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Posted 3 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

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Posted 4 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments


From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka 


Barely one week after some elders of Obinagu Village, Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State bitterly complained to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi over land grabbing by the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation; another village in Ugwuoba Eziachi has accused the same Enugu State Housing Development Corporation of malicious land grabbing and contempt. 


Eziachi village, led by the oldest man in Ugwuoba Community, (Otuchalu Ugwuoba) Chief Emeka Tagbo alongside other elders decried the bad image the leadership of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, led by the Managing Director, Mr Chimerie Agu, is causing the people's Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, by grabbing people's land without due process. 


The 110-year-old Otuchalu Ugwuoba, Chief Tagbo wondered why Enugu State Housing Development Corporation should be rubbishing the good image of Governor Ugwuanyi by dabbling into communal land politics and constituting nuisance for the state government and the Governor.


He asked the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation destroying their farms, cash crops and property worth several millions of Naira to stop forthwith as that has caused untold hardship and agony to so many families whose building projects on their lands have been truncated. 


Chief Tagbo, flanked by the Chairman of Eziachi village, Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia, 95  year-old Chief Atuba Nwammuo, and 85 year-old Chief Nwachukwu Fidelis, among others, requested Governor Ugwuanyi to intervene in the numerous unnecessary land grabbing in Ugwuoba axis of Enugu State by instructing the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to follow due process in acquiring land for its housing development, which nobody is against but which its modus operandi is totally condemnable. 


Chief Tagbo questioned why communities that have no land in Eziachi village should hand over their ancestral land and that of other communities to Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and they went into development without recourse to the land owners and their neighbours who also have land in the 150 hectares Ibrahim Abacha Estate Ugwuoba.


The Ugwuoba oldest man told Governor Ugwuanyi to call them to a meeting to hear their own side of the story with all documentary evidence, even as he reminded the Governor that Agolo/Okpuno had no boundaries with them or their neighbours at Obinagu end, adding that the natural boundaries have been the stream/river. He wondered why the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation allowed itself to be decieved by the people of Agolo/Okpuno village.


“We don't know Enugu State Housing Development Corporation; and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation doesn't know us. Our houses, cash crops, farmlands, church buildings among others have been destroyed. The Governor needs to intervene on this matter before it becomes something else,” Chief Tagbo concluded in tears. 


Corroborating the lamentations of the oldest man in Ugwuoba, the Chairman of Eziachi Village, Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia said his village gave no government agency any land and should be spared of the embarassing scenario, harrasment, intimidation and mental torture, by meeting the community for a peaceful resolution of the imbroglio. 


He wondered why the MD of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chiemerie Agu would be conniving with people outside their village to sell their village land to the extent of chasing them away forcefully from their aboriginal land.


Eziachi village Chairman continued: “Why is Enugu State Housing Development Corporation bent on forcing us to leave our land? They want us to abandon our houses and run. They are not considering that we have houses there. But it's not feasible unless they want to spill our blood by killing us. They want our children homeless.”


He reminded Governor Ugwuanyi that the case is in court, even when the Housing MD is claiming they have been settled. He asked Governor Ugwuanyi to investigate how the MD settled the people of Eziachi. He also wondered why MD of Housing Development Corporation is creating bad blood for the government of Enugu State?'


For Chief Atuba Nwammuo, natural boundaries have always been river and no one crosses the river to dispute over land. He also appealed to Housing Development Corporation to leave their land for them.


www.odogwublog.com investigation reveals that the Eziachi Community is in court with the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and its parent ministry, Ministry of Lands and Urban Development and its Commissioner in suit number HOR/34/2018 in an Enugu state High Court, Oji River Judicial Division. Plaintiff and representative of Eziachi village Ugwuoba were Chief Paulinus Udekwe , Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia and Elias Ozor. 


They are asking Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to stay away from their large expanse of land at Amagu, Owelle, Nkpuno, Abonta, Uno-Achalla and Agu Ubulu.


www.odogwublog.com further reports that Eziachi village people described the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation's Managing Director, Mr. Chiemerie Agu as a liar for claiming that the cooperation has settled the village over the land, wondering what he meant by 'that their rightful collective agitation was a “sponsored publications targeted at the Enugu State Government in lieu of the housing project at Obinagu village in Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of the State''.


They described as a big lie and frowned at the claims by the MD Housing Development Corporation Managing Director that that all the villages, including Okpuno, Agolo, Eziachi, Anaocha and Nkpoga are beckoning on government to hurry up to develop the land while few people from Obinagu are busy trying to lay exclusive bogus claim over the entire land and at the same time tampering with the buildings which were erected by the Corporation.


They wondered if a tenant or someone without locus over a landed property can donate a land or a property he or she has no authority over to another, hence he is asking on what locus, Agolo and Okpuno have to donate their land to Enugu State Governor or government. 


The Community also condemned the desperation to cover up their malacious intent to covet their land by claiming that the raising of alarm for Government to hear their voice and for the Governor to intervene as a sponsored and fallacious publication “The said publication, lacking the consent and authority of the good people of Ugwuoba by asking Governor to visit them to see things for himself. 


www.odogwublog.com had tried severally to speak to the Chairman of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr. Chiemerie Agu, but to no avail, only to see a statement credited to him, where he was claiming the agitation was sponsored and spurious, lacking merit and of no effect. 


Agu also claimed in that statement that the agitation was baseless and false narratives, capable of inhibiting development in Ugwuoba Community.


He noted that “many a time, the reason for concentration of social amenities and infrastructure in a particular area, called urban, may not actually be the fault of those in government positions, but selfish interests of few individuals in the community blocking Government from developing their land.”


He referred to Ugwuoba Community's agitation over the acquisition of their land for development as 'unfortunate', noting that refusal of some communities to embrace innovations is a great setback to Development.


That statement reads in part: “In many cases, such decisions are being taken by few individuals who are after their own personal gains as against the overall interest of the community. They could only achieve this, true cheap propaganda, malicious and deceptive publications.


“The said publication was not only fallacious but lacks the consent and authority of the good people of Ugwuoba.”


The MD further stated that “The land in question is a parcel of land lying along Enugu—Onitsha Express road, measuring approximately 150 hectares which was diligently and duly acquired in 1995 by the then Military Administrator, Col. Mike Torre and handed over to the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation with the Certificate of Occupancy, dated 6th June 1996 and registered as no.38 page 38 in vol. 1071 land registry in the office at Enugu.


“Prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, there was a notice of revocation which was properly published in the government gazette no. ISSN (1116 -2032) vol. 5 page 12 in notice no. 18 official gazette no. 5 vol 4 of 03/6/1999.


“The corporation commenced development of the land in 1995 immediately after the acquisition and some buildings were at different levels before the change of government which led to the suspension of work at the Estate.


“TlThe Corporation is wondering why the sponsored publication is springing up 26 years after the land acquisition. If not the change of government, the estate would have been a completed project for the past 26 years.


“All the villages, including Okpuno, Agolo, Eziachi, Anaocha and Nkpoga are beckoning on government to hurry up to develop the land while few people from Obinagu are busy trying to lay exclusive bogus claim over the entire land and at the same time tampering with the buildings which were erected by the Corporation.”


While saying that the Coroperation is willing to listen to genuine grievances of some aggreaved people of Ugwuoba, the Corporation admitted the existence of a court case on the land thus: “That the alleged court case was between the villages on who gets what from the compensation and does not have anything to do with the Estate.


“That the Corporation is using this medium to sound a note of warning to the distractors who are deceiving the public that we shall not hesitate to employ legal action against those people for criminal activities, trespass, false information and libel if they fail to desist from such act. The sponsors of these falsehoods will soon be unmasked and their true identities and mischievous intentions revealed.


The Eziachi village Ugwuoba faulted all the claims of the Housing Development Corporation, and warned developers and investors to stay away from the land as no intimidation shall allow them chicken away from their ancestral land for an unknown and selfish Government agents to take over without thier consent and support.

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Updated 5 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka


It was tears of sorrow yesterday in Obinagu Village, Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State when some elders of the community bitterly complained of the plans of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to forcefully hijack 88.9 hectares out of their 150 hectares of their ancestral land. 


The elders, led by 96-year-old Boniface Igweze decried the destruction of their property worth several millions of naira, including houses, cash crops, farmlands and ancestral deities by the Housing Corporation in order to forcefully take over their Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land for a housing estate, without their consent.


Addressing newsmen in Awka shortly after their village meeting to place ancestral curses on those bent on trespassing on their ancestral land, the elders in their 90's and 80's, appealed to the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to use his good office to call the Housing Development Corporation to order in the interest of peace and humanity. 


The Elders Council of Obinagu insisted that after 14 days, if Governor Ugwuanyi refuses to intervene as a father and Governor of the state, those trespassing in the land may have to contend with their ancestral spirits and no recourse to them when spirits fight their battle for them. 


Igweze, flanked by other elders including Kenneth Nwangwu, 95 years; Dominic Anochili, 92 years;  Chukwuma Ndibe, 85 years; Pius Madubuchi, 75 years, Chief Daniel Okeke, 79 years; David Ndubuisi, 70 years; and Chief Samuel Nnebeife 67, years; among others, said they have restrained their youths from engaging in violence over the ownership of the land because they believed in lawful pursuits and the Governor's understanding and intervention for peaceful resolution. 


They appealed to Governor Ugwuanyi to call the Managing Director of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chimerie Agu and all his cohorts to order, as their insensitivity has stretched their patience, hence their resolution to hand over the battle to their gods, aside continued pursuit of the case through all lawful means possible. 


The community elders warned prospective investors and developers to stay clear of their own 88.9 hectares in the Ibrahim Abacha Estate Anioma Obinagu Ogboo Ugwuoba land, to avoid regrets and collateral damages to them, financially, and otherwise including undiagnosed health challenges from their ancestral gods. 


They noted that government at their time was not known to support evil but to stand with the people for a better society, wondering why the excesses of the Housing Development Corporation MD is being condoned by its supervising ministry and the Government of Enugu State, led by Governor Ugwuanyi.


They claimed some of them have died of high blood pressure over the land, as the community has no other land aside that piece, hence Enugu State Housing Development Corporation should hands off their land.


Court Order 


This is coming as an Enugu State High Court, Oji River Judicial Division, presided over by His Lordship, Hon Justice C.V.C. Ezeugwu on 22nd December 2021 granted an order for status quo ante bellum to be maintained with regards to the Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land in dispute.


Justice Ezeugwu, after hearing the submission of O.C. Ugolo Esq for the plaintiff/applicant adjourned to 25th January 2022 for Motion on Notice. 


The order on suit number: HOR/41/2021 was between Fabian Anyaka and Madubuchi Onyeka and four others on behalf of Obinagu village Ugwuoba and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and Chiemerie Agu, the Managing Director Enugu state Housing Development Corporation. 


On the strength of this State High Court that nothing shall happen on the land till after determination of Motion on Notice. 


Governor Ugwuanyi, MD Housing Development Corporation react


Efforts to contact the developer, Seaman's Global and Ugwuanyi's relative blowing trumpet for Mr. Agu, for possible shedding of light on the matter proved abortive; while calls to the Managing Director, Enugu state Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chimerie Agu were not picked.


Also, several calls to the Governor's SSA on Media, Onyebuchi Louis Amoke were not responded to. Further efforts to reach the Governor on his mobile lines were not successful as the lines were switched off.



Petition to Enugu State Governor


Meanwhile, in a petition dated 30th November, 2021 to the Enugu state Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Obinagu village, Ugwuoba through their lawyer, Okechukwu C. Ugolo Esq frowned at the arbitral acquisition of their land - Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land without their knowledge and consent. 


In the petition, Obinagu People reminded the Governor Ugwuanyi that the Anioma land is their's undisputably and it never belonged to Agolo/Okpuno and despite the several attempts to covet the land in court through appeals, Obinagu people remained the true owners of the Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land till date. 


Obinagu people prayer Governor Ugwuanyi and the Attorney General to ask the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to steer clear their land pending when the proper things are done. 


They noted that Ugwuoba land holdings does not encourage general land ownership but lands are owned individually or by villages.

 

They further reminded that Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land belonged to them Obinagu People by virtue of the judgement in suit number ORCC/18/98: Rev Canon Dr J.O Iloeje and two others versus Innocent Ezeokafor and 6 others, hence the presence of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation is unlawful, amounting to trespass.



