The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has paid a glowing tribute to renowned Nigerian writer and nationalist Chinua Achebe, who died last Thursday, describing him as a global icon for all time and an outstanding Nigerian brand.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party described Achebe’s death as a monumental loss not only to Nigeria but to the entire world, judging by the tributes that have been pouring in from around the world since his demise.
It said that apart from his rarefied achievements in the literary field and his scholarly excellence, Prof. Achebe was a nationalist, not minding the controversy generated by his last book, ”There was a country,” hence the the prominence given to the news of his death by newspapers and other media organisations across the country.
”Prof. Achebe’s nationalist and democratic credentials were unassailable. He loved Nigeria with a passion and used the platform offered by his global exposure to call attention, time and again, to the years of misrule in his homeland, which must have left a gaping hole in his heart till he breathed his last
”In one of his most poignant acts, he twice turned down the national honours bestowed on him by the Federal Government to show his disapproval for the brigandage and anti-democratic antics of the government of the day, especially as it concerns his home state of Anambra, where a sitting governor was abducted in the full glare of the police by scoundrels who also pillaged and plundered state institutions.
”By that singular act, he gave hope and voice to Nigerians who have been tormented endlessly by those who hold power but lack the responsibility attached to it, those who substituted national interests with their personal, parochial interests, and those who have turned Nigeria into a laughing stock in the comity of nations with their endless looting of the national treasury,” ACN said.
The party said with his outstanding works of literature, especially his all-time great novel, Things Fall Apart, Prof Achebe was – and remains even in death – undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s best brands that needed no government patronage to market all over the world.
”Unfortunately, the same Federal Government that is now writing glowingly about this great son of Nigeria lambasted him for daring to turn down its poisoned chalice tagged national honour, which it had hoped to use to get a quiet seal of approval from him for its poor governance and anti-democratic ways. A man they should have used to sell Nigeria to the world without squirreling away millions of dollars was pilloried to no end by those who are not fit to lace his shoes. Now, he’s gone! What a missed opportunity for a nation without a soul!” it lamented.
ACN said another lesson that Nigerians should learn from Prof. Achebe is that one can excel doing whatever he does best and in spite of any disability that may come one’s way in life.
”Prof. Achebe stuck to his calling all through his life, and yet achieved a global acclaim. Lesser beings would have leveraged their achievements to join the fat cats on the boards of huge companies, smiling to the bank all the way. Lesser beings would have curried favour from the government of the day, irrespective of its record.
”Even after he was involved in a road crash, itself a result of years of misrule and corruption that have turned our roads to death traps and hospitals to mortuaries, he refused to be silenced. From his wheelchair, his voice rang out loud and clear to the world, on behalf of the poor, the deprived and the oppressed in his homeland. This is the Achebe we remember, and we are sure the one whom most Nigerians revere,” the party said.
ACN said the best tribute that can be paid to Prof. Achebe is not just in naming monuments after him or tarring the road that passed through his hometown, adding: ”He can best be honoured and remembered by those who hold power using it for the common good of the greatest number of people, and by making Nigeria a country that every black man on earth will be proud of. There can be no greater honour.”
Also,Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson has commiserated with the Government and people of Anambra State as well as the immediate family of literary icon, late Chinua Achebe.
In a statement, Governor Dickson eulogized him for his towering legacies and accomplishments as a world acclaimed writer, activist as well as an unblemished and strong advocate of a better and greater Nigeria. He noted that, these qualities, which had inevitably endeared him to everyone , will ever remain green in the minds of all.
According to him, through his creative and intellectual disposition, as epitomized in his many literary presentations, many people around the world have come to recognize the reputation of Nigeria as not only a giant in itself, but a nation of giants in many fields of human endeavour.
“As a Government, as a State and as a people, we will continue to draw inspiration from your wonderful legacies, accomplishments and deep rooted conviction and vision for an egalitarian Nigeria,”Dickson said.
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