The Anambra State government has consoled with the family of Dr Arthur Agwuncha Nwankwo over the death of their patriarch.
Dr Nwankwo, 77, died yesterday at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku Ozala, Enugu State, after a brief illness.
In a statement in Awka today, the Anambra State Commissioner for Information, Mr C. Don Adinuba, described Dr Nwankwo’s passage as at once painful and glorious.
“Painful because Nwankwo was one of the few people in the world who should never die”, Commissioner Adinuba stated.
“Glorious because he was able to achieve so much for not just his country but also humanity.
“He was a most accomplished publisher, poet, novelist, historian, political scientist, pan Africanist, activist and fighter for justice.
“Worried about the dearth of indigenous publishing firms in Africa in the early 1970s, Dr Nwankwo, together with Dr Sam Ifejika, with whom he co-authored a popular book on the Nigerian Civil War in 1969, established a firm named Nwamife Publishers Ltd in Enugu, which published not only books on the war but also works by such scintillating scholars as Professor Ben Nwabueze, Africa’s most influential scholar of constitutional law.
“With Dr Ifejika’s relocation to Canada, Dr Nwankwo started his own personal firm, Fourth Dimension Publishers, also in Enugu, in the late 1980s.
“Fourth Dimension published almost two thousand highly respected books in various genres, ranging from fiction to literary criticism to history to religion to philosophy to political science to sociology to poetry to physical and biological sciences to autobiography to law and so on.
“It was, indeed, a thing of honour for scholars around Africa to be published by Fourth Dimension. And through Fourth Dimension, many academics attained the professorial rank in the universities.
“The Anambra State government recognizes Dr Nwankwo as a foremost fighter for social justice.
He returned to Nigeria from the United States after studies at Eastern Mennonite College in West Virginia and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, as the Nigerian political crisis was starting in the late 1960s. He could have returned to America or travelled elsewhere, but he chose to stay with his people with all the sufferings and deprivations and deaths of that era.
“He was at loggerheads with different governments which saw him incarcerated more than once. He was a natural member of the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) which saw him address critical audiences around the world on the Nigerian condition under the military dictatorship. He was to pay a price for all this.
“Dr Nwankwo was a statesman through and through.
“Governor Willie Obiano thanks the Nwankwo family for keeping in touch with his government in the last few weeks of their leader.
“We condole with the Nwankwo family of Ajalli in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State on the passage of this remarkable writer, publisher, social crusader and pan Africanist. May the Lord receive his soul”.
C. Don Adinuba
Commissioner for Information & Public Enlightenment.