27 March 2013

Nigeria: House Wants National Library Named After Achebe

Photo: Vanguard
Chinua Achebe, author and poet.

It was the turn of the House of Representatives Tuesday to mourn one of Nigeria's literary icons, Prof. Chinua Achebe, who died last week in the United States. It was a sombre session at the House as lawmakers took turns to pay tributes to a man that used his literary skill to promote African culture.

The House resolved that the federal government should immortalise him by naming the National Library, under construction in Abuja, after him.

It also observed a minute of silence in honour of the deceased novelist and offered prayers for the repose of his soul.

In addition to immortalising Achebe, the House resolved to send a letter of condolence to his family while it will be represented during his burial.

The House resolutions on the late Achebe came following a motion sponsored by Hon. Charles Odedo (ACN/ Anambra). The lawmaker who paid glowing tributes to the late Achebe, said his literary prowess brought honour and pride to Nigeria.

He recalled that Achebe's literary masterpiece, 'Things Fall Apart,' which was written in 1958, has been translated into over 50 languages and has sold over 12 million copies worldwide.

"We are aware that Prof. Achebe has authored over 20 novels and has won many awards and prizes, including the Nigerian National Merit Award, Man Booker International Prize 2007, Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 2010. He has also received honorary degrees from more than 30 universities around the world.

"In 1992, he became the first living writer to be represented in the Everyman's Library Collection," he said.

Odedo drew the attention of the House to the fact that one of Achebe's books, "The Trouble with Nigeria," identifies bad governance as the problem with Nigeria.

He explained that Achebe through his literary works, relentlessly fought against corruption, oppression, injustice and bad governance; a fight that is in line with the legislative agenda of the seventh Assembly.

The Senate is to hold a session today in honour of the late Achebe.

The decision followed a motion on matters of urgent national importance raised at plenary yesterday by Senator Chris Ngige (ACN-Anambra).

Ngige, who described Achebe as "his constituent," acknowledged that torrents of tributes had been pouring in since Achebe's death.

He, however, requested the Senate to honour Achebe by holding a session of tributes.

Also yesterday, the House passed through second reading a bill seeking to amend the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science Act No. 26 of 2007 to properly define the institute's regulatory role, enforce its provisions and provide penalties in the event of breaches.

The lawmakers also passed through second reading a bill for an Act to establish a National Post Graduate College of Medical Laboratory Science in Nigeria.

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