As the world prepares to bid the late literary sage, Prof. Chinua Achebe farewell, Primate of the Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh has described him as one of the greatest gifts God has given to Africa, Nigeria and the Igbo nation at large.
“Prof. Chinua Achebe was God’s gift to Africa, Nigeria and the Igbo people. We thank God for his life,” he remarked.
Delivering a heart-felt sermon yesterday at the National Christian Centre in Abuja during the commendation service in honour of Achebe, organised by the Anglican Communion, Okoh said Achebe succeeded in spreading of Africa to other parts of the world. “Achebe succeeded in spreading the knowledge of African literature to the other parts of the world.
“He offered what he had to the world. He offered to God and from God to the world. The Igbo man became known through Achebe. The tradition of the people became known. We were exposed to the new order through Achebe’s works. In Things Fall Apart, we will see that the old order was struggling with the new order. “We are surprised that his people are struggling to bury him in the old order. Achebe has become part of the new order.
Whoever wants to study about our forefathers, Things Fall Apart is a perfect book. Achebe wasn’t recognised because he was quoted as one of the richest. He had a gift given to him by God. Through that, the world came to know him. Achebe’s calling in the literary world was a great one,” Okoh said. Okoh took his reading from the book of James 1:17, which reads: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with who is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
The clergyman frowned at the low turn out of Nigerians during the commendation service, saying, “We thought we will be more than this.” Extolling the virtues of Achebe further, Okoh said: “Achebe had the intellect. He acted on it and God impacted it. Today, it is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to imbibe what Achebe stood for. People like Achebe are role models who we should recommend to our young people.
They should emulate people like him who worked hard to become what they are. Money has a limited application. If you’ve money and has no value, you’ll pass away without any impact. I want to call on young people to emulate people like Achebe to follow the examples of Achebe. “Chinua Achebe is a gold medalist in literature. He was a man of principle. Whatever you have, use it for the good of humanity because soon, they’ll not be in your hand when you’re gone.
Why we have the privilege of life, let us use it for the good of the larger society. Today, many of our people travel to India for medical treatments. Let us reduce the trend of people travelling out for medical treatments.” In her remarks, Minister of Finance, Okonjo Iweala said: “He was an international figure and a great literary icon. He was incredible figure and we should all be very proud of him.
He has created a huge vacuum in this country. His departure has created a vacuum. I don’t think anyone can fill Achebe’s shoes.” Minister of Information Labaran Maku said: “In my opinion, Achebe is the greatest Nigerian in the last 100 years. Through his literature, he has placed Africa on the world map. He will continue to remain relevant in the next 1, 000 years. We see his passing as only transiting in the physical form.”