The Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW), Anambra State chapter, has commended the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, for renaming Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport after the late literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe, saying that it was the best Independence Day gift to them. Coordinator of the group in the state, Izunna Okafor said that the decision to immortalize the literary giant, Achebe, was extraordinary and that his group was highly pleased about the development.
“The news of renaming the Anambra State International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri, after Prof. Chinua Achebe filled our hearts with boundless joy. It is an affirmation of the value and significance of literature in our society.
“As young writers, we have consistently championed the call for the immortalization of Chinua Achebe through our annual program, the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture.
“This initiative, which we initiated in 2016, serves as a platform to honor Achebe’s enduring legacy. We hold this event at the Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, where we also unveil an international poetry/essay anthology (Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology) annually in his honor.
“Writers from across the globe participate in this initiative, and we are excited to announce that the 8th edition of the anthology will be released this year, coinciding with the 2023 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture.
Each year during the festival, we passionately reiterated our call for the government to immortalize Achebe, emphasizing the injustice of neglecting such a world-class intellectual. We lamented the demoralizing effect this had on upcoming writers and the youth.
“We observed that while politicians and money bags were celebrated and immortalized, literary champions like Achebe had not received the recognition they deserved”, the statement reads partly.
The group appealed to the government to “establish an International Writers Residency in his honor, since there are just two (even privately-owned) writers residencies in Nigeria, and given that Anambra, being a home and cradle of many world-class writers, ought to have, at least, one writers residency.”
“This residency would be of immense importance and impact. Many of us have been fortunate to participate in writers’ residencies across Nigeria and worldwide, and we long for such a prestigious institution in our beloved state.
“Today, we express our deepest gratitude to Governor Soludo for heeding our call and fulfilling one of our requests to immortalize Achebe. This act is not only a precious and best Independence Day gift to Anambra writers but also to writers nationwide and beyond.
“In conclusion, Governor Chukwuma Soludo’s decision to immortalize our role model, Prof Chinua Achebe, demonstrates that being an intellectual is a noble virtue deserving of recognition,” the statement adds.
Source : The Sun News