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‘Achebe’s cerebral spirit of a literary maestro does not belong on the conveyor belts of a cargo airport in Umuleri’

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  • October 11, 2023
  • 4 min read
‘Achebe’s cerebral spirit of a literary maestro does not belong on the conveyor belts of a cargo airport in Umuleri’

‘A Chinua Achebe University will serve as academic mecca for Achebe’s teeming literary disciples, intellectual mausoleum for his literary spirit’

‘Anambra should build a state-of-the-arts writer’s residency with ultra modern library in memory of Achebe’

By Editor

SOME culture workers, an associate professor among, have insisted that naming a cargo airport after the legendary Chinua Achebe was a disservice to Nigerian, nay African culture that the eminent ancestor championed. An Associate Professor of drama at University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Greg Mbajorgu and Vitus Ezoke said Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, is a poor student of cultural history and could have named a better institution worthy of the stature of Achebe, saying he perhaps acted on some political spur-of-the-moment that reduces the stature of Achebe.

“Achebe’s works alone has immortalized him,” Mbajorgu said. “Where are all 16th Century Golden castles of the Shakespearean English Era? They have all been ravished by war, but Shakespeare looms so large today that World Book Day is celebrated in his honour. Airports, like all buildings, will come and go, but Achebe’s true legacy (his novels) will live for ever. Like Shakespeare, (Bernard) Shaw, (Wole) Soyinka and the rest, Achebe is an Immortal. No need immortalising an immortal; that’s why no airport In England is namedafter William Shakespeare.”

But Ezoke takes the matter further when he insists that Governor Soludo has actually insulted Achebe by naming an airport after him. He said the only fitting way to immortalise a man like Achebe would have been to name a university after him.

According to him, “It is sad how we celebrate horrible political decisions. I’m sure Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State believes he has done the greatest honour to Prof. Chinua Achebe’s memory by renaming a cargo airport in Umuleri after him. Achebe was a literary juggernaut. The one landmark honour that makes the most sense for Achebe is naming a serious university after him. Not a cargo airport.

“Very soon Soludo’s one-term governorship tenure will be up, and he will not have a single thing to show for it. Renaming a cargo airport built by Governor Willie Obiano with money left by Governor Peter Obi will not be counted as an accomplishment for Chukwuma Soludo.

Prof. Chinua Achebe

“If Soludo is serious about honouring Achebe, he should build a serious university and name it after him. That is a fitting tribute to him and the essence of his life and his life’s work. A Chinua Achebe University will not only serve as an academic mecca for Achebe’s teeming literary disciples, it will also serve as an intellectual mausoleum for his literary spirit.

“Achebe was never an import or export trader. A cargo airport for the hauling of goods does not in any way reflect or represent the literary giant. People who want to pay homage to Achebe should be able to go to Chinua Achebe University, not a cargo airport in Umuleri. I’m sure Governor Soludo knows that.”

Recalling that Achebe founded the Association of Nigerian Authors, Mbajorgu said, “To honour him therefore, Anamosa State should build a state-of-the-arts writer’s residency with an ultra modern library (in his memory) to ensure that the state will continue to produce more Achebes and (Chimamanda Ngozi) Adichies. I can understand (Governor Soludo naming an airport after Achebe), but let the government consolidate on Achebe’s effort with a writer’s resort and an ultra modern library. Our dear state that has produced Achebe, (Cyprian) Ekwensi, Chukwuemeka Ike, Chimamanda (Adichie) and numerous others can become a UNESCO designated first literature capital in the Southeast.”

Ezoke said Governor Soludo was being politically clever by half by his unwise action since Achebe never belonged to his sense of his tory, adding, “I’m sure Soludo knows that Achebe’s memory does not belong in some cargo airport in Umuleri. I’m sure Soludo knows that Achebe’s memory should be housed in an academic environment. Soludo knows that. The sad reality, however, is that Soludo has not built a university, or even a library, to name after Professor Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe. So, what does he do? What does Soludo do? He takes the cerebral spirit of a literary maestro and lays it on the conveyor belts of a cargo airport in Umuleri.

“And he expects accolades for such insult and dishonour? Look, there should be no accolades for Soludo. Professor Chinua Achebe Cargo Airport, Umuleri, may just be the single greatest testament to Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s non-performance in Anambra State.”

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