Life activities was literally brought to a stand still in Anambra state yesterday when the body of the late literary icon and son of the state, Prof Chinualumogu Achebe laid in state for a short but very impressive open air service at Dr Alex Ekwueme Square, Awka enroute Ogidi, his country home.
More so, the state anxiously expects no fewer than three Presidents and heads of Government at Ogidi for the burial this morning.
This was disclosed by Governor Peter Obi who led mourners to pay tribute to Achebe in Awka as the literary giant began his final journey in his state of birth yesterday.
It was indeed a day of tributes Gov Obi led in the ceremony, several people strived to outdo one another with well written and apparently rehearsed tributes tumbled in from home and abroad.
Archbishop Anthony Obinna who declined to be active chairman of the late literary icon burial activities, Professor Chinua Achebe opened the tribute floodgate by reminiscing his invitation to Achebe to the 1999 at the Odenigbo lecture series titled: Echi di ime-Taa bu gbo during which Achebe warned against the decline of Igbo language and culture.
The cleric in his message titled: Re-at homing Chinua Achebe or
Rectishaping our world before the full square recalled that that
invitation was a home coming for Achebe who was in exile for nine years in the United States of America, said that looming spirit of Achebe has “been re-at-homed in our land so that the mission of rectishaping Igbo land, Nigeria and the world at large may be honourably continued and sustained by you and me”.
Archbishop Obinna also recalled that when he was doing his doctoral dissertation, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Arrow
of God came very handy.
Senator Chris Ngige, whose maltreatment by the lords at Aso Rock Villa then when he held sway as governor of Anambra accounted partly for Achebe’s refusal of the national honours urged the gathering to emulate Achebe’s courage and resilience.
Ngige recalled that he was attacked repeatedly in 2005 he was while in office and Anambra public property burnt, it was only Achebe that spoke up .
Achebe’s body was earlier received at the Amansea border said that the state will continue to honour Anambra people. He recalled that when Prof. Chike Obi died and afterwards Chief Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu the state organised their state funeral
and honoured them.
He said that when the state Government wanted assistance from the Un-Habitat, the mention of Achebe and Chike Obi’s name fetched the state $900,000.00.
Other speakers paid glowing tribute to Achebe at the occasion.
These include his childhood friends, mentors, publishers, University of Ibadan, Bishop of Awka, Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, Speaker of the state House of Assembly Princess Chinwe Nwebili, Prof. Oby Ezekwesili, initiator of out Suwakwa Igbo Prof. Pita Ejiofor and so on.