I turned my face to the wall, because I did not want anyone to see my tears as I gazed at the front page The Guardian on Saturday. The headline and his portrait stared at me.
Achebe, Big Iroko, Falls.
The last time I saw a great Iroko tree fall was as a child in my village of Umuekuele Aforugiri in Ohuhu of Umuahia North local government area in Abia State and the whole village was thrown into 30 days of mourning with feasting for a fallen tree.
Achebe was mightier than an Iroko tree. He was the awesome Ugo, the great eagle that can soar higher than any other bird in the sky.
The great eagle that dared to fly even in the eclipse of the sun.
The great eagle that flew over the seven seas.
The great eagle has flown away with the immortal spirits of our great ancestors.
I know that the whole of his Ikenga-Ogidi community must be covered in sackcloth with long faces casting long shadows of mourners with grimaces of sorrows.
“No matter the reality, after the initial shock, and a sense of abandonment, we confidently assert that Chinua lives. His works provide their enduring testimony to the domination of the human spirit over the forces of repression, bigotry, and retrogression.”
~ J. P. CLARK and Wole SOYINKA, the Guardian of Saturday March 23, 2013.
Before the passage of the great Achebe at 82, the great Yoruba Christian missionary, Prophet Timothy Obadare passed on in Akure on Thursday March 21, 2013 at 83. While millions of people have been touched by the enchanted words of Achebe in his numerous books, millions of people have been moved by the awesome testimonies and miracles of Obadare, the founder of the popular evangelical mission World Soul Winning Evangelical Ministry (WOSEM) in Nigeria and abroad.
Then I opened the white envelope from our neighbor Mr. Agiande.
I could guess what was inside.
The invitation to the obsequies of his great father, Pa Thompson Abakam Agiande of Bebuabie Village in Obudu, Cross River State. He was 93 years old.
Yes. Pa Agiande was a great man.
The grandfather of beautiful grand daughters and wonderful grandsons including my best friends in Nigeria, Roy, Thompson, Emmanuel and Cynthia who are well bred children of gentleman Mr. Agiande and his God sent wife Mrs. Agiande.
One day when I suddenly passed out it was in their home that I was revived. Even when the first copy of The Prophet Lied arrived from the American publishers, I happily showed it to the Agiandes who have never failed to lift my spirits out of the doldrums of despair and increased the momentum of the wind I needed to fly higher to greater heights of success. So, I thank God for the long life of Pa Agiande, and pray to be blessed like wisely with each passing day as we continue the great journey home with the echoes of the voices of our wise men and women blowing in the winds and in our caravans we tell the unforgettable tales of this month of the ashes of great souls.
~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, aka Orikinla Osinachi, prize winning Nigerian writer, most prolific African blogger and author of Children of Heaven, Sleepless Night, Scarlet Tears of London, Bye, Bye Mugabe, In the House of Dogs, Diary of the Memory Keeper, The Prophet Lied, co-author of Naked Beauty and editor of The Language of True Love. He has written many articles, commentaries and news reports published by Technorati, Blogcritics, Huliq, Yahoo Voices, Shvoong, Gather, Huffington Post, Face2Face Africa, Black Film Maker, Nigeria Films and Modern Ghana.