and a plaque went to Peculiar Obi. Her piece was named “Hearts of Pure Red,” and Ekpensi NwaJesu won third place, receiving 200 euros and a plaque for her poetry “Breaking Down Colored Barriers.”
Participants from all over the world participated in the literary contest. The majority of the poems served as memorials and eulogies for the late Ogorchukwu.
Almost 50 poems were submitted, according to Onuzulike, the competition’s sponsor, who also mentioned that the poems would be collected in an anthology.