Reports have it that Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land has been a subject of litigation between Obinagu people and Agolo/Okpuno communities both in Ugwuoba, Oji River Council Area of Enugu State, but Obinagu won at the Ugwuoba Customary court on 9th November, 1998. 


And all efforts by Agolo /Okpuno to set aside the judgment failed, hence the Housing Development Corporation wrote the community on November 10th, 2014 ,18 years after wrong acquisition of the land in 1996 by the backdoor from Agolo/Okpuno. 


Enugu state Housing Development Corporation in their letter lamented that they were led to believe the said land belonged to Okpuno/Agolo villages of Ugwuoba, hence the Housing Development Corporation had executed a grant of the said land with the 2 villages and actually taken possession and commenced development with a C. of O. issued to the Housing Development Corporation, by Enugu state government. 


The said letter noted that development stalled because of lack of funds but in recognition of the court judgment restoring the title of the land to Obinagu village, thus they wrote the Community through its Chairman stating that they have recognized Obinagu Ugwuoba as rightful owners of the land. 

They equally noted in the letter signed by Barr. Ngozi Chibuoke as the Secretary, and Hon. Henry Achiekwulu as the Chairman of Committee, that all agreements entered into with Agolo/Okpuno villages regarding the land were hereby denounced and declared null and void.


The Enugu State Housing Development Corporation stated that it was desirous of perfecting her title to the land and continuing development of her proposed Ibrahim Abacha Estate and that wise made some requests. 


The requests included that the Housing Development Corporation should provide infrastructural facilities, including asphalt roads , electricity and water in the proposed estate; perform the traditional 'Igba Mmanya Ani' ceremony in due course and grant 20 percent of the realized plots to the community as compensation of the land as well as both the community and the company shall execute a formal deal of grant on the said land. The Housing Development Corporation even requested for a date to start implementation of the demands, hence it is wondered what went wrong for the new Housing Development Corporation Managing Director to ignore all the protocols, and insist on taking the land by force. 


History 


This Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land, located along Enugu-Onitsha Express Road, according to the Chairman Obinagu Village, Hon, Onyeka Madubuchi, should be left alone, as they are now uninterested in any form of department, since it has caused their elders sleepless nights. 


Hon. Madubchi said this latest illegal invasion or trespass on the land occurred on 20th day of October, 2021, when the land grabbers mobilized different types of earth moving machines and forcefully entered the land, cleared it and started digging foundations in furtherance of their desire to illegally parcellate and allocate the land to unsuspecting members of the general public who are not aware that the land validly belong to the people of Obinagu village, in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State.


He reiterated: "The Obinagu people wish to state that there have been unsuccessful attempts in the past by the people of Agolo/Okpuno Communities in Ugwuoba, Oji River to forcefully take over the said parcel of land (Ani Oma land) which prompted them to file an action in court against Agolo/Okpuno Communities in Suit No. ORCC/18/98- Rev. Cannon Dr. J.O. Iloeje & 2 Ors. V. Innocent Ezeokafor & 6 Ors. It is however instructive to note that the Court in the suit, held that the people of Obinagu village (Plaintiffs) are entitled to the customary right of occupancy over the land. The Court further made an order of perpetual injunction restraining the people of Agolo/Okpuno Communities (Defendants), their agents, servants and/or privies from further entry into the said Ani Oma land.


"On appeal to the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division in appeal No. CA/E/177M/99, the Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the Enugu State High Court delivered by Hon. Justice A.I. Umezuluike and affirmed the judgment of the Customary Court, Oji River, which held that the Obinagu people are the valid owners of the land. 


"Interestingly, while the dispute over the Ani Oma land between Obinagu village and Agolo/Okpuno communities which started as far back as 1992 lingered on, and to the knowledge of the ESHDC, the self-same Corporation working in collaboration with the Agolo/Okpuno Communities contrived a Deed of Customary Grant where they purported to have acquired the Ani Oma land in dispute from Agolo/Okpuno Communities who are themselves trespassers per the judgment of the Enugu State Customary Court and as upheld by the Court of Appeal," he said.


He further added: "Perhaps, even more interestingly, despite knowing that the validity or otherwise of their title over the Ani Oma land rested on the outcome of the then pending suit between Obinagu and Agolo/Okpuno Communities on the question of which of the villages is the valid owner of the land in dispute, the ESHDC refused, failed and/or ignored to apply to be joined in the case as an interested party. Rather, it stood by, and watch the parties lock horns on the issue until it was resolved in favour of Obinagu Community up to the Court of Appeal.


"Needless to say, the Corporation, by electing to stand by instead of applying to join as a party in the then pending suit, is deemed to have accepted to be bound by the outcome of the suit. This is because, being privies to the Agolo/Okpuno villages from whence it purports to have acquired its title over the disputed Ani Oma land, by virtue of the Deed of Customary Grant. The Corporation is by law not only bound by the judgments and orders made by the courts in the suits, but also by the order of perpetual injunction which restrained her landlord or grantors from further entry on the Ani Oma land.


“Unsurprisingly, on realizing the above correct statement of the law and being at the time, under the leadership of a Managing Director who is God-fearing and law abiding, the ESHDC vide a letter dated November 10, 2014 wrote to Obinagu village, acknowledging that the land belongs to Obinagu village, and that her dealings with Agolo/Okpuno villages regarding the land are denounced and declared null and void.


"The Corporation thereafter solicited to re-acquire the land from Obinagu village but could not finalize their friendly approach with Obinagu village before the tenure of the then executives expired," he added.


The community said that they are thus alarmed that instead of toeing the peaceful and lawful footsteps of the immediate past Administration, Mr. Chiemerie Agu has preferred the path of brigandage by threatening the people of Obinagu village with impunity. 


"In furtherance of these threats, our people are witnesses to the mobilization of different types of machines to aid forceful and illegal entry into the land.


“The people of Obinagu village in their usual peaceful and law abiding disposition, have refrained from taking laws into their hands but have rather commenced contempt proceedings against Mr. Chiemerie Agu and 5 other principal members of ESHDC. 


"Yet, despite the pendency of the contempt proceedings, Mr. Chiemerie Agu and his cohorts without the consent and/or approval of the people of Obinagu village and in total and flagrant disobedience to the orders of the court have forcefully entered into the Ani Oma land for the second time to resume construction works, preparatory to allocate to members of the general public.


