By Ikenna Obianeri
The Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has announced the renaming of the Anambra International Airport after the late literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe.
Soludo disclosed this on Sunday during the Independence Day celebration at the Dr Alex Ekwueme Square in Awka, the state capital, adding that the airport would now be called, “Chinua Achebe International Airport, Umueri”.
The governor also stated that his government was firing from all cylinders to ensure the hasty development of the state, pointing out that the state would come out of the troubled waters it found itself.
Soludo added that it was heartwarming that a good number of those who contributed to the independence of Nigeria in 1960 have had varying degrees of projects named after them.
He, however, noted that almost all of those whom the projects had been named after were public office holders, adding that his government had broken away from the norm to recognise Achebe by naming the Anambra airport after him.
He said, “We must say that you don’t have to hold a political position to contribute to the advancement of our civilisation.
“Henceforth, we shall be deliberate in fishing out and celebrating our largely unsung heroes, as a motivation to our children and youths in terms of what matters, including distinguished teachers, medical and other professionals, persons of honesty and integrity, philanthropists with known sources of wealth, entrepreneurs/job creators, community leaders/developers, clergy with great devotion, etc.
“An example of Africa’s unsung hero is the late Prof. Chinua Achebe. Achebe was not a president or a governor or minister. He did not build bridges or roads or airports. But he will outlive most presidents, governors or ministers.
“Achebe gave the African literature an identity and a voice. In a way, he rightly reconstructed and redefined who we are and we will never forget. Indeed, he was not an Anambra hero, nor a Nigerian hero. He was an African and global hero, and yet largely unsung at home.
“Consequently, we will rename the Anambra International Cargo and Passenger Airport, Umueri, to Chinua Achebe International Airport, Umueri. Yes, it has to be an international airport, and we hope to work with the Federal Government to give full effect to its international status.”