By Sandra Birungi
Many have paid their tributes to one of the best novelists of Africa who is known for writing anti-colonial novels, Chinua Achebe.
Chinua Achebe passed away on Friday 22nd March in Boston from acute pneumonia.
The State Governor of Akwa Ibom, Chief Godswill Akpabio said the late Achebe was a man who brought honour and great respect to Nigeria and Africa through his literally exploits. He went on to say that his contributions to literature and education in general will outlive many generations.
The Anambra State Government described the late Achebe as the social conscience of Nigeria, while announcing the opening of condolence registers for him at the Conference Hall of the Government House and the Anambra State liaison offices in Abuja and Lagos.
Imo State House of Assembly Speaker, Hon. Benjamin Uwajumogu said the death of Mr. Achebe was not only a personal loss to him but also to the Assembly and all lovers of knowledge and development globally. “Honestly, I lack words to describe Professor Chinua Achebe. He was the professor of professors, socio-cultural icon, foremost social crusader of our time. He was the Ogbuefi of African literature.”
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) said his death has robbed the country of a rare patriot.
The party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said, ”Prof. Achebe’s nationalist and democratic credentials were unassailable”.
ANPP National Chairman, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, said, “He was a patriot of uncommon vision, an intellectual pillar of universal appeal and with a distinct literary prowess. He was also an administrator of profound convictions and above all, an illuminating pathfinder whose works placed him on the mountain top. He remained tireless in his resolve of showing the way for others to follow. In his writings, he showed extraordinary skill and ability.”
Former Minister of Information, Prof. Dora Akunyili in a statement said Mr. Achebe’s deaths was a loss of an extraordinary person. “As we say in Igboland when an extraordinary person dies, the Iroko has fallen. I feel a sense of personal loss because Prof. Chinua Achebe was not only from my state, Anambra, but was also one of my role models right from my days as a faculty member at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), where he also taught until the road accident that made him to relocate to the USA. Prof. Achebe’s death leaves a void not only in Nigeria and Africa but also globally because he is one of the best novelists the world has ever produced. He will be sorely missed but we take solace in his rich legacies,” she said.
Bauchi State Governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda said, “Reading books written by the late professor, including Things Fall Apart, one would learn great lessons of life.”
Wole Soyinka said, “We have lost a brother, a colleague, a trailblazer and a doughty fighter.” Writing for the Guardian’s Comment, Soyinka said: “No matter the reality, after the initial shock, and a sense of abandonment, we confidently assert that Chinua lives. His works provide their enduring testimony to the domination of the human spirit over the forces of repression, bigotry, and retrogression.”
Mr. Achebe was wheelchair-bound since a car accident in 1990.
Denja Abdullahi, the vice president of the Association of Nigerian Authors said, ”He was the first of our African writers to tell the story from our own perspective. But even beyond Africa, people who were colonized or oppressed could relate to his stories. He’s the father of African literature and children always try to imitate the good qualities of their fathers.”
Burial arrangements are yet to be announced.