Igbo prepare for Ahiajioku lecture

The Igbo in Nigeria, across the seven states they dominate Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers, will not just be part of the of the commemoration of the golden jubilee of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, they have also devoted three months – November 2008 to January 2009 as soul searching, using the novel as a guide.

Achebe’s universally celebrated novel, Things Fall Apart, was published in 1958. With this event, modern African Literature was born.

At a press conference in Lagos, Prof. Uzodinma Nwala, president of the First festival on Igbo Civilisation, said the Igbo, under the aegis of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Aka Ikenga, Ndigbo Lagos, WHELAN academy, Izu Umunna, CIDJAB, Igbo Studies Association, USA, CODES, have decided to be part of the celebration.

The conference was attended by scholars such as Dr. Chidi Osuagwu of the Federal University of Technology, Mr. Pascal Dozie, who is chairman of the Honorary members, Chief Nwofili Adibuah, Dr. S. O. Ebigwei of Aka Ikenga, Navy Capt Jerry Ogbonna, (rtd) Msgr Theo Okere, Mr. Kalu Onuma, among others.

For the Igbo groups, however, the celebration offers the people “whose ancient civilisation forms the background of the plot of Things Fall Apart, and whose world has taken a most tragic state in contemporary times is being challenged to search for the meaning of Things Fall Apart in their history and their situation in the world today.

“For us as citizens of the Igbo nation, therefore, Things Fall Apart is not a mere literary subject. It is an eloquent testimony of the intricacies of’ pre-colonial classical Igbo Culture and Civilisation, as well as the effects of colonization on traditional Igbo society, presented to the World as a paradigm of ancient African Culture and Civilisation. This is why, though the impact of Things Fall Apart in African and World literature is inestimable, its fruits are found in other spheres of intellectual activity, namely, philosophy, art, sociology, politics, religion and even science. The novel touches on these various spheres of ancient Igbo Culture and Civilisation.” The Ndigbo, Nwala is therefore, it is tangential to celebrate Things Fall Apart only as an historical literary episode.

“Its full import becomes obvious if we treat the great novel as a mirror and window that bring us into a fuller glare of our past, and roots, our predicament and our Civilisation. This 50th Anniversary of Things Fall Apart, therefore, offers us an opportunity to examine our past, our present predicament and our future. Nobody has greater need to do this than the Igbo nation, for whom so much has tragically fallen apart, not only as a result of the incursion of colonialism, but more painfully, since the amalgamation of the nation into the Nigerian Federation in 1914,” he told his auidence.

The golden jubilee celebration of Things Fall Apart is a Year of Soul-Searching for Ndigbo. Nwala said it offers ” us great moment of Festival. This is why 2008 is year of soul-searching, a Year of refocusing on the totality of the Igbo life and history, namely, Igbo Civilisation. Hence, the Theme of the Festival is 2008 Festival on Igbo Civilisation. To say the Festival is also a moment for the Igbo nation to join the world to honour Chinua Achebe, her son, is to state the obvious, for no honour is too much for this world-celebrated icon.”

Nwaal therefore rolled out activities to mark the Festival designed to complement each other as moments of this soul-searching. The Conferences, he said, will take the nature of retreats, moments of soul-searching on the place and role of the various social institutions and organisations in Igboland on the future of the Igbo nation. At the same time, each Conference /Retreat for reflection and proposing some broad Agenda for the advancement of the course of Igbo civilization. The outcomes of the various retreats/conferences are to be published and given the widest popular dissemination throughout Igboland and Igbo Diaspora.

…Confab on TFA
As part of the 50th anniversary of Things fall apart, the classic novel by Chinua Achebe, The Art Republic, in association with The Pan-African Circle of Artists, will celebrate the novel’s nonpareil contributions in the development of African literature and studies.
The group in a statement says this is in recognition of Achebe’s role as a wordsmith of superlative merit. The celebration will be in form of a conference and exhibition to mark the 50th anniversary of the novel.


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