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Staff, students rain tributes on Achebe at UNN, rush to sign condolence register

By News Express on 28/03/2013

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Over 170 tributes made it to the condolence register in three days as staff and students of the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) poured out their hearts over the passage of renowned writer Prof. Chinua Achebe.

The condolence register in the ground floor lobby of the Faculty of Arts of the university follows the formal tribute in honour of the former UNN faculty member by Vice-Chancellor Prof. Bartho Okolo.

Okolo had described Achebe as “one of the academic titans whose presence on our faculty served as a beacon of light that drew the world to the University of Nigeria.”

Achebe was a professor of English at UNN and also served as Director of the Institute of African Studies until a 1990 road accident left him paralysed and forced him to relocate to the USA.

The Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof. Uchenna Anyanwu, described Achebe as a literary icon of towering visibility.

Prof. Ikenna Dieke of the Department of English and Literary Studies wrote: “Achebe is a rare jewel, star among stars with simple elegance. He reminds us of our inner and outer beauty and warns us against the insidious politics of cultural hegemony. Adieu our super hero.”

Prof. I.T. Egonu of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literary Studies observed that Achebe’s name would continue to resonate since “it was the age of Achebe.”

Egonu further stated: “Chinua Achebe epitomizes the moral greatness that Africa longs for but has been unable to achieve. An intellectual colossus, Achebe’s contempt for vulgar and empty honour, which fascinates the Nigerian political elite, places him above his age and times. When the noisy crowd of Nigeria leaders are gone and forgotten, Chinua Achebe will be the star posterity will point at. It was the age of Achebe, he was a lone voice of honour and integrity of that age. Rest in peace a great soul, you have fought a good fight, you have kept the hope of a better Nigeria society alive.”

Prof. Damian Opata, Achebe’s student and colleague at the Department of English and Literary Studies, UNN, wrote: “My teacher and hero, an inspirer of sorts, a creative guru, a postcolonial and cultural critic; fare thee well.”

Prof. M. F. Inyama said: “Achebe is a man I knew quite closely as his younger colleague in the Department of English. He was a great man and he will remain immortal, very unassuming, humble, realistic and courageous. We thank God that He created Achebe and gave him to Africans so that he would do what he did for us through his writings. Achebe made the world to realize that a black man was no beast; he made the world understand that a black man should be treated with respect. His legacy will last forever.”

Dr. E. U. Eguda, of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies had this to say: “Achebe, you are the Shakespeare of Africa. Your works have immortalised you. Fare thee well.”

Dr. Fidelis Okoro of the Department of English and Literary Studies wrote: “Achebe came into the literary world with a roar (Things Fall Apart) and he left with a thunder (There Was A Country). We will always be grateful for the steps in the sand of literature.”

Also, Odo Mathew, Faculty of Arts Course Representative wrote: “A great vacuum has been created in literary world. Who can fill this gap. Oh! Things have fallen apart.”

Mmadu Tochukwu, a student of the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, lamented: “If tears could bring you back to life, I would have produced an ocean of tears. Words cannot tell how greatly we miss you. Nevertheless, may your gentle soul rest in peace, our great iroko.”

In an earlier statement, Vice-Chancellor Prof. Bartho Okolo said the UNN would be glad to participate in all activities aimed at honouring the departed faculty member.

Achebe (shown in photo) died in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, last Thursday night, March 21, aged 82. He was described as the grandfather of modern African literature. He taught literature to generations of students at the University of Nigeria and founded in Nsukka the literary journal of new writing, Okike, credited for giving life to the careers of many distinguished writers.

Source News Express

Posted 28/03/2013 8:43:13 PM


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