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Prof. Chinua Achebe Rejects Nigerian Award, Jonathan Reacts

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Prof. Chinua Achebe Rejects Nigerian Award, Jonathan Reacts

Nov 14, 2011 – Prof. Chinua Achebe Rejects Nigerian Award, Jonathan Reacts

Professor Chinua Achebe, Nigerian literary giant has once again rejected the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic, CFR.

The award would have been conferred on him alongside about 360 other awardees in different categories at a ceremony scheduled for next Monday, 14 November.

The writer is the second nominee that is turning down the National Honours award. Femi Gbajabiamila, the Minority leader of the House of Representatives, had earlier written President Goodluck Jonathan to indicate his rejection of the award of Order of the Federation (OFR) to be conferred on him. The lawmaker had queried the criteria used in nominating recipeints for the 2011 National Honours. Gbajabiamila argued in the letter to the President that national awards should be only be conferred on those who have made concrete contributions to the development of the country, unlike now, when it is being indiscriminately doled out as presidential favours.

Reasons For Chinua Achebe’s Rejection of Award

However, In a short statement he issued today to indicate that he will not be available to be conferred with the award next Monday,  Achebe said he is rejecting the award because the condition that made him do so seven years ago still exist in the country today.

“The reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made have not been addressed let alone solved. It is inappropriate to offer it again to me. I must therefore regretfully decline the offer again,” Achebe said in the letter which he reportedly sent to Nigeria Ambassador to the United States.

Achebe had in 2004 rejected offer of national award from the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in protest of the political situation in Nigeria and his native Anambra State then.

The US based writer had in the rejection letter he wrote to the then President noted that: “I write this letter with a very heavy heart. For some time now I have watched events in Nigeria with alarm and dismay. I have watched particularly the chaos in my own state of Anambra where a small clique of renegades, openly boasting its connections in high places, seems determined to turn my homeland into a bankrupt and lawless fiefdom.  I am appalled by the brazenness of this clique and the silence, if not connivance, of the Presidency.

Forty three years ago, at the first anniversary of Nigeria’s independence I was given the first Nigerian National Trophy for Literature. In 1979, I received two further honours – the Nigerian National Order of Merit and the Order of the Federal Republic – and in 1999 the first National Creativity Award.

I accepted all these honours fully aware that Nigeria was not perfect; but I had a strong belief that we would outgrow our shortcomings under leaders committed to uniting our diverse peoples.  Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is, however, too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment and protest by declining to accept the high honour awarded me in the 2004 Honours List”.

Chinua Achebe Ignorant of Nigerian Situation, says President Jonathan

In a statement issued on his behalf by Reuben Abati, his spokesperson, the President Jonathan also said he surprised by “Achebe’s claim that the issues which caused him to reject the same award seven years ago, still remain unresolved” arguing that the literary giant may not be aware of true contemporary political situation in Nigeria.

“Coming as it does, against the background of the widely acclaimed electoral reforms undertaken by the Jonathan Administration, the claim by Prof. Achebe clearly flies in the face of the reality of Nigeria’s current political situation.

“As reflected in the immense improvements recorded in the conduct of the last general elections which were applauded within and outside the country as the most credible elections in Nigeria in recent years, the Jonathan Administration has made tremendous efforts to positively change the political architecture complained about by Prof. Achebe and other Nigerians.

“Politically, Nigeria cannot be said to be where it was in 2004 as the Jonathan Administration has embarked on extensive electoral reforms to institute a regime of electoral integrity that all Nigerians can be proud of, believing that governance will be greatly enhanced in the country if the will of the people prevails at elections.

“While President Jonathan acknowledges that there are still challenges in the path of Nigeria’s attainment of its full potentials as a nation, he believes that his Administration is moving the country in the right direction and therefore deserves the support, encouragement and cooperation of all citizens.

“The President continues to hold Prof. Achebe in very high esteem in spite of his regrettable decision which may have been borne out of misinformation as to the true state of affairs in Nigeria and hopes that he will find time to visit home soon and see the progress being made by the Jonathan Administration for himself.

“Prof. Achebe remains in President Jonathan’s consideration, a national icon, a Nigerian of high attainments, indeed one of the greatest living Africans of our time”, Abati concluded in the statement he signed on behalf of his boss.(Pm news)

Do you think turning down the award is a good move by Chinua Achebe!

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. goes

    November 14, 2011 at 3:48 AM

    Yes is very very good move from Prof. Achebe, so that our government will put their house in order, cos i have not see any change in nigeria, all i am seeing is getting worse everyday. A country were some people are on touchable and above the law of the country saying nothing dey happen….

