Beyond that, Islamist group Boko Haram is blamed for killing more than 1 400 people since 2010 in an insurgency which it says is aimed at restoring an Islamic state in the north and stripping power from the secular government.During the Biafra war, "what we are finding is a new nation going through the pangs of nationhood," said the writer and literature professor A E Eruvbetine."The truth is, in Nigeria here we are still going through the trauma of trying to forge a nation."Achebe strongly backed his native Biafra in the civil war and even toured to speak on its behalf. Echoes of the conflict emerge in his writing, including his collection Christmas in Biafra and Other Poems.The octogenarian remains a towering figure in Nigerian and African literature, though he has been based in the United States in recent years where he has been a professor at Brown University in Rhode Island.
He travels infrequently due to a 1990 car accident that left him in a wheelchair.Landmark worksAchebe's novel Things Fall Apart, about the collision between British colonial rule and Igbo society, remains a landmark work 54 years after its release."Just as we read Shakespeare, it's not possible for any student in this department to graduate without reading the works of Chinua Achebe," said the head of the English department at the University of Lagos, Adeyemi Daramola.Earlier in his career, Achebe fiercely criticised Nigerian leaders, notably in his widely read 1983 essay "The Trouble With Nigeria", whose first sentence is still often cited here."The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership," it reads.Achebe has limited such commentary in recent years, unlike his great Nigerian literary rival Wole Soyinka, the first African to win the Nobel prize for literature, who has stayed on the political front line throughout his career.However, during January protests over a fuel price hike, Achebe issued "A Statement of Solidarity with the Nigerian People" that gained attention back home.His legacy is secure in Nigeria but his absence has been felt, said Daramola. "For Achebe to have been away for so long, we have indeed missed him."
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