Soyinka, Eghagha commend UNN at Achebe’s conference

Chinua Achebe


Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, was treated to literary home coming when he attended the second Chinua Achebe International Conference organised by the Institute of African Studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

Soyinka said it was a home coming for him, recalling his days with the late Poet, Christopher Okigbo during the early days of the university.
He said he considered himself a foundation member of UNN and extolled the university’s academic prowess, adding: “I am one of the key roots of UNN,” and expressed happiness that the university still retained its natural serenity.

Keynote speaker at the conference, Professor Hope Eghagha, said the conference provided a platform for mainstreaming the past with the present to know where the rain started beating Nigeria.

Speaking on the theme: Wole Soyinka And The Literature Of Commitment, Eghagha said that whereas Soyinka is a literary colossus of the nation, Chinua Achebe was troubled with the problems of Nigeria.

“But 25 years after, there is no sign that we have learnt anything from the book. We need to commit literature to progressive thinking, because sitting on the fence won’t be helpful,” he said.Chairman of the conference opening ceremony and former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, lamented that the country has reached its lowest level, even as he commended Soyinka and his other colleagues for their effort to reunite the country.

Ezeife said that with the encouraged attendance of the four geopolitical zones to the recent Ohanaeze Ndigbo Summit on restructuring at Awka, there was hope of a new Nigeria, adding: “We will ensure Nigeria is restructured.” Organisers of the conference and Director UNN’s Institute of African Studies, Prof Emeka Nwabueze said the institution chose to honour Soyinka with the conference in spite of his many international honours.

They said this at the unveiling of the book: Where The Rain Started Beating Us, written by former governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Enugu State, Ugochukwu Agballah.

Enugu State Governor, Ifenayi Ugwuanyi, former Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo; former Vice Chancellor of UNN, Professor Bartho Okolo; pioneer national secretary of the Alliance for Democracy (AD), Udenta O. Udenta; Senator Anthony Agbo; novelist, Dilibe Onyeama and Mrs. Maria Okwor, who performed symbolic reading of the book, commended the author for the work.

 

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Chinua AchebeWole Soyinka
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