Achebe’s literary achievements and the messages he sent through his writings echo around the world- seeking changes where they are needed. Thus, his indelible footprints cut across cultures, countries and personalities around the globe. The dream of every active literary writer is to see the changes they seek in their immediate society and the world at large. Achebe hoped and prayed for his messages to sink into ears and hearts of his people. He hoped the political class would channel their services towards the people they governed; but reverse is the case today!
He criticized government at all levels for violations of human rights and promoting poverty in Nigeria. Imagine, that fateful day, the gathering could have been a place for sober reflections and celebration of a well productive life he spent on earth. It turned out to be goldmine for pickpockets. It is a fact some locals and foreign nationals who were present that day had their cell phones stolen, the wallets of other disappeared, despite the heavy presence of dour looking security personnel. Come to think of it, if these politicians at all levels governed their subjects well, this abysmal embarrassment wouldn’t have occurred to this extent. Armies of unemployed young men and women with criminal minds took advantage of the gathering. It was a big lesson for our politicians to learn.
Another abysmal embarrassment came from Nigeria president when he stood up and announced a pledge in conjunction with Ghanaian government to renovate the primary school Achebe attended. After all, these great things the literary giant had done for humanity, it was only primary school Nigeria government approved to be renovated in partnership with a foreign country! Na wa o! When we have newly established federal universities across the country, national theatre and other cultural institutions, it was a primary school that Mr President thought fit to immortalize Achebe with!
Another vexing event that happened that day, the leader of federal government delegation to the funeral, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba displayed what the sociologists call ‘culture insensitivity’. When he announced the presence of a member in the delegation, in person of Gen Mohammed Magoro (rtd), a now serving senator, as a Nigeria civil war veteran who commanded federal troops to the eastern front during the unfortunate civil war the country; it did not go down well with the predominantly Igbo audience, who returned a pregnant silence.
Emmanuel Mohammed, Abuja <email@example.com>;