Again, Chinua Achebe Rejects Nigerian Award

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Just as he did some years ago, Professor Chinua Achebe, Nigerian literary giant has 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.

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”.


68 comments

  1. Mike

    What more could be said. I have followed comments on piratically every issue in Nigeria. This is the only one i never read any single negative or tribalistic comment in. we are Nigerians and we not corrupt. those in power are.

  2. TA

    I respect Prof’ Achebe’s decision. It’s a personal decision. I personally hold the view that rejecting/accepting an award doesn’t change our current situation. I may choose to accept/reject depending on my perception (religious believe/economic situation etc). Most unemployed graduates would jump at any government overtures that’ll put in money in their pockets even if they are aware the government is corrupt. This is not saying prof’ rejected the award because he is comfortable though. I am always next to tears anytime I read anything on our corrupt leaders and bad governance. People are always quick to point out all these problems whilst failing to see the causative factors and likely solutions. I am not sure prof’ Achebe and even the Obamas and Clintons of this world would struggle to make Nigeria become great if our fundamental issues are not addressed. We could all see the problems inhibiting growth and development in Nigeria, yet we are unable to wriggle out it. No matter the type of leadership we have, we might continue to struggle and cry out till eternity. Whatever we see today are purely the rippling effect(s) of these fundamental problems culminating from moving away from our natural self or the way. We should ask even prof why we all moved away from the way God created us. Perhaps Prof’s Things Fall Apart could have ended with Okonkwo coming out victorious against the white imperialists that acted as “developers”. Our problem is not IBB, OBJ or Goodluck. They are just products of distortion from. President Nyeyere once remarked that you can never develop a set of people because develop could only come from (people) within. My folks enough of all our cries for a leader that would take us to the promise land. It’s about us, sitting down to thinker about way forward and not a set of “developers” teaching us how to develop ourselves. Whichever way, I still doff my hat for prof.

  3. JADESOLA P.O.B.

    BABA CHINUA ACHEBE, YOU RE THE BEST AMONG THEM ALL. HONESTLY NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT DO NOT HAVE HEAD AT ALL… UPON ALL THE KILLINGS IN THE NORTH AND THE SUFFERING JOBLESS YOUTH; IS AWARD THE NEXT THING FOR US IN THIS COUNTRY, THE MONEY NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT USED IN PACKAGING THOSE AWARD WOULD HAVE GONE A LONG WAY IN THE LIFE OF THE MASSES. WHAT A USELESS SET OF PEOPLE RULING US IN THIS COUNTRY. OGA JONATHAN YOUR END WILL SOON COME, BET IT WITH ME

  4. AMAKA AFOCHA

    GUSHH!!! I LOVE DIS GUY!
    DADDY CHINUA ACHEBE,,,,U R DA BEST!!! NO MIND DEM!!!

    NA AWARD WE NEED FOR DIS COUNTRY>????, WEN WE HAVE ALOT TO DO IN THE COUNTRY- SEE SECURITY IS POOOR, FIGHT FIGHT EVERYWIA! NO LITE , NO WATER, BAD ECONOMY, POOR STANDARD OF LIVING!! NOFFING! HE CANT EVEN LOOK FOR ONE N DO!

  5. Joshua Chinedu

    Daddy Chinua, u ve shown patriotism by rejecting d award . Dis ve shown dat u re a man of integrity, u re still d center dat can hold d NIGERIA dat ve fallen apart.

  6. Joshua Chinedu

    Daddy Chinua, u ve don well by rejecting d award. Dis ve shown dat u re a man of integrity, u re still d center dat can hold d NIGERIA dat ve fallen apart.

  7. Otti Grant Onyeukwu

    Earlier this year I read a book by my dear Prof and role model… The trouble with Nigeria… He wrote that book in the 1970s in his characteristic bluntness, with an objective and unbiased emphasis on the problems and issues stifling our national growth and development. To my utter amazement, the same problems and issues troubling our dear country then is very much the same even today, underlined of course by corruption… Which Prof sure pointed out. It’s really appalling that a country like ours do not have leaders bold enough to tackle the underlying issues in this country… We only have ones with loud mouths full of promises… And parochial minds, chasing superficial and sometimes irrelevant issues with total neglect to the woes and earnings of the populace… Afterall, nobody around them is crying like the rest of us… Prof has once again, characteristically and unceremoniously told the ’emperor’ that ‘he has no clothes on’…. I just hope he understands simple expressions. GOD FORGIVE NIGERIA!