"Our people are worried that in spite of the huge damages land grabbing has caused in Enugu State with its attendant crisis, divisions and violence, Mr. Chiemerie Agu is hell bent on pitching the good people of Obinagu village against the Enugu State Government for his primordial and primitive interests. 


"Consequent upon the above, members of the general public are therefore warned to desist from dealing with ESHDC or Mr. Chiemerie Agu in any manner whatsoever in relation to the Ani Oma land along Enugu—Onitsha Expressway.


“For the avoidance of doubt, whoever deals with them does so at his/her own peril. Pursuant to the judgments of the courts, the land belongs to Obinagu village and it is not for sale no matter the amount or consideration,” he concluded.

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Updated 11 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

By Uchem Obi, Awka

The trending news that a faceless and unknown group calling itself, Concerned Lawyers In Anambra State, has threatened to report Honourable Justice Nwabunike to the Nigeria Judicial Council, NJC, for hearing a motion ex parte, is a poorly scripted comedy acted by charlatans, who are merely out to exploit the ignorance of desperate and frustrated politicians to make quick money.

Even a fresh law graduate knows, that in civil procedures, ex parte is used to refer to motions for orders that can be granted without waiting for response from the other party. These orders are only in place until further hearings can be held, such as in present matter, a temporary restraining order. It does not stop the other party from challenging the order in court or continuing a substantive matter, and it does not amount to a judgement. In the absence of mischief, no ethical legal practitioner would in the present circumstances question the hearing of a motion ex parte.

Ex parte proceedings are permitted in law when a party needs urgent relief that cannot wait until the other party is informed and given opportunity to respond.

In the instant case, a candidate's right to enjoy the benefits of a fairly won primary election was in danger of absolute infringement, if urgent legal reliefs were not granted. In simple language, Senator Ugochukwu Uba's hard won victory at the PDP's primary election on June 26, 2021 was in danger of being torpedoed  by premeditated efforts that were both illegal and unlawful, championed by unscrupulous individuals.

Given the urgency required to stop the illegal and unlawful attempts to sabotage the Senator's victory, the option of ex parte motion was the most germane legal step to follow.

Moreover,the right to hear an ex parte application is entirely at the discretion of the judge, who is trusted by law to make wise decisions.

How come that this exercise of lawful discretion has come under attack. Are these truly lawyers, "contractors" or outright renegades?

Their threat of dragging the Honourable Judge before the NJC is laughable, infantile and dubious. Sound lawyers do not exhibit such embarrassing ignorance of elementary legal procedure. Their empty threat is more like the Shakespearean tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.

Uchem Obi, a lawyer, writes from Awka

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Updated 1 Year ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

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By Izunna Okafor

The award-winning prolific Nigerian writer, Juliet Chudie, has thrilled and wowed the literary world again, with another upcoming masterpiece, which she co-authored with some foreign authors.

Chudie made this known on her Facebook wall and other social media handles, where she notified her teaming fans of the new book, and also shared her joy of being a co-author of the book.

According to her, the book, titled "The Black and African Guide to Moving to the UAE", was co-authored with 19 other brilliant amazing black expats from different industries with experiences in living, working and investing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) powered by @findblackexperts .


Chudie, who salivated her fans with the book cover further noted that, as her respect for human resilience had grown, she was trusting and hoping that her chapter would inspire, answer and bring the readers' hopes alive, when finally released in few months time.


She wrote:

"I am indeed excited to announce my participation as a co-author of the book "The Black and African Guide to Moving to the UAE" with 19 other brilliant amazing black expats from different industries with experiences in living, working and investing in the UAE, powered by @findblackexperts.

"This book will be out in a few months and in it, I will share my personal experience and as well as the rest of the team .

"The vision of the book is to inspire the world with our stories, transcend them and use them to make a difference in the world, to broaden other diasporas’s perspective of the UAE and help provide answers to any future or already existing questions anyone might have about moving or living in the UAE .

"When I first heard about the book and it’s vision to help create opportunities for black people, I knew for a fact that this was an opportunity I wouldn’t afford to miss.

"And as my respect for human resilience has grown , I’m trusting and hoping my chapter inspires , answers and brings your hopes alive."

A member of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), Juliet Chudie is a native of Agulu in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria, as well as the Founder of Juliet Chudie Foundation (founded in 2015) and Great Igbo Women, UAE.

She is the author of 'A Mother's Heart Bleeds' and the winner of the CSA Award as the Creative Writer of the Year 2018. Chudie has, through her foundation and writing, touched many lives, empowered many youths, restored many hopes in diverse ways, and contributed meaningfully to general societal development.

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Updated 1 Year ago · 0 Likes · 1 Comments

The Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter is set to hold her first reading for the year 2021 as one of the literary activities to herald and open the new year.


This was contained in a statement released in Awka on Wednesday by the Anambra State's Coordinator of the association, Comrade Izunna Okafor in Awka.


According to him, the reading is aimed at giving writers (both the burgeoning and the established) a platform and opportunity to read, discuss and analyze their works, other literary works and literature in general with fellow writers, as well as encouraging and promoting reading cultures. 


He noted that the reading which is slated to hold on Saturday, 23rd January 2021 at the Prof. Kenneth Dike Central E-Library, beside Aroma Junction Awka, Anambra State capital, will kick off at exactly 9 AM. 


Responding to the question of who and who are invited, Izunna noted that the reading, just like every other readings the Association has been holding every month, is open to every writer or literary enthusiast who wants to participate in it, notwithstanding which part of the state or country the person is coming from. 


He said: "Everyone is invited, both old and new members of the forum, writers and literary enthusiasts from any part of the state or the country; as long as the person has interest in being part of it, he is much welcomed.


"Participation is free; all we require is for the person to be punctual to the venue and to come with materials (books or manuscript) to read."


Izunna, who himself is a published author, further noted that reading is indispensable and essentially recommended to any burgeoning writer who wants to grow in the literary field, and even much more important to the established writers, if they must maintain and sustain their interest and relevance in the field. 


He then invitingly called on every writer and literary enthusiast from around the state and beyond, to attend and be part of the reading, as the need and the benefits therein cannot be overemphasized.


Society of Young Nigerian Writers is a forum for young/established writers, and literary enthusiasts in Nigeria; and has branches across the 36 states of the Federation. 


