The Society of Young Nigerian Writers has appealed to the State Government to immortalise Chinua Achebe for his legendary work in literary art.
Izunna Okafor, chairman, Anambra chapter of the society, made the appeal during the 6th edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture held in Awka on Tuesday.
Mr Okafor said it would be great if the government renamed the newly-commissioned Anambra International Airport after Achebe because “his great personality deserves such a recognition”.
He urged the government to establish Chinua Achebe Writers Residency, since Mr Achebe himself was a beneficiary and fellow of other writers’ residences in other countries of the world before his demise.
“There is only one Writers Residency in Nigeria, Ebedi Writers Residency in Iseyi, Oyo state, privately owned by Dr Wale Okediran, therefore it will not be overdoing to also immortalise him (Achebe) with one.
He also requested the government appoints officials to charge of literary matters, who would stand as a bridge between writers and the state government.
“Anambra has many exportable brands of star writers and deserves to create such a vital office to encourage and empower them both intellectually and financially.
“This will also help to raise other Achebes who will replace the man on whose honour we are here today for.”
The society, in collaboration with the Anambra State library Board, organised a maiden memorial lecture, poetry performance, and the unveiling of Chinua Achebe poetry Essay Anthology to celebrate the man – Achebe
Nkechi Udeze, who heads the state library board, said it is important to celebrate Mr Achebe, so as to encourage young people to develop a culture of hard work.
She appealed to the young people to develop interest in writing and reading so as to bring out the inner talents to enrich themselves and to bless humanity.
In his keynote address, Chuka Nnebuife, an author, artist, journalist and the Managing Director of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, described Achebe as a social crusader, scholar, linguistic stylist, and forerunner.
Mr Nnabuife said Mr Achebe was an iconic name in Africa as well as world literature.
“He believes that serious writers should have a sense of responsibility to enhance the quality of humanity by way of exposing all man-made suppression and oppression in society.
“Achebe is a crusader against colonialism that enslaved the African countries and their people, he is opposed to the injustice and atrocities perpetrated by colonial rulers.
“He wants to awaken the African people to rise up against the onslaught of colonialism in future. Nigerians are what they are only because their leaders are not what they should be,” he said.