May 15 2020 | Radio Biafra
Professor Chinua Achebe (born Mazi Albert Chinụalụmọgụ Achebe, 16 November 1930 – 21 March 2013), was a Biafran novelist, Poet, Professor, and Critic. His first novel “Things Fall Apart” was published in the year 1958 after a very rigorous delay by his Publisher’s, Things Fall Apart is often considered his masterpiece, the most widely read book in modern African literature.
Professor Chinua Achebe played a major role during the Biafra/Nigeria civil war, Chinua Achebe joined the Biafra government as an ambassador. He travelled the world seeking for International support for the people of Biafra.
According to him, the Igbo people were feeling aggrieved. This is why they had this fratricidal war in which, what, was it up to a million people? It was a huge number of people that died. You remember the pictures of children with their distended bellies, children suffering from enormous malnutrition. Many Nigerians are bitter about the Biafran civil war on both sides, the Igbo people who fought the war for Independence and those on the other side who wanted a united Nigeria.
To Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu’s surprise Chinua Achebe promised to work for Biafra to save humanity from total destruction, Chinua Achebe gladly accepted a request to serve as a Foreign Ambassador to the Biafra government, this made him refused an invitation from the Program of African Studies at Northwestern University in the US. Chinua Achebe travelled to many cities in Europe, including London to get the attention of humanity to the plight of his people in Biafra facing mass annihilation from the Nigerian government.
Addressing the causes of the war in 1968, Professor Chinua Achebe lashed out at the Nigerian political and military forces that had forced Biafra to secede. Achebe framed the conflict in terms of the country’s colonial past. The writer in Nigeria, he said, “found that the Independence his country was supposed to have won was totally without content and freedom of purpose. The old white master was still in power – proxy government of the British government by the Fulanis’ as envisaged in today’s Nigeria political affairs”. Professor Chinua Achebe inferred that the British government had got himself a bunch of black stooges to do his dirty work for a commission. Professor Chinua Achebe up till his death declined the Nigerian government’s attempt to give him national award. Citing Nigeria government gross inhuman treatments and war crimes against his people of Biafra.
That was the second time Chinua Achebe the erudite author of Things Fall Apart rejected the Nigerian National honour. Professor Chinua Achebe initially refused it in 2004. Professor Achebe issued a statement to Nigerian press to say that he was turning down the award because “the reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me”.
We remember a man of honour who fought and stood with his people without any fear or favour. We remember a literary icon who even as others were busy seeking favour from the Nigerian Government Federal side, Achebe rejected all advances made by the Nigerian government to have him on their side, a man who bluntly, boldly in the open rejected awards in a fraudulent Nigerian State should be given a posthumous recognition by the Indigenous People of Biafra for his resolve in Biafra till death.
The Indigenous People of Biafra will celebrate Professor Chinua Achebe because he remained a brave man of dignity and honour, probity and courage and throughout his lifetime never sought for crumbs from the Nigerian government till his demise. Professor Chinua Achebe stood for freedom, Justice and fairness for all irrespective of where you are coming from. Professor Chinua Achebe is an Icon, a Legend who never turned his back on his people of Biafra anytime he hears their cry, even when some of this Compatriots and Biafra brethren were doing so never did Achebe change his stand a bit.
Professor Chinua Achebe saw freedom, Justice and fairness must be relentlessly pursued it at all cost, Achebe memories will linger on in our hearts and will never to be forgotten, for his brave and unselfish actions shall echo till the end of time in Biafra, Prof. Achebe added more weight to the brave saying that “I die standing than live kneeling down”. Come 30th May 2020, when Biafra heroes shall be recalled, remembered and honoured, Prof. Achebe will definitely be among. Rest on Biafra Man of integrity.
Chibuike John Nebeokike
For: Radio Biafra Media