News

June 8, 2024

Anambra State and the Achebe Prize for Literature — By Chuks Iloegbunam

Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe

When Governor Willie Obiano instituted the Chinua Achebe Prize for Literature in 2021, his government was showered with encomiums. If anybody’s name deserved a literary prize, it had to be that of the Father of African Literature.

However, the people need assurances that the current Government of Anambra State still shares this sentiment. This is because it is not meeting its commitments and obligations to the continued administration of the literary prize.

The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), which administers the annual prize has not been receiving the N1 million prize money from Anambra State. By now, ANA should have called for entries for the 2024 version of the prize. But it has no plans to so act.

“The Anambra Government has not redeemed/funded the prize since last year,” complained an ANA official. “Neither do we have assurance that they will redeem it or continue to fund the prize beyond promises. ANA administers the prize in collaboration with the Anambra Government. We have advised the Government to fund the prize for five years upfront to save ANA the trouble of running around state officials or firing blanks every year.”

This is scandalous.

Not long ago, Governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo named the Anambra Airport at Umueri after Achebe. Consequently, the world visited him with uncommon laudation. For this, it might not be entirely out of place to assume that he does not know how terribly a curious and serious administrative lapse is tarnishing the image of his Aministration. Our people say that the humiliation of a nobleman is more grievous than his assassination.

I advise the fellow or officials responsible for introducing a monkey’s hand in the people’s dish to remove it immediately. Otherwise, I will be left with no option than to let Professor Soludo into this untenable dying of Anambra people’s wholesomeness in the mud of contempt and obloquy.