The Anambra Chapter of the forum has been the literary body hosting the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture which holds up annually every 16th November (Achebe's date of birth), since 2016.


The chapter also holds her monthly (every 3rd Saturday of the month) at the Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, the state capital.


According to the statement, further enquiries on the reading can be made through:

synwanambrachapter@gmail.com

Or 

08163938812

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Updated 1 Year ago · 0 Likes · 1 Comments

As Organisers Name Outstanding Authors



Barely six weeks after the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture held by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW), Anambra State Chapter; the association has officially announced the release of its fifth edition of the Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled "Achebe: A Man of the People".


Initiated in 2016 and organised by young writers in Anambra State, Nigeria, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival Festival and Memorial Lecture is an international literary event held in memory and honour of a foremost Nigerian literary legend, Late. Prof. Chinua Achebe, in celebration of his life, works and legacies in the literary field and beyond.


This year's edition of the event, themed "Achebe: Our Heritage in a New Normal" which held on 16th November, 2020, in Awka the Anambra State Capital, was also used to mark Achebe's 90th posthumous birthday as well as and the maiden edition of the Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, which was delivered by Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze (a published Author and Diplomat), to the a large throng of audience and participants who joined both physically and virtually from different countries of the world.


In the word of the Project Coordinator, Izunna Okafor, who is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology as well as the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), the event is an annual ritual, during which they also publish and unveil the annual Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.


He said, "Every year, prior to hosting this literary festival, we usually open 'Call for Submissions’ online, through which writers from different parts of the world write and submit their poems, essays or reviews (strictly written in honour of Achebe) for the anthology. Those hundreds of entries are what we collate, vet, and publish into an anthology, which we usually unveil on the day of the literary festival.


"We did this in 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions of the event. However, in preparation for the 2019 edition of the event, we decided not to call for submissions for a fresh anthology, but to collate the three previously published collections and publish them as a single anthology, still in honour of Achebe. And that birthed a classic anthology and masterpiece "Arrows of Words" which we published and unveiled last year during the 2019 edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival. 


"This year, 2020, in preparation for the fifth edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Maiden Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, we made another ‘Call for Submissions’ through which we received over a hundred submissions from writers across the world. It was the collation, selection, vetting, editing and the publication of those beautiful poems, essays and reviews that birthed this classic anthology entitled 'ACHEBE: A MAN OF THE PEOPLE'."


This year's anthology, he noted, features works of upcoming voices in the literary world as well as those of already announced writers from different countries of the world, including that of erstwhile winner of the Africa's biggest literary prize, the NLNG Prize, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, among other prominent writers across the globe.


On what informed the title, Okafor said, "As usual, this year’s title of the anthology was informed by the contents of the entries (poems, essays and reviews) received and published therein, which do not only portray Achebe as a Savant, but also praise him as “Man of the People”, looking at his personality, works, achievements and legacies."


"Although the title somewhat coincides with the title of Achebe’s fourth novel “A MAN OF THE PEOPLE”; the two books are thematically unrelated. Also, Achebe’s ‘Man of the People’ title here in this anthology is absolutely different from that of Chief Nanga in the 1966 book of his –“A MAN OF THE PEOPLE” –which predicted the first Military Coup in Nigerian," he added.


Edited by Izunna Okafor, this year's edition of the anthology was not officially unveiled at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Memorial Lecture, which as usual, held on Achebe's date of birth, November 16, as a result of failure and disappointment on the part of the publisher, who Okafor noted, was eventually discovered to have predetermined to 'make a mess of the Literary Festival, by withholding the expected story (the anthology) and telling his own story'.


He also revealed that legal action is being taken to re-write the publisher's story, who, he further noted, is still yet to release the hardcopy of the anthology. Okafor however noted that the softcopy of the anthology has been published, and is now available online here and here; hence this official unveiling and release of the anthology.


According to him, the association is also pleased to announce the names of the authors of outstanding works in this year's edition of the anthology, as it annually does, in keeping with one of the promises it made in the ''Call for Submissions' used to secure the entries, and also in recognition of the ten outstanding authors in the three categories of poetry, essays and reviews.


These authors and their works he announced as follows: 

Wisdom Ogbonna Offor (Chinua Achebe); Jimoh Taofik Adekunle (I Say, 'Ndo' Obo Dike); Mwiti Christopher (The Great Manoeuvrer's Oeuvre); Jude Chukwuemeka Muoneke (The Icon of Hope); Athol Williams (His Lines); Enitan Abdultawab (A Man of the People); Ibe, Kelechukwu K. (Achebe's Voice in Historic Nigeria); Ordinary Justice (Ifemelu); Akachi Adimora-ezeigbo (Wisdom of Words); Chidozie Emesowum (There Was a Country); Amaka Oguejiofo (Eagle on the Iroko); Innocent Chiemezie Ohaekwe (Achebe and the African Society); Goodness Chinweoruebube Akubueze (The Impacts of Achebe's Work and Lifestyle on All: A Personal Experience); Samuel Ephraim Edward  (Dinner for Our Hero); Chanima Wijebandara (Chinua Achebe the Eminent Jurist in the Garb of a Novelist); Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha (The Embodiment of a Transgenerational Writer – A Focus on the Life of Chinua Achebe); Christopher Precious (Things Fall Apart); Ayokunmi O. Ojebode (Ájobí And Ájogbé: Fracture and Restructuring of Nigeria in Chinua Achebe's Selected Folktales); Ogonna, Divine Amarachi (How Chinua Achebe's Works Respond to the Question of the Authenticity of African Literature):Tony Oneweek Muonagor (Indelible Marks); Odogwu Emeka Odogwu (A Better Honour Than Gold); Samuel Edet (Marriage is a Private Affair); Obinna Tony-Francis Ochem (Chinụa Achebe's Literary Legacy: Re-examining Chigozie Obioma's Works); Henry Chukwuemeka Onyema ('There Was a Country': Chinua  Achebe's Undying Love for Nigeria that Dealt Him Blows); Anusha Pillay (Love and Free Choice in 'Marriage Is a Private Affair'); Ohita Afeisume (Things Fall Apart: Reflections); Usman Bashir Abubakar (A Sojourn Through Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart': A Literary Criticism); Anodo Rejoice (For Our Sake); Gimbiya Ekene Galadima (Nna Anyị: Our Father); Jesse D. Bitrus (Chinua Achebe: The Father of Modern African Literature); Isah Aliyu Chiroma (The Founding Father of Modern African Literature)

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Book Title: Verdict of the Gods

Playwright: Iwu Jeff

Publisher: Transconventional Publishers

Date Published: July, 2020

ISBN: 978-978-979-443-0

Number of Pages: 84

Reviewer: Nwokeabia, Ifeanyi John.



