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Achebe was an icon, national treasure and prophet

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Chinua Achebe lived as an icon, national treasure and prophet.

By C. Kingston Ekeke, Ph.D.

Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, and CLASSmagazine, Houston.                                                                 @Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Facebook.com/USAfrica247

We have lost a national treasure.
The late Prof. Chinua Achebe was a man of dignity, honor, and integrity.  He was a brilliant scholar and intellectual giant.  Chinua Achebe was a literary giant, a prolific writer, an iconic figure and Nigeria’s pride.chinua_achebe_file-pix3 He was a rare human-being, a man of moral consciousness and divine integrity. Prof. Achebe was Africa’s pride and a gift to the world.

As a poet, novelist and essayist, Chinua Achebe’s notable achievements include his famous 1958 novel, “Things Fall Apart,” which have sold more than 10 million copies and translated in more than 50 languages.  Things Fall Apart is read and studied in schools, colleges and institutions of higher learning in over 100 countries of the world. Achebe’s writings have influenced and inspired the global community for more than half a century.

As a philosopher, Chinua Achebe was a great thinker and intellectual icon. He was a true gem, a sage and an incomparable personality in human history.  He was a prolific author, a master writer and one of the most celebrated writers in the world.  Prof. Achebe stands incomparable amongst the world’s greatest writers, poets and novelists of all time.  Millions of writers—aspiring and skilled, as well as millions of readers around the world, found in him their inspiration. Even the world’s greatest poets are inspired by his writings and style.  His writing style reads like music and melody.

As a prophet, Chinua Achebe showed an intense concern about the nation’s corrupt and failed leadership.  In his famous book entitled: “The Trouble with Nigeria,” he succinctly writes, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.”   He was so concerned with the pandemic poverty, disease, corruption, violence, ethical and moral decadence in Nigeria due to failure of leadership. In his lifetime, he saw Nigeria degenerate from a nation of hope to a nation of lawlessness and irresponsible leadership.

Today, the wealth of the nation is being fleeced by a leadership cult that does not care for the common good of the country.  What we have today is a lawless and disorderly nation—a country with repugnant culture of callousness and irresponsibility.  A nation of ethnic jingoism and tribal hatred, a nation where truth is portrayed as false and false as truth depending on who is saying it. Chinua Achebe, the poet, philosopher, prophet and sage always spoke truth to power no matter whose feelings is hurt.

Like prophet Amos, Chinua Achebe spoke to a crumbling nation, a nation since independence has not been able to govern itself, a nation that has not truly enjoyed any period of political peace and economic prosperity despite its abundant resources—human and natural.

Like prophet Amos, Professor Achebe spoke to a nation that is inwardly rotten, against perverted religious nation and corrupt spiritual leaders—hypocritical priests, pastors, bishops, and syncretic church.

Like prophet Isaiah, Achebe possessed prophetic consciousness and spoke against a rebellious nation, a nation of cheaters, looters, liars, hypocrites and irresponsible leaders. He cried out for the ordinary folk who are cheated and exploited by those who claim to be their leaders. He understood the hurt and pains of millions of suffering Nigerians.  Like prophet Jeremiah, he wept for Nigeria and condemned social injustice and deceptive prosperity and warned her against injustice, idolatry, and immorality.  However, the sage also believed in the power and greatness of Nigeria that can only come when Nigeria buries its tumultuous past; make a sincere decision to live in peace again and genuine effort to re-integrate the Igbos and minorities in the affairs of Nigeria.

As a poet, he was a combination of Dante and Milton.  As a philosopher, he was Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle combined. And a prophet, he was the conscience of the nation and a combination of Hosea, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, and Jeremiah.  When one reads the writings of Chinua Achebe, one cannot help comparing him among the great and Greek Homeric epics, or English Shakespeare and other greats.  Chinua Achebe had a heightened sense of divine agony against the culture of callousness, corruption as well as lawless and disorderly country Nigeria had become.

His recent book, “There Was A Country— A Personal History of Biafra,” which has been described by New York Times as classic, the foremost novelist and world renowned essayist, Professor Chinua Achebe, not only recounts his experiences of the ethnic genocide against Ndi-Igbo, but the deliberate effort to exclude his ethnic people from the affairs of running the nation—a nation in which the Igbos constitute more than one-third of the population and contribute tremendously to the federation.
Despite the barrage of criticisms against his Biafra memoir by some political crabs and idlers because of his facts of genocide, pogrom and wicked monetary policy meted  against  Ndi-Igbo by Awo and Gowon, the literary icon and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Novelist Wole Soyinka agreed with most of the facts in Achebe’s book.  Frankly, it strikes me that most Nigerian political leaders are still living in denial.  As one commentator said, words and facts in Chinua Achebe’s latest sacramental book: “There was a country”, are sacrosanct. Nigeria cannot move forward until she deals with her past.  Nigeria cannot and will not move forward until repentance, genuine forgiveness and true reconciliation are made.   Ethnic jingoism and hatred, religious bigotry and intolerance, corruption and vision-less leadership are just some of the challenges hindering Nigeria’s development and progress.  Until the national leadership courageously deals with such issues, Nigeria will continue to exist in absolute vanity.

Chinua Achebe is a man of honor and integrity. He was a rare human-being and a heavenly gift to the world.  He was a great thinker and intellectual giant, the moral conscience of Nigeria and moral fighter for his ethnic people, Ndigbo. Among the dead and those living, even those who claim to be anointed writers today, none is comparable to the late Chinua Achebe.  He was a sage, an intellectual giant and global treasure. He possessed an indomitable spirit, and was a champion for justice and a prophet who used his pen to speak against a nation that continues to squander its greatness and glory because of religious intolerance, ethnic hatred and bad leadership.

