WorldStage Newsonline-- President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara State have joined other well meaning Nigerians to morun the passing away of one of the country's literal giant, Prof. Chinua Achebe.
Professor Achebe, the author of the famous African cultural exponent, Things Fall Apart, died on Friday morning at a hospital in the United States after a brief illness. He was aged 82 years.
President Jonathan said he received with immense sadness, news of the passing away of Nigeria’s globally acclaimed writer, scholar, tutor, cultural icon, nationalist and artist of the very first rank.
The President commensurate with Prof. Achebe’s family, his friends, colleagues, past and present students, admirers and all who have learnt indelible lessons of human existence from his award winning works of literature in mourning the legendary author.
He wants his associates to be consoled by the knowledge that Prof. Achebe will live forever in the hearts and minds of present and future generations through his great works which brought him enduring international fame and countless honours.
The President believed that Prof. Achebe’s frank, truthful and fearless interventions in national affairs will be greatly missed at home in Nigeria because while others may have disagreed with his views, most Nigerians never doubted his immense patriotism and sincere commitment to the building of a greater, more united and prosperous nation that all Africans and the entire black race could be proud of.
He recalled that with maturity and global stature, Prof. Achebe fearlessly spoke the truth as he saw it and became, as he advanced in age, a much revered national icon and conscience of the nation who will be eternally honoured for his contributions to national discourse as well as the immense fame and glory he brought to his fatherland.
On behalf of himself, his family, the Federal Government and all Nigerians, President Jonathan extends heartfelt condolences to Prof Achebe’s family.
He prayed that God Almighty will receive Prof. Achebe’s great soul and grant him eternal rest from his outstanding earthly labours.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Friday expressed grief at the passage of literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe describing his death as a great loss not only to the literary world but humanity.
Governor Fashola, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr. Hakeem Bello, recalled his meeting with Professor Achebe last December at Brown University, Providence in Rhodes Island United States, where he had gone to deliver a keynote Paper at the 2012 Achebe Colloquium on Africa, saying he was particularly saddened by the fact that there was nothing that indicated that the meeting would be the last.
“I am particularly saddened by the fact that when I met him at Brown University last December, I never realized it will be my last with him. It is, indeed a great loss and given the great contribution he has made in shaping the course of African Literature, he will be sorely missed, especially by the literary world”, Governor Fashola said.
Describing the literary icon as “Father of modern African Literature”, Governor Fashola declared, “He is a towering African figure whose personality transcends the walls of ethnicity and religion and whose literary prowess has taken Nigeria and, indeed, the African Continent to the pinnacle of international recognition.
The Governor, who noted that he read the famous Things Fall Apart”, as a Literature student in secondary school, stated, “I must say, without any reservation, that Professor Achebe’s ingenuity as writer and the power behind his words influenced my generation to no small extent and opened our eyes to the rich culture, tradition and belief of our people.
“And here, perhaps, lies his greatest contribution to the Black Race; for through such world classics as Things Fall Apart, Professor Achebe was able to keep our culture, tradition and belief alive in spite of the onslaught of other cultures”, the Governor said.
Governor Fashola said Nigeria, Africa and the Black Race owe Professor Achebe a wealth of gratitude and honour “for his uncompromising stand against all forms of colonialism and man’s inhumanity to man”, adding that both nationally and internationally, the literary don agitated for equality and objectivity.
“Indeed, Professor Achebe has left an indelible print in all our hearts but, especially, all literature lovers globally. He will continually live in our hearts as one who shaped and influenced African Literature and one who passed one of integrity’s truest tests, a constant abiding with principle”, the Governor said.
Condoling with the Achebe family and praying for the repose of the sole of the deceased, Governor Fashola enjoined his widow and other members of his family, the people of Anambra State and Nigerians in general, to take solace in the rich legacy of integrity, dignity and honour which he has bequeathed to Nigeria, the African Continent and to the international human community through his literary ingenuity.
The Governor of Kwara State, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed has described the death of Professor Chinua Achebe as an exit of a remarkable African, literary genus and promoter of African culture per excellence.
Governor Ahmed recalls, in a message on the death of Professor Chinua Achebe issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, that Prof. Achebe’s incursion into the creative world through works like Things Fall Apart, Arrow of God, No longer at Ease helped in pushing African literary creativity to the front burner of world attention.
“There is no doubt that Late Prof. Chinua Achebe was African Ambassador to the world literary scene who played critical role, through different genres of literature, in reshaping the world’s perception of Africa”, the Governor added.
According to Governor Ahmed Prof. Achebe would be sorely missed by all good people of the world. He urged the Achebe family to take solace in the fact that their patriarch’s memory will remain ever green in the minds of many across the world who accessed his literary works.