Anambra State Commissioner for Information, Mr C Don Adinuba has described late Prof. Chinua Achebe as the conscience of Nigeria and an advocate of arts as service to society. Adinuba said this when he received members of Society of Young Nigerian Writers, who paid him courtesy visit in his office at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat, Awka.
``Achebe was a prophet, seer and prognosticator, whose novel, `Man of the people’ predicted the January 1966 coup and its counter coup, six months after.
``We are happy that Achebe wrote his greatest novel `Things Fall Apart’ at 28. Things Fall Apart was the first intellectual book in Africa.
``Other publications before, then in the form of the popular Onitsha Market Literature (chap books) did not have the `Things Fall Apart’ subtlety.
``Achebe is one of the best brands that the country has ever produced and we are proud of his memory; he is one of the most cited authors in Africa today.
``His pamphlet, `The Trouble with Nigeria’ is also cited by most people,’’ he added.
The commissioner said that Achebe was what every writer should aspire to be, especially in a country, like Nigeria, where social injustices had been endemic.
He noted that the governor had a special honour for Chinua Achebe which he would unveil himself.
Adinuba adds: ``I will be in the forefront to honour Achebe as a personal friend’’.
The commissioner, then, nominated Mr Uzor Maxim Uzoatu as a liaison officer for the Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra chapter.
Earlier, Coordinator of the young writers, Mr Izunna Okafor, announced that there would be a literary festival in honour of Achebe on Nov. 16.
November 16 is the birthday of Achebe, who hailed from Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra.
``We have been celebrating this annually because since his death nothing has been done to immortalise him and it will be bad if other states do so before Anambra State.
``When I refer to Achebe, I use `is’ rather than `was’ because I see him as a living legend,’’ he said.
Mr Okafor explained that they would use Achebe as benchmark being the quality they expect of any good writer to possess.
He requested the commissioner to appoint an officer, who would liaise between them and government. They also requested the Government to site a Writers Residence in the state.
Secretary of the organisation, Miss Maureen Onyinye Kenneth, expressed satisfaction at immediate appointment of a liaison officer.