  8. Otti Grant Onyeukwu

    Earlier this year I read a book by my dear Prof and role model… The trouble with Nigeria… He wrote that book in the 1970s n his characteristic bluntness, with an objective and unbiased emphasis on the problems and issues stifling our national growth and development. To my utter amazement, the same problems and issues troubling our dear country then is very much the same even today, underlined of course by corruption… Which Prof sure pointed out. It’s really appalling that a country like ours do not have leaders bold enough to tackle the underlying issues in this country… We only have ones with loud mouths full of promises… And parochial minds, chasing superficial and sometimes irrelevant issues with total neglect to the woes and earnings of the populace… Afterall, nobody around them is crying like the rest of us… Prof has once again, characteristically and unceremoniously told the ’emperor’ that ‘he has no clothes on’…. I just hope he understands simple expressions. GOD FORGIVE NIGERIA!

  9. oye

    Truth is biter, Achebe is no happy the way corruption is going on in NIGERIA, please you leaders stand up to see to this deadly deceace, many Nigerians are abroad are worried about the corruption that has come to stay in Nigeria for good, but with prayers all the people concerned will turn to a new leaf, so be it.

  10. 'tosin

    Moral authority is the core of leadership. Prof has demonstrated that few visible Nigerians as he and many invisible Nigerians as I have that quality. And while we are still here Nigeria will still be the pride of the world. God Bless Nigeria!

  11. Ekeagwu Ugochukwu

    This is the attitude of a reasonable man who has deep emotional concern for the appalling state of this country. Baba Achebe, u have have shown great character in rejecting the first award, now this is the second. If the government is reasonable, they will leave this selfish politicking and do the needful in moving this country and its people forward.

  12. Ali Ifeoma

    A man of integrity. What a courageous decision. An example for all. Bravo!

  13. mike ohms

    It is a pity that our Nation is constantly witnessing degradation in areas where we ought to be growing.. I keep pondering on why Nigeria is not experiencing growth economically and educationally not leaving out the areas of sport but instead we continue growing in financial crimes and crimes against humanity… What the prof did was to point this blind men in the right direction but i will not be surprised if they decide to continue in their wayward journey there by draging the nation into a greater mess… Thumbs up to prof achebe for refraining from being dressed in their medals of hypocrisy and I wish other Nigerians could just trail in his footsteps instead of recieving what ‘they’ do not deserve when those that deserves it rejects it….

  14. emeka

    Good riddance for a continuously decaying entrapment called Nigeria.

  15. Jude Rickman

    Courageous and enlightening, like all of Mr. Acehebe’s writing.

  16. Nwachukwu chibueze

    I like what prof chinua achebe did to our foolish president…if i were him i would have done worst than rejecting the offer of award

  17. Madwhelmina

    A man of integrity.

  18. Eagle Solomon

    this is integrity to the highest level, we are just talking of rejecting millions of dollers from 50cent and now national honour, i wish this man is the president of this country. it pains me when i see this man getting old. i pray for God to give you many more years to save this country from bondage. may the youth of this country follow ur foot step in Jesus name, AMEN. Prof. God will honour you.

  19. Franklin Ugwu

    I stand by your decisions Prof. I will do exactly the same if I was in your shoes. Nigeria is not worth accepting as it is. I have vowed to expose the wrongs in Nigeria via my online forum and I will keep doing so until something is done to put Nigeria in the right course. I weep everyday I think of what a few greedy people are doing to my dear motherland. We love you Professor Achebe and we respect your decision.

  20. Joshua

    I am filled with excitement .I believe the person of your calibre and that of, Hon Gbajabiamila will still encourage we nigeria youths,that we still have men who are still in high spirit to mentain equity and good reputation.
    Good name is precious than gold.

  21. Jonas

    You are my hero,turning down this award means to me that you are still the product of Govt. coll. Umuahia.really they have putting a knife to the things that hold us together in that country.THINGS HAVE FALLEN APART.Jonas ojimma.London

  22. ivan jacobs

    if we had 1000 Africans with a similar mind, in a few years it would have been a better place,

  23. Tochukwu

    The honours being doled out like they rightly said is just a political sham Prof Chinua Achebe has once again proved himself and also to the entire international community,that we still have men of integrity .its absurd the Presidency is busy confering pple with awards rather than deal with mess in the country .let other great men shelve aside these flukes meant to derail them.Thank you Sir Achebe

  24. Alex Ike Okeke

    Thank you very much Prof. You have shown the youths that there is still what is called integrity in our dictonary. Like you rightly said, you are rejecting the award because the condition that made you to reject it seven years ago still exist in the country today. You are really an honorable man and a role model to a lot of us.

  25. josse

    i am in mombasa kenya and i have no clue of the malady in Achebe’s homeland state. This rejection has hit home. It has in one felling swoop told me that stuff is not all we think it is in the rest of mama africa. I will read tommorrow the issues raised. Isnt he just courage?

