Obiano, Soludo rejoice as Achebe’s son wins international prize


Both outgoing Anambra State governor Willie Obiano and incoming governor Chukwuma Charles Soludo have felicitated with the second son of Chinua Achebe, Africa’s greatest novelist, raconteur and essayist, over his choice as winner  of the 2022 prestigeous John and Samuel Bard Award in the United States for excellence in medicine and science.

According to the state Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, C. Don Adinuba, Obiano and Soludo expressed delight at the honour to Dr Chidi Achebe, the second son of the preeminent writer, on hearing the news late yesterday.

” This is a parting gift to me and the Anambra people as I am about to depart office after eight years of giving my best to a great state”, Adinuba quoted Chief Obiano as saying.

“Professor Chinua Achebe remains a very great man even in the grave, and it is reassuring that his children like Chidi, a medical doctor who trained in some of the best institutions in the world, is steeped in the tradition of global excellence”.

Professor Soludo described Dr Achebe, chief executive of African Integrated Development Enterprise (AIDE), as a worthy ambassador of Anambra State whose passion for Africa’s rapid development “is reminiscent of his father’s lifelong commitment to Africa’s emancipation”.

Soludo, who will assume office on Thursday, observed that despite living abroad for decades “the younger Achebe is acutely conscious of his roots and belongs to an ever increasing number of Anambra indigenes keenly interested in contributing actively to a new dawn in our beloved state”.

Calling Dr Achebe a worthy ambassador of the country, the governor-elect  said “he is a pan Africanist of the finest hue”.

AID, which Dr Achebe heads, is building 18 health facilities across Africa, starting with Nigeria and Kenya.

The 2022 Bard College Awards will hold on Friday, May 27, as part of the Commencement and Reunion Weekend.

Recalled Leon Botstein, president of Bard College in New York: “The John and Samuel Bard Award is named for the two 18th-century physicians, father and son, whose descendant, John Bard, founded the college.

“The award honors scientists whose achievements demonstrate the breadth of concern and depth of commitment that characterized these pioneer physicians. Previous recipients have included Nobel laureates Linus Pauling and Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, as well as Mathilde Krim and Lewis Thomas.

“The medal was presented for the first time to an alumnus in 1990, and since then the tradition of honoring those close to the college has continued, with such recipients as László Z. Bitó ’60, Ann Ho ’62, George Rose ’63, Kathryn Stein ’66, Ilyas Washington ’96, and Drs. Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden, whose generosity made possible Bard’s state-of-the-art facility for the teaching of science and computation.”

Highlighting the Achebe father-son linkage in Bard College, Botstein further stresses that “it is particularly appropriate for the college to honour an alumnus of your distinction on the eve of commencement, which focuses on the accomplishments of the members of the graduating class and their prospects for the future. And even more special is to think of your own father/son connection to Bard.

” I know he would be proud of your many achievements and I imagine he would feel you are also honoring him and his work by allowing us to celebrate you with this award.”

Professor Achebe held a distinguished professorial chair for several years at Bard College.

As AIDE chairman, the younger  Achebe heads an organization that works to bring together international companies and expertise to create sustainable integrated delivery of medical care on the African continent.

He has also served as president and CEO of Harvard Street Neighbourhood Health Center, medical director of Whittier Street Health Center, and assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine— all in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

The self-effacing hands-on workaholic earned his medical degree at the esteemed Dartmouth Medical School.

He then took a master’s degree in business administration from Yale University School of Management, and another master’s in public health from Harvard School of Public Health.

While undertaking his professional endeavors, Achebe advocates health-care equality.

For his efforts in bridging health care disparities, he was awarded the 2012 Dartmouth College Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award for Ongoing Commitment.