Why Achebe rejected national award

MORE reasons the literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe, rejected the Federal Government’s national award for the second time in seven years emerged yesterday as his aides and associates disclosed that the notice of the award from the government reached Achebe less than three days to the event, which held on Monday.

One of the academic assistants working with Prof. Achebe, the internationally acclaimed author and novelist, told Empowered Newswire that by the time the offer reached Achebe’s address, he was not around and could not be reached by telephone.
The source added that at that time, Achebe could not “be reached till late next week,” and he had no phone access where he was at the time.

Aides said there was no way Achebe would have “jumped” on the plane at that time even if he wanted to accept the honour. Observers wondered why it took the panel charged with the selection of the awardees such a long time before contacting those proposed to be honoured.

Besides, it was also revealed that one of the senior aides of Prof. Achebe had earlier made overtures to the President Goodluck Jonathan presidency seeking to invite the president to the yearly Achebe colloquium on Africa at Brown University, an event which had grown in stature in the United States academic and policy communities, as it has also drawn top Nigerian political elite and public officials as participants and speakers.

A source said there were suggestions from the Achebe team to ask Jonathan to grace this year’s edition of the event, which comes up every December, and possibly deliver one of the keynote addresses. It is believed that the invitation is a proof that Achebe may not be irredeemably opposed to the Jonathan administration or to the person of the president, despite his conviction not to receive an award from the government.

However by last Saturday afternoon when the presidency intervened and managed to formally contact Achebe in the U.S. with the help of the Nigerian Ambassador, Prof. Ade Adefuye, Achebe’s aides and associates had decided with his approval to reject the award, not just because it was a late offer but due to the view of the literacy icon that nothing had changed in Nigeria between now and seven years ago when he spurned the same award during the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo presidency.

In the statement through, which Achebe rejected the award, he said: “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.”

In his own reaction, after speaking with Achebe, Adefuye said: “Prof. Achebe and I discussed the issue of the award. The literary giant is a highly respected member of our community. He is entitled to his opinion and the Jonathan administration recognises that.”

Adefuye who said he spoke to Achebe at the weekend added that “the Jonathan administration is however poised to continue removing whatever defects that do exist in Nigerian politics, economy and society.”

The ambassador concluded by saying “the process of building a Nigeria of which Prof. Achebe will be proud has begun and that process is irreversible.”

source: ngrguardiannews.com


  1. thats a very big lesson to FG. I will say that things are even geting worse. Since lecturers, that could not gradute with 1st class, will not allow merit student to gradute with but it won’t for them.

  2. the president must know that , not all nigerian are fool to this joke he call administration ,with RECIPY FOR ANARCHY called policy . Sorry presido achebe can not be bought .

  3. achibe may hv his reason. Achibe has being away 4rm this country selling his wisdom to the white while his country is allow to waste. A man whose house is on fire dose not run after rats. Who do he think wil fix this problems. America is the it is today because all the leaned ones joind hand togather but in nigeria our wise men leave to other country and develop it why condeming there own country. Tooo bad.

  4. One sorrowful thing about this incidence is that, those directly involved in this will never learn anything positive about it. The only country that shuld be qualify to award up to three hundred citizens shuld be a country without a single economic, political, religious and social problems. This incidence shows that men of integrity always maintain their parity. Those who merited the award, rejected the award because of the pitiful condition of the country. But those criminals who receives the awards, went home rejoicing because they know it’s not meant for them. Mr. President shuld resign out of the office because he is more confused than myself. He behaves like a motor park tout. Everything is not about polictics.

  5. Achebe is a role model. Presido is very much political bayers, he is trying to buy Achebe against a write up he might use to reveal his camker warms. Sorry JEG, it dosen’t work like that.

  6. It is mind blowing that we have an ICON that maintain his degree. All the awardee are only taking their chances to identify themselves with corruption, trading their birthday right with a piece of meal. Time as come that our political leaders will be paid with their own coin. Nigerians wake and defend the course of the founding fathers. The Federal government should get ready, there will be no peace for the wicked..

  7. I would say based on my own perspective that Prof. Achebe is a man of intergrity and not a man of fame alone,he did what takes to be a challenge to every Nigerians to do and also to make others know that it doesnt teke one to be truly famous by selling his prestige or for her country to recommend his/her good deeds.For our President i love to put myself in his position,you might be a good leader but are your cabinets good.Are they the kind that talks good infront of you and speak evil at your back that is exactly what i think is happening and he is a kind of trying to keep to his words or even to be in the history of great achievers which every good person would love to be and because of this and someother hidden purposes(Good and Bad ) would i say he blindly offerred to some of those people who are trying to remove fuel subsidy as to tarnish his image because it is one of the thing the Nigerians is proud of him being a president.So,if i am to say it would be the greatest mistake he would mekr if he happens to pass the bill because him and the senators might be surprise to find themselves a victim like Gaddaffi.

  8. stop all these trash!!!!!! Nobody can straighten Nigeria but Nigerians. Nigeria Sucks,it smells, no doubt, but true Nigerians will remain in the mess fighting tirelessly until the light breaks forth.i wont say he did well or not in spurning the offer but let him come back and join in the fight for the new Nigeria instead of staying away in another man’s land and waiting for angels to do the work in his own.that what loyal elder statesmen do.

  9. this is a good one i respect achinua so much. i think this will ginger Goodluck n his running mates up to do better things and begin to think of fufilling their promise a big thank you to pa achinua achebe.


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