The Lamentations Of Chinua Achebe...............

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The Lamentations Of Chinua Achebe............... Being a Nigerian is abysmally frustrating and unbelievably exciting. - Chinua Achebe. Chinua Achebe was there when Nigeria started. He was excited for the virgin nation. He wrote Things Fall Apart(1958) to show to the World,that Mungo Park may have discovered River Niger, there were people of the Niger. And they had there own beautiful culture.The Ground breaking novel was a startling success . Selling well over 20 million World wide and had been translated into more than 50 languages. The only thing we have learnt from experience is that we have learnt nothing from experience. - Chinua Achebe. Achebe went on to write No Longer At Ease (1960), Arrow Of God (1964) and A Man Of The People (1966). Even before the ink had dried on AMOTP, the Nigeria that Achebe had had high hopes for, was beginning to show cracks in its walls.The country at Independence from British Colonial rule in 1960, was called the Giant of Africa. With a large population. An educated elite and many natural resources especially oil. It was supposed to fly the flag of democratic progress for Blacks all over the World. But like the groundnuts pyramid of Kano, hopes about Country was about to evaporate. The United States Of Nigeria was turning out to be a monumental mistake. People say if you find water running up to your ankle, that's the time to do something about it,not when it's around your neck. - Chinua Achebe. From 1966 till when he died on March 21,2013 in Boston, Massachusetts, all Achebe did was lament about Nigeria. 'Abame is no more'. The experiment that looked good and promising at inception and during conception in 1960, was now an abysmal failure in reality. Government after Government, it was from one inept leadership to another. Military rule or Democratic rule. The end result was always the same :corruption, nepotism,tribalism and abuse of power. The only thing constant about the country, was the constant steady decline. Oil boom to oil doom had turned the nation into a seething cauldron,maddening in its contradictions and capacity for self destruction. Infinitesimal small and most corrupt oil rich elite hold the Country by the jugular. Then there was Biafra. A move Wole Soyinka called "simply political but military unwise." Anyway, there was a Country. When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouth;it is because we see something which you do not see.- Chinua Achebe. In his last book There Was A country, Achebe mourns Biafra. He did this by taking a long look at the Nigerian experiment. Its flaws and merits. His anger and reasons for his nostalgia was hinged on Nigeria's huge failures that manifest itself in the undue sufferings of the Nigerian people- not just the Igbo people. Facing his mortality, Achebe had to achieve his bucket lists. Get the Nigerian burden off his chest. Hear him :"The writer is often faced with two choices- turn away from the reality of life's intimidating complexity or conquer its mystery by battling with it. The writer who chooses the former soon runs out of energy and produces elegantly tired fiction." Was his nostalgia jarring and sometimes misplaced? Yes. But the man was angry. Living in Diaspora, he was angry that Nigeria, his once beloved country had turned into Gomorrah. Nigeria is what it is because the leaders are not what they should be. - Chinua Achebe. From Gowon to Goodluck, we have squandered our natural resources and siphoned to other countries, the wealth that the Almighty God bestowed us with. Our leaders have not been principled driven or God fearing. They have been reality denying and feed the people with outright deliberate lies. Our once celebrated beautiful culture is now history. We now dress ourselves with other people's values and strange customs. Embittered and grieving for the destruction of his people Independence, Achebe wrote, There Was A Country. What if Biafra had become a Country? The failure of the Nigerian experiment, turned him into a grumpy old man! Writers don't give prescriptions. They give headaches. - Chinua Achebe. Why would a man that wrote the best book about Nigeria in 1958, be the same one to write the worst book in 2012, about the country of his birth? There Was A Country, will not give Chinua Achebe posthumous glory. A masterful writer,his place among the greatest writers in the World like Charles Dickens is already secured. TWAC, he wrote not for our reading pleasure. He wrote the book in his old age, to wake up the 'Okonkwo' in us. See Nigeria, in the reality as Things Fall Apart. And are No Longer At Ease, the Center cannot hold and anarchy has taken over our Motherland. Like 'Okonkwo' he wondered aloud what happened to 'Umouofia '( Nigeria)? Why have the men gone effeminate like 'Unoka'? And where did these derange sense of values come from? Those were the lamentations of Chinua Achebe. Among the Igbo the art of conversation is regarded very highly and proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten. - Chinua Achebe.

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