Tinubu mourns Achebe, describes him as national treasure

chinua achebe
Chinua Achebe in 1967. Photo courtesy UK Guardian

The former Lagos Governor eulogised the literary icon.

A former Governor of Lagos State and leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria, Bola Tinubu, has described the death of Professor Chinua Achebe as the loss of yet another national treasure who died unfulfilled in his dream to see a better governed, fully democratic and united Nigeria.

Mr. Tinubu in a statement by his spokesman, Sunday Dare, said, “Achebe’s words were like the arrows of God penetrating the fortresses of our leaders and striking their hearts to do good, unfortunately not many harkened and that is why we remain stuck as a people and a country”.

The former governor said notwithstanding his exploits on the literary stage and his world-acclaimed status, Mr. Achebe had one regret, which is the failure of successive Nigerian leadership to birth a new country and liberate Nigerians from abject poverty and want.

Chinua Achebe lived an exemplary life of sacrifice and excellence. He was a critique-general who through his writings offered lucid suggestions and advice on how Nigeria’s problems can be tackled. We are able to glean from his writings a burning desire for change and a crushing devotion to the emancipation of the larger society,” he said.

According to Mr. Tinubu, the deceased’s writings will stand the test of time, but more importantly, his books , essays and commentaries will stand as ringing indictments to all the Nigerian leaders, nay Africa who fail to liberate their people from the shackles of want and poverty.

The former governor said Nigeria has a lot to offer not just the world but her citizens; but unfortunately, the best, the brightest and selfless amongst us are often shoved aside. Our loss has been the gain of other countries, the former governor said.

“The world recognized and elevated him for the brilliance of his writings and his seminal interventions, while the Nigerian government treated him like an irritant and one of the pesky activists. We may do more to immortalize Achebe but he is already immortalized through his writings,” he said.

Mr. Tinubu recalled how Achebe’s life and writings touched many and mentored several.

“In my personal encounters with him, his simplicity, his forthrightness and his engaging personality struck me. Achebe and his writings were one and the same. He breathed what he preached.

“Though he elicits different reactions from different people, Achebe’s love for his people and his patriotism was unquestionable. His devotion to creating a better society was resolute,” he said.

Mr. Tinubu said Nigeria must listen and recognize our best minds and not waste them. He described Mr. Achebe as primus inter pares, a social crusader, the conscience of our nation.

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