Achebe: Conscience Of A Soiled Land
Some men simply never die. Their immunity outwit the cold and greedy hands of death. Their works scorn the sting of death, and they linger in the hearts of many, imprinted in the souls of men, indelible in the sands of time. As Achebe goes home at eighty two, an Iroko has fallen down. He wasn't just a colossus of words, he was the conscience of our land. Twice the carrot of National Honour was dangled before him. And twice, he vehemently refused it on the premise that things have continued to fallen apart in the land. We simply can never forget him, for he stirred our minds and stretched our imaginations. He threw our minds in sweet captivity, and assaulted our conscience to be forged aright. On such a man, death can never win it's war. From the historical writings of THINGS FALL APART, we beheld the polarised character of Okonkwo. We saw the shenanigans of the colonial infusion. We can never forget the political ills he expounded in THE MAN OF THE PEOPLE. The filthiness of Chief Nanga, the charade of political manoeuvres and the fight for a change as portrayed by Odili Samalu. I will also never forget the impact ANTHILLS OF THE SAVANNAH had on me. Words cannot gainsay how the cult figure of the journalist, Ikem Osodi in that boo,k richly inspired me. Or can anyone forget the pre colonial ills he showed in the ARROW OF GOD. In same vein, his use of allegory, imagery and symbolism in telling the story NO LONGER AT EASE through it's protagonist, Obi, will never be forgotten. It will be futile to waste too many ink in describing a man who was the master of ink himself. No tribute will be too much, no epitaph will suffice, no posthumous awards will ever be adequate. He was simply peerless. In thoughts, he triumphed. In culture and history, he was our custodian, and in integrity, he was never soiled. His death is a rude reminder that we have lost a sage. At 82, we should be thankful for a long life well spent, but we all know we wanted more. We simply had not had enough of him. As he embarks on this elongated journey, we will always remember that THERE WAS A COUNTRY. A country not just in the physical, but a country that was forged by blood, by the conviction of a people. A country whose walls will always stand erect in our hearts. And for all these, Achebe's legacies can never be adequately rehashed in any book, never!