When gods choose not to let the rain drop, the effort of a rain maker is in vain. The birds of the air always feel betrayed and confused when a thunderous fart is released in the air by an unknown spirit. The land, water and the entire space of Achara which has experienced in the past, peace and transquility, turns into a mourning zone. Night visited Achara community in a broad daylight.Iwu Jeff's play, Verdict of the Gods is an epic tragedy. It exposes a land in turmoil. But the big question is: can sins of fathers be visited on their children?

Sleep has become a stranger to the eyes of the citizens of Achara. Eze Obioha, the traditional ruler of the community is disturbed;  his emotions restless. An elder cannot fold his arms and watch a goat suffer in parturition. He seeks measures to dispel the spell wreaking havoc in his land as a leader who has the well being of the people at heart, and consequently, his family suffers the same endemic,. He's traumatised and unrelentingly quests for answers and solutions to the plight of his people.

In page 9 of the play: 

EZE OBIOHA : My daughters are down, they can no longer speak...we have followed every smell our nose can perceive, yet we have not seen any rotten thing. Where is the smell of evil coming from? Oh! My ancestors, please give us another eye, another nose, another ear and mouth. The ones we are wearing have no use ... Our gods are silent my people. I am not spared from this calamity. The spell is everywhere...

Eze Obioha being a leader who feels the pain of his people, he continually summons his cabinet members to put heads together to find lasting solutions to their problems. The cry of his people has become a thorn on his fresh and he sometimes laments to the gods questioning them on the ways his community or himself has wronged them.

In pag 77, he has this to say:

EZE OBIOHA: ...my son died two nights ago; before he died, an extra hand came out through his chest. My daughter was suddenly struck with imbecility... Who did my fathers offend?

Countless questions are asked and ountless visitations, made to the shrine of different Dibias but all efforts prove abortive. The gods remain remain 'mute' and 'tongue-tied', refusing to draw humans to the closer view of their boiling angers. Drought and famine become two beautiful maid married without a bride price, gummed like bedbugs to their land and refusing to leave. Death toll keeps multiplying on daily basis. The living prefers death as solutions are not in sight. Who will save the dying land?

Amidst the seriousness of the play, Iwu introduces two characters: Ezemma and Nwokeocha, who are members of the cabinet to ease the tension arouse by the unfolding events. These two revered men help to crack the ribs of the readers with comic banter.

In page 20;

EZEMMA: what am I saying? Wisdom! Wisdom! Igwe, I am full of...[Nwokeocha intrudes]

NWOKEOCHA [scornfully] Madman!

EZEMMA: will you shut up and listen to...

NWOKEOCHA: What wisdom can one possibly get from a lunatic? I do not blame you; a child that suckled a goat's milk will definitely act like a goat even in his old age. You need to return to your mother in her grave so you can have a taste of her breast milk.

EZEMMA: [Rises and faces Nwokeocha] How dare you call my dead mother into this? I see, you have really want to show me that you have grown enough hairs around your manhood.

ELDERS: Chai! [Elders exclaim, laughing and turning left and right] Enough!

NWOKEOCHA: [Stands up, pointing a finger at Ezemma] And you whose hairs are now overgrown into a forest, you need to be weeded...

This play is both revelational and revolutional. On the former, Iwu reveals that there's more to scapegotism as a concept. Some great African writers Wole Soyinka, Femi Osofisan and a host of others in their various plays, but Verdict of the Gods introduces a new scapegotism. However, on the latter, it demolishes the stereotype created  in most African writings, where the  God of the new religion is often given ultimate power of purifying African lands of its mess. In Verdict of the Gods, it is different as the  African gods reign supreme in sanctifying their people and their lands of sins.

The masterful ink of the playwright is laudable in his ability to select suitable words for his characters. The social standing of his characters are discernable through the quality of their language. Every scene in this play is opened with a beautiful African proverb dancing into your eyes and the use of African proverbs by the characters show the rich culture of Achara community.

The cover design of the play has great significance in the over development and arrangement of the play. Its from cover has the head of three gods joined together in a threesome unity. However, the play is not arranged in Acts and Scenes but it's divided into three - Beginning, Middle and End. The use of three gods has Biblical allusion of God the Father, Son and HolySpirit. That's, the Trinity in one God. In this play, one discovers that these Gods are one and their verdict is equally one. Despite the deviation from play's convention of Acts and Scenes, the play maintains the three unity of place, time and event which solidifies its beauty as a play. Although some might raise alarm on his use of uppercase in 'Gods' but I don't think he has committed as grammatical blunder on that. I think, it's a question of choice.


The Playwright 

Iwu Jeff ( Iwuchukwu Jephta) is an award-winning writer who has written in the three genres of literature - poetry, drama and prose. His works have gained homes in different Anthologies and online publication.

From the beginning, through the middle and to the end, the play is suspensely decorated and readers won't have any reason to drop it for a moment until one gets to the very end. Are you ready to discover the verdict of the gods for Achara people? Are you equally ready to discover how a wounded lion got its healing balm? Grab your own copy of Verdict of the Gods.

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     Sometime ago, I attended a youth programme and overheard one of the high-ranking priests lamenting that many of the youths in the Anglican Church are breaking their (spiritual) fathers’ hearts by relocating to the Pentecostal circle especially after they had invested so much virtues in them.  Several questions came up in my mind when I heard this statement. (1). Is it really compulsory for a Christian youth to remain permanently in the church/ denomination he was born into? My answer to that question is “No”. If God is leading a Christian youth to relocate to another church especially if he or she is no longer enjoying spiritual balanced diet, he or she should by no means move on to another church.

(2). Must all outstanding Christian youths become members of the hierarchical pastoral order of a church? My answer is “No”. If God has not called a youth into the ministry let no pastor or priest ‘call’ him into any of the five-fold ministries.  He or she should not be cajoled or pressurized into accepting such ‘call’. Otherwise that would amount to asking the young man or woman to take on more responsibilities than he or she was created/destined to handle.

