Chinua was a man of resilient will. His works are testimony to the domination of the human spirit over the forces of repression.
Reacting to his death, veteran writers and Achebe’s compatriots, Prof. Wole Soyinka and J.P. Clark, linked his death to the bomb attacks that occurred in Kano on Monday.
In a joint statement they issued on Friday, entitled “On the Passing of Chinua Achebe,” they noted that his death might have been hastened by the shock from the violence that those they described as Achebe’s people suffered during the attacks.
The statement read, “For us, the loss of Chinua Achebe is, above all else, intensely personal. We have lost a brother, a colleague, a trailblazer and a doughty fighter.
“Of the ‘pioneer quartet’ of contemporary Nigerian literature, two voices have been silenced – one, of the poet Christopher Okigbo, and now, the novelist Chinua Achebe.
“It is perhaps difficult for outsiders of that intimate circle to appreciate this sense of depletion, but we take consolation in the young generation of writers to whom the baton has been passed, those who have already creatively ensured that there is no break in the continuum of the literary vocation.
“We need to stress this at a critical time of Nigerian history, where the forces of darkness appear to overshadow the illumination of existence that literature represents.
“These are forces that arrogantly pride themselves implacable and brutal enemies of what Chinua and his pen represented, not merely for the African continent, but for humanity.
“Indeed, we cannot help wondering if the recent insensate massacre of Chinua’s people in Kano, only a few days ago, hastened the fatal undermining of that resilient will that had sustained him so many years after his crippling accident.”
“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.”