University of Nigeria, UNN, bid Achebe farewell

chinua achebe
Chinua Achebe in 1967. Photo courtesy UK Guardian

Academics lamented the loss of the literary giant.

Scores of academics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) on Tuesday paid their last respect to the literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe, who died in March, in Boston, United States.

The body of the writer and poet was laid in state at the auditorium of the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.

There the academics filed past the casket draped with Nigerian Flag.

In his tribute, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Bartho Okolo, described Mr. Achebe as :one of the finest academics that the UNN has ever produced’’.

“We mourn him for his unique contributions to the development of our university and for the enormous visibility he brought to our university through his creative works, even in death.

“He will be remembered as a remarkable teacher, an astute administrator, a creative genius, a story teller and author of extra-ordinary ability,’’ he said.

Mr. Okolo said the Institute of African Studies, which he headed and the “Okike Journal” which he founded, would continue to serve as worthy and enduring monuments of his career in the university.

While consoling Mr. Achebe’s family for his loss, the vice-chancellor said that the university would immortalise him at the appropriate time.

In his remarks, the former Vice-Chancellor of Renaissance University, Agbani in Enugu State, Professor Emeka Okpara, described Mr. Achebe’s death as a great loss to Igbo land and Nigeria in general.

Mr. Okpara, a professor of psychology at UNN, stressed the need for Mr. Achebe to be immortalised by the university and in Igbo land for his dedication and contributions to the development of the nation.

Mr. Achebe’s body was escorted by his wife, Christy, his son Ikechukwu, family members and the town union from Ogidi, Anambra, while the Music Department of the University performed.

The late literary icon would be buried on Thursday in his home town, Ogidi.


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