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Author Achebe's body arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport  (Read 984 times)

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 The body of legendary writer, Prof. Chinua Achebe, kissed the earth of his fatherland in Abuja on Tuesday, when it was brought down from the United States of America.

The renowned author, regarded as the liberator of African literature, had lived in the US since 1990, when he relocated from Nigeria following a car crash that eventually confined him to the wheelchair.

While the author of classical Things Fall Apart had thereafter continued to make waves both in literature and scholarship, he passed  away on March 22, 2013, at age 82, throwing the whole world into mourning.

Like a prologue to his internment, which will take place in his hometown, Ogidi, Anambra State on Thursday, Achebe's body arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by 6am on Tuesday.

It was received by dignitaries that included Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Pius Anyim; and a former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Ogbonaya Onu.

While his first major professional sojourn abroad - as a lecturer - came by choice in 1972, when he accepted a visiting professorship at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, teaching African Literature, he had returned to Nigeria in 1976, as a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. It was, however, in 1990 that the 'last' journey abroad began.

Writing in guardian.uk, Lyn Innes recalls that after having been paralysed by the accident, Bard College, New York, had offered him and Christie the possibility of teaching there and provided the facilities he needed.

She adds, "Now using a wheelchair, he continued to travel and lecture in the US and occasionally abroad. His talks at Harvard in 1998 were published under the title Home and Exile. His more recent lectures and autobiographical essays were published in The Education of a British-Protected Child (2009). He moved to Providence, Rhode Island, in 2009 after being appointed professor of Africana Studies at Brown University."

For millions, if not billions of Achebe's fans, however, it is time to fully embrace the reality that he has returned home, and has reunited with Nigeria - a country he loved, which he had had to fight when he felt he needed to do so, and about which he had envisioned greatness that, has, however, continued to elude it.

Many people who paid tributes to him at the reception at the airport, and earlier on Monday in the same nation's capital, had acknowledged these and other virtues.

Particularly at a Night of Tributes held at the International Conference Centre, the likes of the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, had observed that Achebe was a great nationalist and patriot who wanted nothing but the best for his country

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