Nigerians have lost two giants this week in the persons of Prophet T.O. Obadare and Professor Chinua Achebe. What is most suprising is that they both died on Thursday 21st of March albeit in different locations. Prophet Obadare died in Akure, Ondo Sate, his home town, while Professor Achebe died in Boston, United Sates. What makes these illustrous sons of Nigeria giants and what are their contributions to history?
Starting with Prophet Obadare, Baba (Father) was a Pentecostal preacher with a message of holiness. His holiness messages which also aired on his television programme challenges and rebukes Nigerians of corruption and bribery. Baba believed strongly in living right and his lifestyle exemplifies that. He was never like any of the current Nigerian Pentecostal preachers with luxurious cars or jets. He associated with the Gospel that saw the need of the poor and the down trodden.
Baba was also an Evangelist to the core. It was his passion for mission that drove him to start the renowned World Soul-Winning Evangelistic Ministry around 1979. This soul winning ministry has led to Church plants and Gospel Campaign meetings in different parts of Nigeria, United States, Canada and Europe. As an overseer of more than 30 Churches, baba effectively was an Apostle. He also provided mentoring to other Nigerian ministers such as Bishop Francis Wale Oke and many others. He was also one of the former Presidents of The Christ Apostolic Church.
Finally, his monthly miracle meetings Koseunti (God of the impossible or nothing is too difficulty for God), winessed a lot of miracles, healings and deliverance. Baba was a blind prophet with extraordinary insight into Scriptures. I do remember as a young boy watching his television programme in the 1980s how he would correct the person reading the Bible if they did not read it properly or made a mistake in their reading.
Professor Achebe is regarded as the Grandfather of Nigerian literature. This is perhaps because of his first novel, things fall apart (1958) which became a magnum opus and is regarded as the most widely read novel in African literature. Things Fall Apart became the first in what is referred to in Achebe’s writings as the African Trilogy, with two other novels following, No Longer at Ease (1960) and the Arrow of God (1964). His other literatures are, A Man of the People (1966), Anthils of the Savannah (1987) and There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra (2012).
Apart from been an accomplished novelist, poet and writer, Achebe’s contributions can also be seen in the areas of politics. Anyone investigating the history of Biafra will definitely have to look into Achebe’s contributions in helping his own people at the time. He supported Biafran independence and became an ambassador for his people. Achebe was one of the people who called Europeans and North Americans for aid relief when violence and starvation took its tool during the Civil War. His last book before he died There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra brought back into limelight issues that were involved during the Biafran Civil War.
Achebe was also a critic, speaking out in lectures and through his writings about racism and colonialism and its legacies on the African people. His works has criticised the likes of Joseph Conrad and Albert schweitzer. Achebe is known to have upset many European scholars who do not share his critical views. This has nevertheless not changed his opinion not stopped him from being a fierce critic of Western Civilisation. Professor Achebe will be remembered as an intellectual giant whose writings were very true to the oral traditions of African religions and customs