The Senate on Wednesday in Abuja told the Federal Government to immortalise Prof. Chinua Achebe by naming a major highway or street in Abuja and a national monument after him.
The Senate also called on government to give state funeral to honour Achebe, to promote and showcase excellence and his positive contributions to Nigeria and the world.
The decisions were taken, following debate on a motion sponsored by Sen. Chris Ngige (ACN Anambra) and 107 other senators on the death of Achebe.
Leading debate on the motion, Ngige noted that Achebe was a world figure and a personality who brought fame and prestige to Nigeria and all humanity through his literary works.
“Things Fall Apart”, Achebe’s most widely read novel, was published in 1958. After this his flagship book, he had a creative fertile period in the 1960s writing several other novels.
“Despite Achebe’s incapacitation, he continued to be active in his works and intellectual contributions to the richness of life, the art and culture of Nigeria and Africa.
“ He went ahead to publish several works, including his latest work:’’ There Was a Country.”
Ngige said the late bard was a social critique, an activist-poet and principled man who denied himself several personal accolades while marketing and exporting Nigerian and African cultures.
The Senate President, Chief David Mark, on his part, noted that this was one of the few motions supported by all senators.
Mark said that it was difficult to pay tribute to a man like Achebe because there was hardly anything that could be said that would truly befit the writer.
“Those who did their WASC after 1966 will remember Achebe well because Things Fall Apart was first used in 1966. Before then, it was books written by non-Nigerians that were in use.
“Most of us didn’t think of him as a human being because we thought that people who wrote books were spirits because they were great and not humans.’’
The senate president described Achebe as a role model for youths and the elders, just as he was a forthright, fearless Nigeria who took Nigeria to great heights.
“His body is dead but his works will live forever. His use of simple language will never and can never be matched by any other.’’
Mark said the most befitting burial that could be given to Achebe was to ensure that ‘’things no longer fall apart’’ and that “he was at ease wherever he is”.
The Senate Leader, Mr Victor Ndoma-Egba (PDP-Cross River) on his part , described Achebe as a “master story teller”, adding that he should not be mourned but celebrated.
“Before Achebe, we debated whether we had literature and African literature but today it has been resolved we have literature.
“Should we mourn Achebe, a man who lived well beyond the three scores and 10 that the Bible promised us?’’
“Achebe cannot die, he lives and is merely taking a deserved and well earned rest in the bosom of his maker, so we should not mourn him but celebrate his life and his achievements.’’
Sen. Zainab Kure ( PDP-Niger) in her contribution, said that one of Achebe’s most striking book was “No Longer at Ease’’ which according to her, is a reflection of present happenings in the country.
“A lot has been said about Things Fall Apart but the one that strikes me most is the one that has the title that connotes what is happening in the country currently, `No Longer at Ease.’
“You will agree with me that we are no longer at ease in Nigeria, but I pray that the problems in Nigeria will be solved. ‘’
Several other senators who spoke, extolled the virtues of the novelist, describing him as a courageous and patriotic Nigerian who always promoted the country and the continent.
The senate also observed a one-minute silence in Achebe’s honour and constituted a nine-man delegation, led by the senate leader to commiserate with his family, the people and government of Anambra.
Achebe died on March 21 in the U.S. at 82.