(3). Is it really wrong for a member of a church or denomination to attend programmes of other churches or denominations? My answer is “No”. It is quite alarming that several Christian leaders had promoted and are still promoting disunity by discouraging their younger followers from attending meetings or fellowship organized by other church leaders or even interact with other Christians no matter how spiritual or godly they are.  Some of them even go to the extent of suspending those who attended such programmes from their responsibility (ies) in church. Let us stop the hypocrisy. Pray for unity in the Body of Christ, preach unity in the Body of Christ and practice unity in the Body of Christ.

(4). Is it compulsory for a Christian youth to remain bounded to his or her church/denomination by marrying a fellow believer from his or her church? Marrying a believer from your church/ denomination is a good idea but it is advisable that a Christian marries a man or woman that fears God, irrespective of his or her denomination.

     Please do not get me wrong. It is not that I do not care about the emotional pains pastors go through each time their followers relocate to another church for whatever reason. I do but the best bet is that pastors and priests should learn to release people from their hearts when they leave the churches they oversee without hurting themselves or anyone. It is also important for a pastor or priest to identify and discover the departments or units of his church where more hands are needed and personally ask the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers to meet those specific needs in the church he pastors.

                                                                                                        

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By Izunna Okafor 


Writing has once again been described as the king of all arts, and the indispensable route to the bottom line of every art destination.

This made the idea for discussion at the grand finale of the 2019 Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing, organized by award-winning Nigerian literary figure — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which she held in Anambra, her home state, for the first time.

The interactive event which ended with fanfare and literary communion tagged "A Literary Evening With Chimamanda" aimed at inspiring and raising a brand of creative writers of African descent who will not only tell African stories, but also utilize their writing prowess in solving societal problems.

Speaking at the event, the convener, Adichie who hails from Abba in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State asserted that  every nation needs storytellers without whom humanity will be diminished, and further maintained that there are many yet-to-be-told stories about Africa, which should not be left for non Africans to tell; as, according to her, stories of Africa can only be best told by Africans themselves.


She said, "If we don't tell our story as Africans, somebody else would tell it for us; and if we don't take responsibilities for supporting our storytellers, other people would tell our story, but in the way it suits them."


While decrying the poor reading culture in the society today, the international literary icon charged the participants to hold reading to a high esteem, as that is a prerequisite for anyone who must excel in the literary field or contribute intellectually to the growth and development of his society.


Contributing, the MD/CEO of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, Sir Chuka Nnabuife appreciated Adichie for bringing the workshop down to her homestate this year, and eulogized on her great feats in the literary field, which he said has helped to project the image of the state in the international community; even as he suggested to her, the need to  articulate and come up with a book that conglomerates her works in activism and advocacy so far, which he said her millions of fans all over the world would be very eager and happy to welcome on arrival.

Among other climax, the event featured premiering of video clip that biographically highlights excerpts of some recent feats attained by Adichie; as well as an interactive session with her, during which questions, opinions, suggestions, and observations were sourced from the participants and fans, all of which she perfectly and consummately reacted to.

Others who graced the literary evening included the state's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba; the founder of JohnBosco Onunkwo Foundation, Engr. JohnBosco Onunkwo; former media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati; the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, as well as Adichie's parents, among others.

Sharing their views earlier, some of the successful entrants who were selected for this year's writing workshop, among whom were Kasimma Chinelo Okani from Achina, Anambra state, Anthony Nonso Dim from Imo state but lives in Germany, and Gloria Mwaniga Odary, a teacher from Kenya, all confessed that the workshop offered them golden opportunities to tap from Adichie’s wealth of knowledge in literary arts, even as they urged the government and other wealthy individuals to assist in sponsoring and providing the needed logistics to sustain the exercise in subsequent years.

Formerly known as the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop with previous editions in Lagos, the 2019 workshop marked its 10th year.

Adichie's remaining of the workshop after her debut novel "Purple Hibiscus" was explainable, as she had earlier left her longtime Nigerian publishers, Kachifo Limited—the parent company of Farafina Trust—for Narrative Landscape Press, co-founded by her friend, Eghosa Imasuen, author of Fine Boys, and the editor Anwuli Ojogwu.

Izunna Okafor, a young Nigerian writer and Coordinator of young writers in Anambra State used the platform to identify and familiarize with Adichie, and also told her about the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which the young writers are organizing annually in honour of Chinua Achebe, and presented her with a copy of "Arrows of Words" which is an anthology of poems and essays published by the young writers in this year's edition of the event.

He also discussed the non existence of writers residency in Anambra State with Adichie, an idea which she swiftly subscribed to and promised to do something about.


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Writing a book review can be a blessing, and it can be a disaster. You may like a particular book extremely, but still make many mistakes in reviewing it. We, of course, can't oversee all the potential errors a student can make when dealing with this writing assignment, but here will cover ten most common mistakes to avoid.

Taking the Tone of a Professional Critic

You are writing a college or university book review, you are not a professional, highly esteemed Critic, and it is good to humble yourself and remember it. Your professor will be irritated if you don't do it. The fact that this book made it to your program means that it is worth something, so treat it with enough respect. Even if you address a professional writing service with your write my book review for me request, and it will surely be written by an expert, the tone still will be very moderate, calm, not a snob.

Repeating the Same Thoughts Numerous Times

You have some brilliant ideas, we get it. However, it is not good to repeat them again and again during the review. Even if something impressed you beyond belief it is better not to emphasize it more than twice in your text. You have read the whole book at least twice, you should have fresh ideas to put in your writing.

Retelling the Plot

When in high school, you had assignments which implied that you should retell the story the way you understood it. Your ability to remember and later retell what you have remembered in a concise way was checked. Writing a book review is entirely different. You don't have to explain plot lines, give many quotes, or elaborate on each important character before you actually get to the review part.  

Emotionally-Driven Uncalled for Arguments

Good books provoke emotions. It is good if you feel emotional while and after reading a book assigned in class, as it is often that students stay completely cold regarding things they need to read. However, you should be very careful not to make that book review of yours a blog post more suitable for Facebook discussion, not a class. It is accepted to express your sympathy to heroes in a correct manner, but you can't "hate," "love," "detest" heroes. You can, though, use phrases like "I suppose the author used these means to make readers sympathetic to this character."  