Let it be noted that the Achebe’s family alone did loose their beloved father, grand-father, uncle, brother, etc., but Ndi-igbo, Nigeria, Africa and indeed the world lost a gem, a sage, and a rare man, whose name and books will continue to resonate throughout the entire global community.

In his book, a ‘Call to Conscience,’ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life but a comma that punctuates it to more loft significance.”

May Chinua Achebe and his works will live forever in our minds and hearts.
•Dr. Ekeke, Atlanta-based editorial contributor to USAfricaonline.com, a theologian, consultant and leadership scholar, is the author of several books—including Leadership Wisdom and Leadership Liability. He’s completing the writing of two books: “Leadership Prayer” and “The Problem with Nigeria” to be published this year. He is the founder & president of Leadership Wisdom Institute and the Rector of All Saints Anglican Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Long Live, CHINUA ACHEBE! The Eagle on the iroko.                                                                                       By Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, is the Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com

Africa’s most acclaimed and fluent writer of the English Language, the most translated writer of Black heritage in the world, broadcaster extraordinaire, social conscience of millions, cultural 

USAfrica-CLASSmagazine-special.cover Vol. 5.8 Achebe080808-chido

custodian and elevator, chronicler and essayist, goodwill ambassador and man of progressive rock-ribbed principles, the Eagle on the Iroko, Ugo n’abo Professor Chinua Achebe,joined his ancestors a few hours ago, at the age of 82, in a peaceful and graceful transition in the warm company of his family.

Reasonably, Achebe’s message has been neither dimmed nor dulled by time and clime. He’s our pathfinder, the intellectual godfather of millions of Africans and lovers of the fine art of good writing. Achebe’s cultural contexts are, at once, pan-African, globalist and local; hence, his literary contextualizations soar beyond the confines of Umuofia and any Igbo or Nigerian setting of his creative imagination or historical recall.

His globalist underpinnings and outlook are truly reflective of the true essence of his/our Igbo world-view, his Igbo upbringing and disposition. Igbos and Jews share (with a few other other cultures) this pan-global disposition to issues of art, life, commerce, juridical pursuits, and quest to be republicanist in terms of the vitality of the individual/self. 

In Achebe’s works, the centrality of Chi (God) attains an additional clarity in the Igbo cosmology… it is a world which prefers a quasi-capitalistic business attitude while taking due cognizance of the usefulness of the whole, the community.

I’ve studied, lived and tried to better understand, essentially, the rigor and towering moral certainties which Achebe have employed in most of his works and his world. I know, among other reasons, because I share the same Igbo ancestry with him.

Permit me to attempt a brief sentence, with that Achebean simplicty and clarity. Here, folks, what the world has known since 1958: Achebe is good! Eagle on the Iroko, may your Lineage endure! There has never been one like you! Ugo n’abo, chukwu gozie gi oo!

FULL text of this tribute-commentary at USAfricaonline.com click link http://usafricaonline.com/2013/03/22/long-live-chinua-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/

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WHY I CELEBRATE THE LIFE AND WORKS OF NELSON MANDELA. By Chido Nwangwu  http://usafricaonline.com/2010/07/15/mandela-why-i-celebrate-his-life-works-by-chido-nwangwu/

 

Mandela, others send tributes mourning Achebe

Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, and CLASSmagazine, Houston.                                                                 @Twitter.com/Chido247Facebook.com/USAfricaChido n Facebook.com/USAfrica247

The death of the grand-father of modern African literature Prof. Chinua Achebe is drawing several messages from some of the world’s leaders, Nigeria’s president, his friends, contemporaries and writers.

Achebe-n-Mandela. via USAfricaonline.com
Achebe-n-Mandela. via USAfricaonline.com

A statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in South Africa has been sent to the family of the late renowned writer Chinua Achebe. It conveyed, on behalf of the Chairperson, Board of Trustees and staff of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, “our condolences to the family of Prof. Chinua Achebe, a great African writer and thinker, who passed away on 21 March 2013 at the age of 82.”

Nelson Mandela, a friend of Achebe’s and an avid reader of his works, notably once referred to Prof. Achebe as a writer “in whose company the prison walls fell down” — a reference to Mandela’s 27 years in apartheid South Africa jail.

Both men are known for their principled positions on issues of justice, opposition to bigotry, discrimination and commitment to fairness to all persons and support for progressive pan Africanism.                                                                                                                               By Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University, is the Publisher of USAfrica and first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com

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Eight lessons of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. http://usafricaonline.com/2009/11/01/chido-8lessons-rwanda-genocide/

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A PRAYER FOR THE ACHEBES
By C. Kingston Ekeke, Ph.D.

On behalf of my family, I wish to express my deepest sympathy and condolences to the Achebe family over the passing to glory (in March 2013) of Chinua Achebe in Boston, Massachusetts and his older brother, Philip Achebe in Atlanta, Georgia — a week prior. I pray God Almighty to encourage your hearts and for you to know that your beloved ones have departed this earthly realm to be with the LORD in heaven.  They have entered into everlasting peace and glory where there are no more pain, sickness, and suffering.

May God dry your tears and fill you and your family with comfort during this time of grieve, sorrow, and sadness.  May the Lord grant the dead eternal peace and give the bereaving family the fortitude to bear this huge loss.  May his soul rest in eternal peace!

May the Lord bless Albert Chinualumogu Achebe and keep you; May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; May the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24). Amen.

 

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AFRICA

World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  • USAfricaonline.com  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass

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Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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AFRICA

USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru

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PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • USAfricaonline.com • @USAfricaLive

 

Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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