Why Chinua Achebe rejected Nigeria’s Second Highest Honors Twice

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Professor Achebe, globally recognized as one of world’s most outstanding novelists and intellectuals, rejected the Commander of the Federal Republic award twice during his lifetime.

In 2004, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo offered him the prestigious national award, Prof. Achebe shunned it in protest over Nigeria’s governance with special reference to his home state of Anambra, in his reply Achebe wrote, “Nigeria’s condition today under your watch is too dangerous for silence. I must register my disappointment & protest by declining to accept the high honor awarded me”

2 years before his demise, former President Goodluck Jonathan offered Achebe the same honor, Achebe openly rejected it again, this time his response was “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.”

However, the renowned author was a recipient of other national awards which are, the first Nigerian National Trophy for Literature, Nigerian National Order of Merit, Order of the Federal Republic and the first National Creativity Award.