My early decision to study at the university of Ibadan was generally impacted by the collection of literatures I was exposed to as a pupil in the foundational school. Onward, my penchant for the Nigeria’s premier University was often projected with a show of devout resoluteness. Consequently, I was often described as UI-obsessed by my peers.
Many of the books I was made to read as a teenager, some with a threat of being beaten up and others based on my personal volition, were authored by notable names that were invariably linked to the University of Ibadan as the school’s alumni or retired teachers. The list comprised of Nigerian first generation writers such as Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, JP Clark, Ola Rotimi, etc whose contributions transcend schorlaship and literary appreciation to politics and sociocultural milieu.
Another influence, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is in her own league and has dignifiedly extended the legacy of the first generation writers. Hailed from Abba, Anambra state in the southeastern part of Nigeria, Chimamanda Adichie has contributed to knowledge and spiced the global stage through her literary works, public lectures and speeches.
From her début, Purple Hibiscus, to Half of a yellow Sun, based on Nigerian political history, and then to Americana which got much eclat in the US, Adichie has projected herself as a highly imaginative juggler of words. Her TEDx speech, Danger of a single story, brought about a paradigm shift in storytelling.
However, her début novel seem to have the most striking influence on my childhood. Adichie’s constructive characterization of Kambili and picturesque description of the University of Nigeria (NSUKKA), Enugu in Purple Hibiscus offered me a fresh perspective about diligence, romance, and education in the southeastern part of Nigeria.
The Nigerian-American novelist and award-winning global celebrity author was conferred a chieftaincy title in recognition of her contributions to the welfare and development of her hometown during the 45th Ofala festival and 80th birthday celebration of HRH. Igwe Sir Leonard Nwankwo Ezeh (Eze Abba) on Friday December 30, 2022. Present at the ceremony was the Governor of Anambra State, Charles Soludo, amongst other dignitaries.
Adichie’s newest title “Odeluwa Abba” which means “The one who writes for the world” is indeed a well deserved honour.