  26. Concernd

    I like Pa Achebe’s decision. But he shldnt jst sit there n refuse ‎​D̶̲̥̅̊ Honours!
    If he’s seen ‎​D̶̲̥̅̊ Problem-he shld also Provide possible solutions that may help! What has he actually done abt Anambra state?
    Come back home Sir n be Patriotic for Real…
    And king Ebele-na by force make person collect Honours? FOCUS!!!
    Mshewwwww….

  27. mannywells

    that is the spirit,his a man of integrity.

  28. temilorun

    i respect prof. Chinua achebe’s decision to reject the award_which in actual fact is an insult,our country is in a pitiful state nd the govt is still thinking of awards?this is sad really sad.i hope wole soyinka takes the same stand

  29. NNAMDI OKPARA

    Like always, you have made us proud again by rejecting the dishonourable awards of those irresponsible, shameless rulers. May God continue to guard, support and bless you with long life. We love you and we’ll continue to pray for you. Those evil people can never bring you down, nor tarnish your hard earned reputation. Keep turning their useless awards down until they make Nigeria better; until they cease to improverish Nigerians and stop inflicting sufferings upon our fellow citizens. May God bless you and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

  30. Rahmat

    Kudos to him bcos he is a man of principle

  31. Rahmat

    Kudos to papa achebe

  32. ajayi collins

    I am not surprise that we still have some leaders like Gani fawehinmi who stood out apart despite the level of nepotism and corruption in this country. Sir, you deserve my respect…You are indeed a true leader

  33. James

    Mr Yaradua, you have totally spoken my mind. Papa Acheba has done well by rejecting the honour. It saddens me that the same people that are so honoured eventually are painted black when they fall out with govt. And why do we need to honour so many people at once? Many of then, you can’t even point at their contribution to the development of their community or the nation at large. Hon Gbajabiamila has done well too.

  34. azeez fatai

    this is nice, Good example.
    i pray our leaders understand this, that today is theirs tomorrow is other.
    God help us NIGERIA

  35. young achebe

    The reason evil thrives is not because evil men are strong but because the good men keep silent. Thank you daddy prof. Achebe. You are a good man.

  36. g-woman

    this is very serious.what he is referring to needs to be addressed. it is for the good of our country.we need to borrow a leaf from Ghana.

  37. Yaradua

    They want to tarnish the image of every person. They have destroyed University’s academics by implicating them into elections malpractices. They’ve also destroyed Judiciary.Nigerians have lost confidence totaly on both the Judiciary and the academics. That is their target to justify the notion that there is no good person in Nigeria as every Nigerian considers them. What Prof. Chenue did is the only way to make them sad and frustrated in their evil project. May God grant him more years and health to disgrace evil club.

  38. Cyonujemen

    I respect honourable pple like Achebe. With pple like u still around, i am sure of HOPE 4 Naija.

  39. Isa hambali

    U still proven to nigerians to shun another useless national award, bravo achebe

  40. Ogechi

    Good name is better than a thousand awards put together. You have earned your good name Prof. they can give their award to those who crave for it.

  41. Ignatius T.Oragwuncha

    I thank God for you Prof.Our leaders rejected the truth because they are not of the truth.Only the truth will set us free.God bless you Chinua Achebe and those that proclaim the truth in many ways.

  42. Nurudeen

    Thnks prof for rejecting the award. Instead for mr president to find solutin to the following problem before jan 1st 2012 ASUU, NASUU AND SUBSIDY. 2012 Will be. ..

  43. Famoriyo Dare

    This, simply, is an expression of a patriotic spirit. A man who is much more concerned about the good of all Nigerians than personal praise and gains. He is a patriot and a man of integrity. NIGERIA WILL IMPROVE SOON.

  44. Akinwale Olawale

    Hmmm.Thanks Baba Chinua.Memories of your book,”things fall apart”! The unfortunate part of it all is that GEJ is never perturbed and most-complascent.I begin to wonder why we were given independence when we still ought to be in the Oyinbo’s creche. Anyway,may God grant you many more healthy years and be there when these “white sepulchre” team of leaders are sacrificed to cleanse our nation.

    1. Dominic

      This rings a bell to me as prophetic

  45. Jimoh saheed

    I thank god we still av a patriotic nigerian out there unlike those foolish ones who will grab the award with all their arms even b/4 being given 2 dem

  46. Akaraogun

    Even if they are sat down and lectured on the meaning of the rejection of the award, the people concerned will still not understand! Thank you, Prof. At least, you’ve demonstrated to some of us that our sanity is still intact in this zoo! Let the award be added to Dangote’s. Nigeria masses kwenu!

  47. olayinka momoh

    Impressive!

  48. Omololu77

    We still av patroits like Baba Achebe who can reason reasonably.May God Almighty spare ur life 4 us-amen.

  49. paschal

    Thisis a demonstation of integrity, honor.
    Rejecting such offer would have make Nig government think over the issue.
    I stand up for Achebe. You recive the peoples award

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