Nnamdi Azikiwe November 16, 1904 – May 11, 1996,
Chinua Achebe November 16, 1930 – March 21, 2013
ANAMBRA is blessed with plethora of personalities whose imprints in the sands of time remain indelible and as well legendary.
AMONGST the litany of astounding scions of Anambra include; the great nationalist, Nnamdi Azikiwe, leader of defunct Biafra, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, computer guru, Philip Eneagwali, father of African Literature, Chinua Achebe amongst many in the row.
WHILE these figures may have been moulded with the beguiling astral sublimity, the nexus that ties two of these extra-ordinary personalities in the list, Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chinua Achebe to November month adds to nature’s mystical complexity of an epoch.
IN the narrative of great men who had shaped events in Nigeria, the name Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe stands out in many fronts, except it is told with skewed intent.
A FOUNDING father of Nigerian nation and Pan African nationalist, Zik as he was fondly called represented many things to many people. An enigma who like the Octopus forsaw future from present and projected possible outcomes before time.
BORN in Zungeru, Niger State, on November 16,1904, he traversed across many frontiers and conquered battles without firing a single cannon.
A PRODUCT of Pennsylvania and Howard Universities, Zik invested his refined intellectual acuity into unifying Africa and raising the consciousness for Pan Africanism.
IT became a matter of certainty that he would deploy his faculty in steering his own country, Nigeria off the control of colonial masters- Britain and with the collaboration of then elites from the north, south and his native east, the Independence of Nigeria from British was secured on October Ist 1960.
HE became the first President of Nigeria from 1963 to 1966 and despite the circumstances of the time that compelled the Igbo to seek secession from Nigeria which resulted into civil war, he committed to ‘One Nigeria’ against the popular decision of his tribe for secession.
BORN on November 16, 1904, he died on May 11, 1996 but the November bond ensured he was buried on November 16, 1996.
ANAMBRA could find no matching honour for this colossus than immortalising him with a declaration of November 16 as ‘Zik’s Memorial Day’; observing a holiday in the state in his honour and calling for adoption of same at the national level.
PERHAPS, many may argue the essence of such call, but the compelling need to celebrate virtues and reawaken such consciousness in the minds of present generation of Nigeria at a time absurdities hold sway becomes imperative.
IF present and future generations can hold forth the patriotic ideals Zik’s life represent, the deep rooted ethnicism ripping the country apart would find no place to thrive.
APPARENTLY, Zik is not the only blue blood from the bowels of mother Anambra whose inprints beckon emulation to posterity. The Late Chinua Achebe from Ogidi town in Anambra State whose sterling life lightened up not only Africa but cuts across literary world stands much chance to liberate a generation from captivity of corruption and inspire hardwork, honesty and quest for integrity. This gem has uncommon tie with November.
BORN on November 16, 1930, it could only elicit curiosity how this month yields extra terrestrial beings and endow them with uncommon features.
A WORLD renowned literary giant, Achebe symbolised values that can take any society to the summit of progress.
BENT on not compromising his integrity, the literary icon turned down invitation for conferement of National Merit award by a government he considered too corrupt to be identified with at a time.
FOR him, where honesty stands, falsehood cannot rise; where integrity is the identity, corruption is not a preferred garb.
EVEN if other months of the year give reasons for rueful tales, November comes with a spark that uplifts the spirit with these idols providing the tune for victorious chant and as well signposting the ingenuity of ndi-Anambra.
INDEED, November is not just any other month for citizens within the clime but a month of strong assertion that seeds of virtue cannot be allowed to die out of negligence. Nigeria as a nation cannot afford to playdown the contributions of these great men in history; hence a clarion call for immortalisation of visions and virtues of these great minds by elevating the honour to national exercise.
IT is not any exaggeration to say that upholding values and rewarding excellence could plant patriotic consciousness for posterity.