By Charles Igwe
In a historic move that pays tribute to one of Nigeria’s literary giants, Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State has officially renamed the state’s International Passenger and Cargo Airport after the renowned author, Chinua Achebe. This decision is a heartfelt gesture aimed at immortalizing Achebe for his profound contributions to the world of literature and his enduring impact on human civilization.
Chinua Achebe, a native of Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, left an indelible mark on the literary landscape. His passing on March 21, 2013, in Boston, Massachusetts, marked the end of an era, but his legacy lives on through his timeless works.
During the Independence Day parade held in Awka to commemorate Nigeria’s 63rd anniversary, Governor Soludo lauded Chinua Achebe as an exemplar of Africa’s often unsung heroes. He emphasized that Achebe, a novelist, poet, and critic, not only gave African literature a distinct voice but also played a pivotal role in reshaping the identity of his people.
Governor Soludo articulated that legacy transcends mere physical infrastructure; it is about the profound impact on human lives and civilization. While Achebe didn’t hold political office or construct bridges and roads, his legacy, rooted in the power of words, surpasses the ephemeral nature of politics.
Achebe’s principled stand was exemplified by his twice-rejected national honours in protest against perceived injustices toward his home state, Anambra. Now, Anambra State has chosen to honor him in a manner befitting his literary stature. The Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri, shall henceforth be known as the Chinua Achebe International Airport, Umueri. This recognition will further cement Achebe’s legacy on the global stage, in addition to his enduring literary impact.
Governor Soludo called upon all Nigerians to believe in the potential greatness of their country and to actively participate in making Nigeria a nation that works for everyone. He acknowledged that the road to stability, growth, and sustainability may be challenging, but it is a journey that all Nigerians must embark upon collectively.
The governor’s administration is committed to the true progressive agenda, fostering an environment where the residents of Anambra State can thrive and prosper.
As Nigeria commemorates its 63rd year of independence, this gesture to honor Chinua Achebe underscores the importance of recognizing the contributions of those who have left an indelible mark on our history and culture.
The renaming of the airport is a fitting tribute to Chinua Achebe’s literary genius and his enduring legacy in the hearts and minds of people around the world. It is a reminder that the power of words can shape nations and inspire generations.