Peter Obi | File Photo
. Nigeria will bounce back, he assures
The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the February 25, 2023 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, has expressed optimism in the future of the country in reaction to the work of the literary sage, Prof. Chinua Achebe, titled, ‘‘There Was a Country.”
He pointed out that if Chinua Achebe was to come to Nigeria today, he would weep bitterly for his country as comparatively, there was really no trouble with Nigeria four decades ago when the iroko of literature, Achebe, wrote the book, “The Trouble With Nigeria.’’
“If Achebe was alive, he would have taken back the book. When he wrote it, there was no trouble. Now, there is real trouble in Nigeria,’’ Obi said.
Obi spoke at the Chinua Achebe International Symposium and 10th Anniversary Memorial Celebration organized by the Chinua Achebe Foundation and African World Initiative held inside the Arthur Lewis Auditorium.
At the event anchored by Professor Chika Okeke-Agulu, the director of Programme in African Studies, Princeton University, New Jersey, United States, the former governor of Anambra State drew factual comparisons to drive home the fact that though Achebe was spot on in identifying Nigeria’s troubles as leadership-induced, the globally celebrated writer of “Things Fall Apart” would weep if he came back to observe how far his country had deteriorated after 40 years of his warning for positive change.
Obi described Achebe, who incidentally taught him the English Language in his first year at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as a man whose works defined him as one imbued with communal awareness to put in great efforts to better the society.
Mentioning Achebe’s protagonists in his books, from Okonkwo in Things Fall Apart, through those of Arrow of God, Man Of The People, and so on, the LP standard bearer impressively summarised the characters in the books as sacrificing whatever it took, including their lives, to better the lots of their people.
“This much he generously exemplified in the case of Okonkwo, who would not cave into the trampling on his cultural heads, but rather got deeply infuriated when the strings that held them together were cut in places, thereby letting in ‘mere anarchy’ upon the world, meaning beyond Umuofia.
Take this home, a little scoop of palm oil and all five fingers of a hand are sure to get smeared.
Obi drove home his point in categorizing Achebe as a man for the well-being of the people and society.
Obi also re-echoed Achebe’s stance that the problem of Nigeria is simply a failure of leadership.
The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility of the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.
Obi regretted that Achebe was left with the lamentation of a failed nation clearly expressed in his last book, “There Was A Country.”