Ochuko Tonukari (born February 9, 1980) in Oghene Road Sapele, is a Nigerian writer, Storyteller, orator and comedian, who hails from Isiokoro, the headquarters of the present day Ethiope East Local Government Council of Delta State, Nigeria. He is best known for his expertise at rendering and propagating the history and culture of his native Urhobo people of the Niger Delta Region through his writings. He is also credited with creating The City of gods as well as The Threshold of Egborode.
Since he published his first works in the website of Urhobo Historical Society (UHS), Ochuko has risen to some level of acclaim, and he is often described as one of the best upcoming writers in his Urhobo country. Some of his works include: Aziza: King of the Urhobo Forest, The Influence of Christian Values on Urhobo Culture, Urhobo Community as Unity of Two Worlds as well as Sacred Groves and Tree Worship among the Urhobo. He has contributed more than two dozens articles to Urhobo Voice, a veritable channel of information for the Urhobos.
His role models are Prof. Peter Ekeh, Prof. Tanure Ojaide, Dr. John Tonukari, Dr. Cecilia Ibru, Rev. Chris Okotie, Barr. Ejiro Etaghene and Anthonia Oruabure, all of which are intellectual giants in their own rights. Recently, Ochuko was described as a magical realist, which he considered to be a very apt description. He writes about the world of the physically living and the metaphysical, the individual and the collective, drawing the reader into a world with vivid descriptions. At present, he is working on a novel.
Ochuko was born Tonukari Justice Ogheneochuko in Sapele, on 9 February 1980, to Chief Philip Tonukari and Mrs. Rose Tonukari who are both devout Catholics. Ochuko's mother and Sister Okemute told him many stories as a child, which greatly shaped his worldview. In 1985, his parents relocated to their home-town Isiokoro, the headquarters of the present day Ethiope East Local Government Council. Isiokoro is a rural background that tended toward traditional values of the African kind. There they lived for many years.
In 1986, Ochuko entered Agbon Primary School Isiokolo and completed in 1991. Ochuko also earned a reputation in his childhood for being rebellious, leading his primary school teacher to label him as "a wild child".
Ochuko was admitted to Orhoakpor Secondary School in 1991 and finished in 1997. In 2001, he was admitted to Delta State University, Abraka to read Library and Information Science and he graduated with honours. The same teacher who labelled Ochuko as a wild child saw him later in life and was quick to note how he has transformed into a calm and gentle young man. Presently, he is undergoing a Masters’ Degree Programme in library and Information Science.
Ochuko has spent much of his free time in sporting activities, playing football, as well as table tennis .He is a very diverse young man who passionately enjoys fishing, creative writing, cooking, traveling, gardening, reading, listening to music and playing scrabble. He has work in different capacities and has stayed in different part of Nigeria.He did his NYSC in Wukari, Taraba State.
Ochuko has also pursued the visual arts, focusing on watercolour, and exhibiting and selling a number of his paintings, as well as writing on the subject. In his secondary school days, he dabbled into acting, appearing in an amateur productions of a comedic nature, a spin-off of which continued later in his life, as evidenced by his organizing of a small comedy gala to celebrate his 27th birthday.
Humanitarian and environmental causes
The plight of various peoples has been a target of Ochuko's efforts, particularly people who are in difficulty at school. Ochuko took interest in various causes from a relatively early age. He was first familiarised with HIV/AIDS in the mid 1990s, when his father would take him and his sister to visit shelters and clinics for those suffering from the disease. Since then, he developed a measure of sympathy for the homeless and HIV/AIDS patients and has been donating to them despite his meagre purse.In 1997, when so many still believed that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact, Ochuko sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS and held his hand. He demonstrated that people with AIDS deserve not isolation, but compassion and kindness. It helped gave hope to people with AIDS. His work is on a humanitarian rather than a political level. He pursues his own interests in philanthropy, music, fashion and travel.
During his years in the university,Ochuko participated in typical college life, going to bars and socialising with his friends; of himself he said: "I'm not a party animal, despite what some people might think. I just need a lady who will love me for who I am and not what she wants me to be."
*Aziza: King of the Urhobo Forest
*The Influence of Christian Values on Urhobo Culture
*Urhobo Community as Unity of Two Worlds
*Sacred Groves and Tree Worship among the Urhobo
*Mammy Water: Urhobo River Goddess of Varying Temperaments
*The Place of Women In Traditional Urhobo Society
*Urhobo Traditional Marriage and the Place of Polygamy
*The Mysterious Dream of Pa Orerhe
*Adogbeji Salubi: A Man Worth Remembering
*Oji Reincarnation: The Story of a Tormenting Child
*Widow Inheritance Amongs the Urhobos
*A Celebration Of Aziza: One of the Numerous Deities of the Urhobo People
*Urhobo Age Of Heroism
*Ochuko J.Tonukari (2000). Mermaids, Mirrors and Snake Charmers: Igbe Shrines.
*Ochuko J. Tonukari (2001) Mammy Water: In search of the water spirits in Urhoboland.
*Ochuko J. Tonukari (2003) Those Magical Years: A Collection of Essays.
*Ochuko J. Tonukari (2003) Dreams Of Enchantment: A childhood Recollections.
*Ochuko J. Tonukari (2006) The Horror of Wandering in The Night: Memories Of Encounters With Spiritual Beings.
*Ochuko J. Tonukari, (2006) The tradition of prophecy in Urhobo traditional religious systems.