  2. Friday Ogili

    November 14, 2011 at 4:20 AM

    Same,old stories.When will nigeria ever change? Achebe,did very well. May be it’ll enable our 2 change there nefarious &blind rulership. I man of calibre &timbre like Chinua,will never mortgage his conscience.

  3. O michael

    November 14, 2011 at 5:48 AM

    I take side with prof. Achebe, i ‘d do likewise if i find my self in his position. Let’s stop deceivin each other in Nigeria, every system needs a complete turn around.

  4. Deji

    November 14, 2011 at 5:50 AM

    What a brilliant decision the prof as taken.Nothing is changing and i doubt if there will be any because president jonathan is thought to be in control of the affairs of this country but not at all.Even the criterial for choosen the awardees is faulty and baseless.We want a clear change not award.

    • Micheal

      November 14, 2011 at 6:58 AM

      Yea prof achebe is my man,dis country is degradin also lack of peace nd security inshort we re headin in2 doom

  5. Micheal

    November 14, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    Dis country is neva progresin bt alway degradin. I suport wat d prof says dnt mind our president dat say its a wrng information dat he got

  6. Paulson

    November 14, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    Kudos to Prof. Achebe. What is the criteria for giving this award? Imagine an impeached former deputy speaker of the federal house of representative is a beneficiary where as there is no any positive contributioin he made in the 8 years he represented his constituency in the lower house of the national assembly.

  7. Josephine

    November 14, 2011 at 7:23 AM

    Lovely..God bless u pro. Achebe, i realy love wat u did. i also pray dat very soon a diant in nigeria wil also reject anoda award based on d fact dat Goodluck Jonathan is just dere doin notin concernin dis idiot boko haram people.

  8. nkeiruka nnanna

    November 14, 2011 at 7:48 AM

    yes,what he did was very very good because it will enable them to know their right.Achebe up you.

  9. sahid

    November 14, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    Now Nigerians will know dat dey hav being decieve sayin Goodluck,Goodluck,Goodluck.He does not hav ANYTIN to offer Nigeria.He no get any idea atall.Kudos to Pa Achebe.

  10. Muhammed Hammed

    November 14, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Kudos to Prof. Chinua Achebe for rejecting that award just b’cos of those tangible reasons and that Jonathan should rethink,call himself to order,make a meaningful contribution for the development of this country and jettison all those ceremonial & wasteful thoughts…Thanks

  11. kaycee

    November 14, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    national honours have become avenue for govt to patronose its cronies in this country. most of our awardees practically have nothing to show to deserve being bestowerd this honorarium. the award has lost its esteem, prof Achebe will not lose his intergrity.

  12. Francis

    November 14, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    The prof did the best thing to my opinion because the country has been on circle since 1999 when we said we got democracy all we hear from pages of paper is trillions of Naira and yet no changes in people’s life high profile corruption abandoned projects all over the country no one probed or prosecuted the power that has been number one problem is still the same.What is the bases for the award? our government should be ashamed in sharing money amongst themselves all the time writing their own report card.Prof don’t join them.

  13. Elijah

    November 14, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    I think his actions by rejecting such a powerful honour is a nice one just to isolate himself from our political rascars who call themselves our leaders. Long live prof. Achebe! Long live good citizens of Nigeria!! God save Nigeria!!!

  14. okoko

    November 14, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    yes ooo! he did the right thing. i wholeheartedly uphold his decision.besides, the award has lost its usefulness.

  15. Samuel O

    November 14, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    I am 100% in support of what prof.Achebe did. no matter how they try to coin the issue, what an old man will sit and see, a small boy even if he climbs a sycamore tree will never see.Enough of using gifts and other caricature items to shut the mouth of those that can speak the truth for this country Nigeria. i will not stop saying this,until we have a leader that can speak for him self,Nigeria still have a long ay to go.

  16. odudu attai

    November 14, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    i don’t knw if ‘award na by force?’i say i dn’t nid ur award ‘na quarrel?’.imagine d calibres of the awardees,n wot have they done to deserve it.so mr president if chinua achebe refuse ur award,no beefing pls,afterall,achebe is ur senior n knows beta than u 4rejectin it.oga reuben abati,i knw u r earning ur salary.

  17. anosike uzoma

    November 15, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    Prof Chinua Achebe, is legend ,icon and man of integrity. his a man that said the problem of Nigeria is leadership, but this country so called them self leaders make funny on him. he is the man knows the truth, the problem and the solution but leaders turn the ear up side down. he have come to honour him,who? the legend man, A prof that stand on the truth now problems of Nigeria want to Honour legend man please it is not possible for that, so the same people we saide tomorrow Chinua belong to the problem of Nigeria his is one of them. know he is not one them, I Anosike Uzoma support he for rejecting that honour.

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