A Man Of The People by Chinua Achebe
“I hope we will always be friends. For yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision but today’s friendship makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and the every tomorrow a vision of hope”-Chinua Achebe (A man Of The People)
I pick this excerpt from page 120 of this book; this was the ending paragraph of Edna’s epistle to Odili. And I am using this as a key opening note to my thoughts not because it is the finest paragraph in this beautiful novel but because it speaks to me in different lingo that only my heart can and will understand better. It sums up my optimistic belief to keep on believing that Nigeria will someday get better. Surely, things have fallen apart that we can only but hope. Hoping that things will come to part in this country is still one representing belief that has not and will not tarnish from my heart.
I believe in everything that this spectacular masterpiece prevailed on. It opens my eyes to many more things that are left unsaid in it. I believe in the belief that believing in optimism is the beginning of hope. I believe that right from the beginning when it all began to fall apart- it hardly matter “what you knew but who knew” it makes me believe also that politics, right from the inception was never built for self enjoyment or rather was it a place where only the rich was invited to get richer on loyal tax payers money, some of them poor and barely employed with peanut salaries.
This is what this classic taught me and a bazillions of many more things which comes untaught after reading this glowing piece. Achebe was indirectly telling me that there are no middle class citizens (financially upright citizens) in this country, it is either the VIP (very important person) or the PIV (poor innocent victim), the richer can only get richer in here, while the poor will dig deeper in its poorness. Yeah, this again reminds me of a literary critic Ikhide Ikheloa, who once said, and I quote, “we have only two tribes in Nigeria-the rich and the poor.”
“A man of the people is a 1966 satirical novel by Chinua Achebe. It is Achebe’s fourth novel. The novel tells the story of the young and educated Odili, the narrator, and his conflict with Chief Nanga, his former teacher who enters a career in politics in an unnamed modern African country. Odili represents the changing of younger generation; Nanga represents the traditional customs of Nigeria. The book ends with military coup, similar to the real-life coups of John Aguiyi-Ironsi. Chuckuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Yakubu Gowon.” (Wikipedia)
Each time, I hold my biro and my paper prostrates gently in my desk, begging for thoughts; I think about the only man who taught me to write my story and be proud of it. I think about the man who introduces me to the world of literature as a whole.
It is you Achebe; it is you who taught me all that.