Òkè Ògùn News
Dr. Okediran leads National Organizing Committee on 7-City Event Commemorating 50th Year Anniversary of The Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe
2014 is the golden anniversary of the publication of the novel Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe. His third novel after Things Fall Apart and No Longer at Ease the three books are sometimes called The African Trilogy. They all share similar settings and themes, with the chief priest, Ezeulu, in South Eastern Nigeria, who confronts adversaries to his office, colonial powers and Christian missionaries in the 1920s.Arrow of God is a political and cultural novel that captures the clash of African and Western cultures and their inability to peaceably co-exist. The changes advocated by the colonial system were in direct conflict with existing indigenous ways of life and age-long customs in the Igbo society. The eventual assimilation of Western values and beliefs, is accompanied with loss of the Igbo cultural identity and by extension, the political identity of the Nigerian nation at large.However, the main thrust of the book, which many readers and critics have adjudged the most intricate and most accomplished of Achebe’s novels, is its exploration of the question of power and leadership as exercised by the elites of a community, reflected in the character of Ezeulu and his equally powerful antagonists in the book. The choice the community is left with at the end of the book which arose out of the power play between Ezeulu and his adversaries is very instructive to Nigeria of today and Africa with regard to presence or lack of development as a result of inappropriate exercise of power and leadership. The book is also relevant in the contemporary Nigerian discourse on Leadership, Democracy and National Unity.It will therefore be very auspicious to use the opportunity of the 50th Anniversary of the Publication of the book to re-examine the concepts of power, leadership, responsibility and good governance in Nigeria and Africa as derivable from the vagaries of Ezeulu and his confederating communities in The Arrow of God.Amidst the seemingly obdurate challenges of globalisation, the conference organized around the 50th year anniversary of the Arrow of God presents an appropriate foray to use the story in the book for an inward search and necessary projections on the past, present and the future of our shared community experiences especially in the areas of Leadership, Democracy and Nation Building. The Conference in the spirit of the proposed National Conference in the country also allows negotiating the ever-deepening social divides and increased alienation among sub-sections of the Nigerian society by unraveling the democratic fabric on which the future stability and legitimacy depends. Recasting the experience Achebe presented in Arrow of God could forge a new path for formalizing and expanding our existing Democratic and Leadership apparatus and creating new ones throughout the country. It can also help to re-invigorate our cultural activities, including cultural events, sports, learning opportunities and shared celebrations, as well as social activism in response to political disillusionment and dictatorship in the nation’s body polity.THE GLOBAL CELEBRATION:The Indians are the first out of the gate with a conference at The Maharaja Sayajirao University in January, 2014. More conferences on Arrow of God at 50 are planned all over the world; Bangladesh in Asia, the Kenyans and South Africans (Witwatersrand) in Africa, groups in Europe, Great Britain (Southampton), Scotland (Stirling), Belgium, Norway, others in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Israeli, Turkey, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Russia, Romania, in Central America (Mexico), Brazil, in Australia and New Zealand.SCOPE OF THE NIGERIAN EVENT A 7 city International Colloquium started in Ibadan and a number of activities are scheduled, ranging from Symposia to a Children’s Carnival, Writing Competition, Stage Presentations of Arrow Of God as well as a Grand Finale with a Night Of Tributes. Other places include Lagos, Abuja, Sokoto, Awka, Ogidi and Otuoke in Bayelsa State. The sub-themes for these events are based on guidelines provided to presenters:1. Conflict Generation and Resolution in Achebe’s Arrow of God2. Ezeulu in Achebe’s Arrow of God and the Post-Independence African Leadership Styles.3.Literature and the Quest for National Unity: Achebe’s Arrow of God as a Paradigm.4. Managing Changes and Transitions in a Pluralized Society: Achebe’s Arrow of God in Reference.5. Africa at the Crossroads of Development and Good Governance: What Has Literature Got To Do With It? 6. Achebe’s Arrow of God: The Igbo Socio-Political Leadership Worldviews and The Lessons for Africa. 7. Rhetoric of Leadership and Demagoguery in Achebe’s Arrow of God.8.The politics of intervention: Recasting the adversities of Imperialism in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God9.Traditionalism versus modernism in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God10.The festival of the pumpkin leaves as alternative religious epistemologies11.Cultures Consuming Personhood in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God12.Sexualities and subjectivities: Women in Achebe’s Arrow of God13.History, aggression, trauma and memory: Okperi versus Umuaro14.Language, oratory and politics in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God 15.Aristotelian heroism: Ezeulu versus UmuaroLITERARY COMPETITION Copies of Arrow of God have been provided to students followed by a literary competition among selected secondary school students in each of the event location. Venues and DatesThe posed date for the colloquium is April 23 to May 3 2014, in collaboration with Association of Nigerian Authors at the National Level and Local Branches, tertiary Institutions including University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, University of Abuja, Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka as well as the Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State. The NTA is providing support in the form of publicity and venues. WEBSITEwww.arrowof God50.com EMAIL ADDRESSAchebesarrow@yahoo.com Thank you.Dr Wale OkediranChairman, National Organising CommitteeArrow Of God @50 Celebrations.
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