The exit of the rare gem Chinua Achebe
By Prof. Bernard-Thompson Ikegwuoha
As an academic, and author, and most importantly, as an Igbo man who all his life wanted Nd’Igbo to be united and speak with one voice on issues of politics and governance of Nigeria, Prof. Chinua Achebe employed all the core Igbo characteristics: wisdom, industry and success, in helping to isolate some of the problems with the Igbo people: crisis of common ancestral parentage and/or origin; crisis of institutional political systems, crisis of collective interest and aspiration and over and above, crisis of Igbo leadership.
Thus in discussing “The Trouble with Nigeria,” Prof. Achebe emphatically indicated that: “The real problem with the Igbos since Independence is precisely the absence of the kind of central leadership which their competitors presume and prescribe for them. This lack has left them open to self-seeking, opportunistic leaders who have offered Nd’Igbo no help at all, especially in coping with a new Nigeria in which individual progress would no longer depend on [hard-work] and where the rules are no more set by a fairly impartial(colonial) umpire.
One thing I have come to know about Prof. Achebe is that he condemned through his writings, the phenomenon of self-seeking opportunistic leaders in Igboland –those he described as self acclaimed individualized Igbo leaders who still constitute themselves into a fulcrum around which the Igbo people as a group are manipulated, disorganized and denied their rightful positions in Nigeria.
He believed as must as I also agreed with him that these “self-acclaimed” Igbo leaders talk to themselves and hear themselves and ultimately begin to surrender to the illusion that they have talked to, and heard from, the Igbo masses. Prof. Achebe as a rare gem, and genius, saw in these self-acclaimed Igbo leaders, selfish aspiration to leadership positions in Nigeria; they also seek fame as Igbo leaders without pursuing the collective interests of Nd’Igbo; consequently, they surrender to the illusion that they are leading the Igbo people.
Without Prof. Achebe, the problems of Nd’Igbo would not have ever been reviewed, let alone tackled –although no solution has yet been found to the problem of leadership in Igbo land. He courageously reprimanded those who have continuously sold the birth right of Nd’Igbo -political leaders and party careerists –especially, Senators, Legislators, Governors, L.G Council Chairpersons, Councilors, in short, Igbo political class. It is no surprise that he asserted that Igbo political elites or class have failed the Igbo people in their”collective aspiration” in Nigeria. This is why Prof. Achebe once described “the bankrupt state of Igbo leadership.”
Prof. Chinua Achebe, the father of African Literature, author, leader, father, grandfather, cousin, etc., will forever be missed; he remains the only Nigerian to have twice refused Nigerian national honors from two Nigerian Presidents because of “The Trouble with Nigeria(n)” leadership and underdevelopment. Through many of his world acclaimed publications, especially “Things Fall Apart,” which has been translated into several languages, Prof. Achebe has successfully put Igbo people and Igbo nation in a “globalized world.”
As we all already know, the world is a global village: politically and economically speaking. It must be recognized today that some of the positive recognitions of Nd’Igbo have to a certain degree come from Prof. Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart.”
Adieu Prof. Chinua Achebe!
•Ikegwuoha, Professor of Political Theory & Philosophy at the American Military University (AMU) and contributing editor of USAfrica multimedia networks since 2003, serves as Chairman of the Nigerian PDP USA Chapter.
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
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 https://usafricaonline.com/2013/03/22/long-live-chinua-achebe-by-chido-nwangwu/
Mandela, others send tributes mourning Achebe
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.
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
Eight lessons of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide. By Chido Nwangwu, Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. https://usafricaonline.com/2009/11/01/chido-8lessons-rwanda-genocide/