Nigeria News

NIGERIA: Eagle on iroko for Chinua Achebe

Late Professor Chinua AchebeCan things ever fall apart in the home of the teacher Chinualumogu the vaulting eagle on the riverside iroko

What more does the griot crave beyond his-story his audience and the tongue to weave songs beyond time

We walk not on legs the silvery sheen of your words have lent wings to the thoughts hidden in the secret places of the mind they have restored the kingdom to the easement of past glories

Though we know the plague that brought the dispersal we are confident the weaverbird will soon heed the call of blood the sweet come-back-home of mother and our homes shall return once more to the endless feast of old when gods arrow is finally quivered

But for my copy editor, I had not intended to add a word to the above lines, my own reaction to a figure that means different things to different people- across continents and generations.

I had chosen to hark back to more sombre times when it was still possible to tell the voice of the trader from the din of market noises; hear the hunter rather than the harmattan whisperings of forest creatures. In the blinding passion of the moment I sought the quiet of earlier and, one might say, saner period, far from the sound and fury of emotions wrought by the anguish, for many, of the passing of a rare spirit.

Only days before his passing, totally unaware of what lurked in the corner, I had remarked to a retired English professor of African History at the University College London that had Professor Chinua Achebe remained in Nigeria he probably couldn’t have lived as long as he had.

We should therefore be grateful that we still did have him for 23 years after his debilitating experience on the death snares we call Nigerian roads.

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