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
”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.”