by Ibrahim Faruk
It has been 7 days of sorrow and agony from one end of the country to other and sad news from a Boston hospital that reverberated across the length and breadth of the country and the world.
The declaration of N1million each by Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, Godswill Akpabio, to cover ‘lunch expenses’ for state PDP chairmen was sad in contrast to the plans by the Federal Government to totally remove fuel subsidies; as well as the suicide bomb attack at a luxurious bus motor park in Kano which kicked off the week with sadness, sorrow and agony.
The nation was further thrown into shock and mourning as Chinua Achebe – one of the world’s most celebrated writers passed away on Thursday in a hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Professor Achebe had been sick for a while and was even rumoured dead some few weeks ago, but this time, it was not a rumor.
Achebe, born on November 16, 1930, is best known for his classic novel Things fall Apart. His last book, There Was A Country: A Personal History of Biafra, is still making waves. Until his death, Prof Achebe was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor of African Studies at Brown.
Here are the top 7 quotes in what has indeed been a sad week.
1. “My brother governor, Uduaghan said our members are hungry and that we must put food in their stomach so that they don’t stray to other parties. I am giving all the state chairmen of the party N1million each for lunch. Our members must not be hungry.
– Godswill Akpabio, Akwa Ibom governor and Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum, said this at the Peoples Democratic Party South-South zonal reconciliation meeting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital last weekend.
2. “I feel saddened to hear everyday that somebody has been killed here or there; yet we cannot figure out what is happening, and who is behind this. I feel the Federal Government should do more to fish out the perpetrators of these heinous acts to free Nigeria and indeed, our state from the festering mess.”
– The Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero declared that the motive behind last Monday’s bomb attack on a motor park in Kano which claimed the lives of more that 75 passengers was to cause another civil war even as the Federal Government warned that it will no longer tolerate wanton destruction of lives and property in the country.
3. “We cannot continue to waste resources meant for a greater number of Nigerians to subsidise the affluent middle class, who are the main beneficiaries (of fuel subsidy). We believe that as we progress, government is going to continue to enlighten Nigerians on the need to remove fuel subsidy.”
– President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday at the Nigeria Summit in Lagos said the Federal Government would still remove fuel subsidy but would first discuss the proposal with Nigerians.
4. “I’m just devastated. I only heard about half an hour ago and I don’t want to say anything yet. I’m just devastated.”
– Professor Wole Soyinka confirmed the passing on of fellow literary icon, Chinua Achebe on Friday. Soyinka made the comments on Cool FM, a private radio station in Lagos.
5. “They are just senators sitting in Abuja and they don’t know anything but they have to speak rubbish and absolute nonsense. Senators in Abuja felt they are big and mightier. Abuja only they know. They don’t know what is happening in their states or constituencies. If there is kidnapping, militancy or bomb blast in their home state they seek refuge in their castles in Abuja. We are working round the clock to ensure there is peace in Kano State and we shall continue with the good work for the betterment of the state.”
– Kano State governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso responding to senators who had accused him of indifference and insensitivity to the plight of the victims of Monday’s bomb explosion in Kano while receiving the Federal Government delegation led by the Minister of Interior, Comrade Abba Moro.
6. “It is a great loss to Nigeria and Africa. He is the greatest of African writers who played a key role in bringing African literature to the world. He was a fearless man who told the truth as he saw it. He will surely be missed.”
– The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information, Media and Public Affairs, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, also mourned the loss of Professor Chinua Achebe.
7. “President Goodluck has received with immense sadness, news of the passing away of Nigeria’s globally acclaimed writer, scholar, tutor, cultural icon, nationalist and artist of the very first rank, Prof. Chinua Achebe. President Jonathan joins Prof. Achebe’s family, his friends, colleagues, past and present students, admirers and all who have learnt indelible lessons of human existence from his award winning works of literature in mourning the legendary author.”
– State House Press Release signed by Reuben Abati – Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity) March 22, 2013