Excessive Length

When you just start writing, you feel like you will never be able to write that book review, that the needed number of pages is too much, and there is just nothing to say. However, soon you may notice that you've almost exhausted the allowed number of words and still didn't express yourself enough. Start editing. Don't hope that your professor will be impressed by two extra pages, he or she will just cross them away or won't accept your paper at all.

Too Many Extra References

You like to read, we got it. Still, it is not the best idea to put all the books you've written recently into your paper to boast and show off. Be humble, include only references and allusions which are truly relevant. You are also not supposed to include every book of the same author into comparison, that is too much.

Lack/Excessiveness of Originality

This one is good, and that one is bad, the narration is long, and the ending is sad. This is a short description of most of the reviews written by not enough diligent students. Such analysis is boring and predictable; you should do better than this.

Not Enough Criticism

Even if you like the book entirely, you should find something to criticize in a professional, well-thought-out way. Remember, criticism is not actually about saying mean or even harmful things. It is more about spotting some questionable places and elaborating on them.

Ignoring the Author or Focusing Only on Him/Her

Some students solely focus on the author; some overlook the author and only analyze the Plot. Both strategies will lead you to failure, as the book and its author are genuinely interconnected, but assessing this connection, you should not put the Plot and the artistic means behind.

Broken Logic

This mistake is inherent to texts written either in a hurry, or part by part with long pauses. For example, you received this assignment weeks ago, wrote third, later gave up and finished writing two hours before the submission, not even reading much what you have written before.


Writing a book review, don't neglect following rules for this task stated by your professor and in your handbook for this course. Step-by-step guides are truly useful in such situations.

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Chinua Achebe, who died in Boston today at the age of eighty-two, was a few weeks shy of thirty years old when Nigeria was granted independence from the British Empire, on October 1, 1960, and he was already acclaimed, worldwide, as the preëminent novelist of black Africa. The British publisher Heinemann had brought out Achebe's first novel, Things Fall Apart, only two years earlier, and it had to have been the first African novel that many of his admirers on the continent and off had read. The sure tragedian's authority with which Achebe tells the story of Okonkwo, an Igbo elder of immense strength and pride, a figure of heroic qualities within the traditions of his culture, who is ill-served, brought low, and undone by those same qualities in his first violent encounters with colonial power, has ensured that still today, with more than ten million copies sold, Things Fall Apart remains the best-known work of African literature.
The great African novel? The book could as truly be called a great novel, period. Many writers would prefer to carry that badge of universality, but Achebe who has gone to his grave without ever receiving the Nobel Prize he deserved as much as any novelist of his era has said that to be called simply a writer, rather than an African writer, is a statement of defeat. Why? Because his project has always been to resist emphatically the notion that African identity must be erased as a prerequisite to being called civilized. Growing up as what he called a British-protected child in the colonial order, the young writer came to see that the Empire's claim that Africans had no history was a violent, if at times ignorant or unconscious, counter-factual effort to annihilate the history of his continent's peoples.
Achebe made his case in many forms essays and lectures, interviews and acts of protest, and as an ideologue and propagandist for the failed Igbo-nationalist secessionist state of Biafra but he made it most cogently on the final page of Things Fall Apart. With the reader in the full emotional grip of the many dimensions of Okonkwo's epic fate, the author boldly and deftly adds another, shifting to the perspective of a colonial governor who considers Okonkwo's story good material perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph for the book he is planning to write:  The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.
Having, with his first effort, created a permanent place for the African novel in the world literary canon, Achebe continued to be a prolific imaginative writer, producing novels and stories that evoked, in a range of voices, the trials of Nigeria's pre-colonial and colonial history, and the traumas of its post-independence ordeals: from No Longer at Ease and A Man of the People in the sixties to Girls at War and Anthills of the Savannah in the aftermath of the Biafran war. But the fact that he must be remembered as not only the father but the godfather of modern African literature owes at least as much to the decades he spent as the editor of Heinemann's African Writers Series. In that capacity, Achebe served as the discoverer, mentor, patron, and presenter-to-the-world of so many of the now-classic African authors of the latter half of the twentieth century. The series's orange-spined, generously inexpensive paperbacks carried a stamp of excellence that drew readers everywhere to essential works by writers as varied as Kenneth Kaunda, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Dennis Brutus, Tayeb Salih, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Ousmane Sembène, Wole Soyinka, and Nadine Gordimer, to name but a few: it is an extraordinary legacy.
As a storyteller, as a voice of his nation, as a cultural impresario, an intellectual combatant and provocateur, Achebe gained with age the status in Nigeria of a bard and a sage that the modern world rarely affords to writers. After suffering terrible injuries in a car crash, he spent much of his time in the last decades of his life in America, where he settled into long-term professorships at Bard College and Brown University. But when he returned to Nigeria he was received as a national hero. Crowds of thousands sometimes tens of thousands gathered to pay tribute to him. The adoration hardly softened him, though. He was, in his old age, as much a scold to his compatriots as he had ever been in his youth.
I met Achebe a few times in his wheelchair-bound American years. When he gave you his hand it was at once firm and soft and notably warm. He had a gentle presence a man fully capable of wit and mischief and open laughter, but whose default expression, at ease, was one of sympathetic melancholy. His voice was another matter: low-pitched and rich and adamant. When he spoke, it was with great command and unmistakable music. In Boston, in 1999, at a celebration of the centennial of Ernest Hemingway s birth, I had the honor of sitting on a panel with Achebe, on the subject of writing about Africa. He was as cogently withering about Hemingway's Africa a place he could not recognize because there were no speaking Africans there as he was, in one of his most famous essays, about Joseph Conrad s. At the end of the session, the floor was opened to questions. An evidently confused woman in the audience took the opportunity to ask In what sense are you writers about Africa? The other panelists Nadine Gordimer and Kwame Anthony Appiah were too baffled to respond. Not Achebe. He leaned into his microphone, and very slowly and melodically, with rolling Rs and drawn out Os, roared: Read. Our. Books. The woman said, But I'm asking you. And Achebe said, I'm telling you: Read. Our. Books. 
What better epitaph for the man, and what better way to remember him today: read his books.
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