UNN honours Achebe’s ideals — Bertram Nwannekanma

By Ikenga Chronicles July 3, 2016

UNN honours Achebe’s ideals — Bertram Nwannekanma

The biennial memorial lecture in honour of one of the world’s literary colossus, late Professor Albert Chinualumogu Achebe was recently held at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu State. It was organised by Arts Faculty of the University, with a lecture titled, “In the service of the Arts, In the Service of Culture and Nation.”

In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, who was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, Prof. Charles Igwe, extolled the qualities of the literary icon and affirmed that Achebe lives on.

He emphasised that the focus of the university is not solely on what Achebe embodies to them as an institution, but his posture and strides to the entire black race and the world at large.

He said the 2016’s lecture stood out going by the topic, which he said highlighted the role of the arts in sustenance of the cultures and values, and to maintain social ethics as well as engender a sense of direction. In the same vain, Dean, Faculty of Arts, Prof. Pat Okpoko said the faculty would continue to honour Achebe as an icon whose footprints on the faculty and on the globe could not be obliterated even in generations to come.

Okpoko said attempts to honour Achebe by the Department of Arts started far back in 1990 before the icon’s demise in 2013, and stated that the biennial lecture would hence forth be held as and when due. He stressed that the academic aspect of the ‘colloquium’ would be anchored by renowned literary giants.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the chairman of the occasion, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, said the topic aptly fit into Achebe’s ideal. Utazi, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes, underscored the point that Achebe’s first book, Things Fall Apart, opened Africa to the rest of the world and painted a picture as well as a narrative to her ways of life.

“Achebe in his manner of keeping leaders on their toes hid not his distraught on the modus with which things were going on in the governance of the country at large, and Anambra State in particular, a situation that prompted his rejection of National award. His outcry brought the corrective sledge hammer which aided former Governor Peter Obi in reclaiming his mandate”.

The colloquium that was moderated by Prof. J.O.J Nwachukwu-Agbada, had discussants like Dr. Remy Oriaku of University of Ibadan and Prof. Esther Ugwu, University of Benin, Benin City.

In attendance were the Founder/President of Crusade for Justice, Mr. Richard Nwankwo and two awardees, Chief Emmanuel Okonkwo of Ekulo Nigeria limited and Chief Executive Officer of Romex Properties Nigeria Limited, Chief Ugochukwu Orji. The awardees were honoured with “Entrepreneurship/Corporate Governance Award and Entrepreneurship/Building Technology Award in recognition for their pedigree and sterling qualities.

In his remarks, Reverend Father (Prof.) A.N. Akwanya commended the Arts Department of the institution for giving honour to whom honour is due he thanked God for creating Achebe a Nigerian.

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