Thursday, November 24, 2011

National Honours Controversy: Chinua Achebe's Reaction...

On November 16, 2011, Professor Chinua Achebe, author of the classic, Things Fall Apart, and Africa's best known writer turned 81.

Chinua Achebe

While his family, readers and admirers across the globe rejoiced with him on that day and thanked God for his life, Dr. Chidi Achebe,  the President/CEO of Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, Dorchester, MA, and son of the literary icon, was asked what Professor Achebe's reaction was to the hullabaloo from the Nigerian Presidency surrounding his rejection of the Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) – Nigeria's Third Highest National Honour—offered to him by the Goodluck Jonathan's Administration.

His Reply:
"Today is Prof's 81st birthday, the family and well wishers around the globe are giving thanksgiving to GOD almighty!

The last I saw, Professor Achebe was digging into a delicious piece of cake.

What reaction? I will honestly tell you that Professor Achebe does not know who Reuben Abati is; has not read his reaction nor does he care to do so.

Professor Achebe loves his native country Nigeria; he did what he has done all his life -  told the truth as he sees it. Many will accept it, some will not, and that is the way it is."

President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President
 Namadi Sambo

Professor Achebe whose works have been translated into many major languages of the world is the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies, Brown University, Providence, Rohde Island, USA. 


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Chairman of Nigeria's Anti-Graft Body (EFCC), Farida Waziri, Sacked

... Ibrahim Lamorde Appointed Acting Chairman

The Chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, has been relieved of her appointment.

Mrs. Farida Waziri, Former EFCC Chair

A statement issued this morning and signed by Dr. Reuben Abati, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to President Goodluck Jonathan, states that the President has approved the appointment of Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde as the Acting Chairman/Chief Executive of the anti graft body. 

Ibrahim Lamorde, The New Chairman

The statement gave no reasons for the removal of Mrs. Waziri who was appointed EFCC Chairman by Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 18, 2008 and confirmed by the Senate on May 27, 2008.

Mr. Lamorde whose appointment takes immediate effect is an officer of the Nigeria Police, and was, until this appointment the Director of Operations of the EFCC. He was also Ag. Chairman of the EFCC before Mrs. Waziri assumed duty at the Commission.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Again, Chinua Achebe Rejects Nigerian National Honour

...President Jonathan Regrets Writer's Decision...

Foremost Nigerian writer and author of the classic, Things Fall Apart, Professor Chinua Achebe, has turned down the National Honour awarded him by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Achebe who was nominated for Nigeria's third highest Honour -- The Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) would have been one of the 364 Nigerians to be conferred with various Honours on Monday, November 14, 2011. 

Chinua Achebe

In statement, Achebe who had rejected the same award given to him by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2004, declared: 

"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 who will be 81 on November 16 is David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States. 
In a swift reaction on Sunday, November 13, President Jonathan regretted Achebe's decision to excuse himself from the Honour.  
"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,"  a statement from the Presidency said.

"Politically," the statement continued,  "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 citizen."

President Goodluck Jonathan and VP Namadi Sambo During
The Inauguration Party In Abuja

 Concluding, the Presidency stated that despite his rejection of the award, "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."
While rejecting the National Honour in 2004, Achebe in a letter to President Obasanjo had stated:
“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 honors – 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 honors 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 honor awarded me in the 2004 Honors List”.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo


A public affairs analyst observed in Lagos today that Nigerian National Honours appear to have been grievously debased and do not seem to represent any more those sterling ideals like distinction in character, industry  and exceptional accomplishment which they were original meant to celebrate, and so a man of impeccable honour like Achebe is perfectly justified to seek to disassociate himself from them.
He wondered why Nigeria should be giving out National Honours at a time corruption is so rife in the country, insecurity of lives of property so pronounced, and quality of life badly devalued.

"Such a preoccupation does not portray us as serious people before the outside world," he declared.


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