Chinua Achebe Can Only Be Immortalised On The Altar Of Social Justice – By Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu



There has been the usual noise making by perfidious politicians and other such rabble rousers of questionable character,   who in their dubious quest for relevance are requesting   that Chinua Achebe be immortalised through the naming of streets and other national institutions after him. It is either these unscrupulous politicians are suffering from bouts of “amnesia” or they are engaged in sheer deceit which after all is their stock in trade. If the hustling “lootocrat” politicians scratched their heads hard enough or pooled  the  wool  of  deceit from their eyes, they  would very well  remember  Achebe as a  man who never shared their sadistic  world of vanity, oppression, injustice  and corruption.   Chinua Achebe is an intellectual warrior and sage who literarily wore a “halo” of integrity,  humility and chastity around his head  until  the end of his journey on this earth.


Unlike the monumentally corrupt and morally bankrupt sadists, psychopaths and fraudsters who populate the Nigerian political class, invested in nothing other  than  the  vandalisation of the nation and dehumanisation of  the citizenry, Chinua Achebe feared neither  God nor  man.  Donned in battle fatigue and dug into the trench, he waged endless wars against the serial mis-rulers of Nigeria and against racist imperialists like Joseph Conrad who in his book “heart of darkness” caricatured Africans as wild beasts lacking in any civilisation. His book “a man of the people” published in 1966, derided  the blatant corruption and excesses of  the post colonial leaders while “the trouble with Nigeria” published in 1983 remains  the most  surgical, daring, audacious  and  stinging truth spoken to power  and is an indelible and timeless testament of Nigeria’s unrelenting  curse of bad leadership in the five decades since independence.


Rather than the easy choice and option of participating in the lucre and lure of Nigeria’s decrepit, primitive, ignorant and unconscionable leadership cabal, Chinua  Achebe stood in firm and uncompromising   opposition against them. He repeatedly  turned  down  national awards from the Nigerian government  as a form of protest  against the corruption, insensitivity and misrule of the Nigerian establishment.  Chinua Achebe was never a man who ran away from a good  fight in the cause of justice and equality, and it was a fight he undertook  through thick and thin, through toil and sweat  until he passed on to immortality,  to reside where angels dwell.


For a man like Achebe who abhorred and indeed  battled  the  Nigerian government  over  corruption and misrule,  it is nothing short of an abomination to propose as some dubious  politicians are doing the naming of Nigerian roads or institutions after him. The Chinua Achebe that I know would never have accepted such a tainted idea in his lifetime, definitely not with the ongoing looting and misrule by those who constitute Nigeria’s government.  It would thus amount to a desecration of Achebe’s values and character for anything originating from the present misrulers of the Nigerian space to bear his name.


Indeed  Achebe does not need to be immortalised for he is already immortal.  His life, work, legacy and character are etched in stone. As I did a scan of the  media over his burial, I counted more than twenty  international  publications from as far away as India to as near as Uganda that reported his burial. The electronic media was also agog in different parts of the globe with graphic reports of his burial. The global media took note of the passing of a legend  and all without exception described him as a literary icon and  a social crusader who fought relentlessly against corruption and misrule. Such an applause and recognition by an unbiased global audience is more than anything a testament of  his place in history.  Such a man thus;  does not need to be immortalised for his work, life and times has already immortalised him.



However  If the unscrupulous politicians in whose company Achebe would never  have been  found are serious about their so called  immortalisation of  Chinua Achebe, they  can do so by stopping the looting of the nations coffers,  the oppression, dehumanisation and pauperisation of the citizenry, the sponsoring of  ethno-religious conflicts and other acts of violence,  the rigging of elections and arming of thugs,  godfatherism  and  mediocrity in government.  These, amongst other measures   that enthrone social justice, good governance and leadership by example are the only possible altars upon which he can be immortalised  by  Nigeria’s decadent politicians.


Lawrence Chinedu Nwobu




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