18 January 2017
Deyika's most recent role was of course the one that should have given him, deservedly, the most prominence: he had been selected as our candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester in this May's election. He embraced the role with growing enthusiasm, and would have made an excellent contribution to what will be a high-profile contest. Astrid Johnson, Co-Chair of Manchester Green Party and Deyika's campaign manager said, “We are all in shock to lose this incredible man and good friend. Deyika was one of the most compassionate and thoughtful people I know. He cared deeply about equality for everyone, in Hulme, Manchester and as a Mayoral Candidate for all the communities in Greater Manchester. His fight has always been against poverty and inequality. My main thoughts are with his lovely family at this time for their incredible loss.”
Deyika was a former Chair of the Manchester Green Party, having joined the Party in 2010, and had represented the Party in his home community of Hulme in a number of elections, starting with the By-Election in November 2010. He was also a key member of Greens of Colour.
But his activism was not just party political: he was involved in the Manchester Environmental Education Network, the PAC45 Foundation and was a driving force behind the Northern Police Monitoring Project. He was also on the Management Committee of Southern Voices, devoted to raising awareness and understanding of issues facing the Global South, which had most recently arranged an exhibition, From the Shadows of War and Empire, examining the impact of the First World War on British colonies. He had recently co-authored an article calling for the release of the remaining Black Panthers.
Apart from his political writing on his Hulme Green Party blog and elsewhere, Deyika was influential as a poet on the Manchester's cultural scene. He was Co-Chair of Sustained Theatre Up North (BAME creatives), supporting the Fade to Black Film Festival; and he was Chair of Commonword, a writing development organisation based in Manchester.
Deyika was born in Manchester and lived there his whole life. He went to Burnage High School, and then to Leicester Polytechnic.
To support himself and his family, Deyika was one of the country's many temporary workers, which he realised was a precarious situation, but described it as an educational one. Seeing the changes to the country's welfare systems as someone who needed them helped to further shape his views of economic and social policy.
All in all, Deyika was involved in a diverse range of causes, but there were common themes: inspiring creativity, fighting poverty and austerity, tackling racism, promoting equality and defending the environment.
His many friends and colleagues have reflected on Deyika's warmth, his humanity, and his willingness to put the welfare of those around him before his own. In particular, we will remember how he never viewed his work as being about him – he even wanted his Mayoral campaign to be focused not on Deyika the individual, but on the issues and causes he stood for.
It is a mark of how engaged and committed he was in all of those causes that so many tributes have been paid to him: from members of the Green Party; from Commonword; from STUN; from MEEN; from Manchester Climate Monthly and a personal appreciation from his colleague at Commonword, Peter Kalu.
At this sad time Deyika's campaign team and the Greater Manchester Green Parties’ Forum plan to discuss the future work on the mayoral campaign at a later point in January.
Deyika is survived by his mother, Christina Iyaji, his sister Ada, brothers Gogo and Ikem, and his three children, Leona, Nathan and Ejiké.
Again, all our thoughts and condolences are with his family.