List of Prominent Nigerians Who Rejected National Honours Awards and Why They Did

List of Prominent Nigerians Who Rejected National Honours Awards and Why They Did

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, October 10, conferred national honours on over 400 Nigerians and friends of Nigeria (foreigners).

Among the recipients are the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Ishaq Oloyede; the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, among others.

The tradition of conferring national honours on distinguished citizens started in 1964 during the era of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa with the enactment of National Honour Act 5 of 1964.

Since then, thousands of distinguished Nigerians have received the honours.

However, three Nigerians stood out for rejecting the national honours.

They are:

  • Professor Chinua Achebe
  • Alhaji Gidado Idris
  • Chief Gani Fawehinmi

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Why did Professor Chinua Achebe reject CFR award in 2004 and 2011?

Chinua Achebe/National Honours Awards/CFR
Portrait of Chinua Achebe (1930 - 2013), Nigerian writer, UK, 20th November 2009. Photo credit: Eamonn McCabe/Popperfoto
Source: UGC

Late Professor Chinua Achebe, the world-acclaimed Nigerian literary giant and author of Things Fall Apart, rejected the national honours award in 2004 and 2011.

Achebe said he rejected the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) award because he was dissatisfied with the handling of the country's affairs by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

In 2011, Achebe rejected the same award from the Goodluck Jonathan administration, saying that the reasons for rejecting the offer when it was first made in 2004 had not been addressed.

Why did Alhaji Gidado Idris reject CFR award in 2008?

In 2008, former Secretary to the Government and Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Gidado Idris, rejected the Commander of the order of the Federal Republic (CFR) conferred on him by the Umaru Musa Yar'Adua-led federal government.

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Idris explained that he had been awarded GCON in 1998 by General Abdusalam Abubakar.

According to him, accepting a CFR award by then-President Yar’ Adua would be like passing a vote of no confidence on the Abubakar-led government in which he served as the SGF.

Why did Chief Gani Fawehinmi reject OFR award in 2008?

Gani Fawehinmi/National Honours Awards/CFR
The statue of late lawyer and rights activist Gani Fawehinmi wears a face mask at the Liberty Park at Ojota in Lagos, on July 27, 2020. Photo credit: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP
Source: UGC

Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Nigeria's late human rights activist and lawyer, also rejected the Officer of the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) conferred on him in 2008 by the Yar’Adua administration.

Fawehinmi rejected the award, citing many years of misrule since independence.

National honours: President Buhari honours K1 with MON

In another report, one of Nigeria's finest Fuji musicians, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, also known as K1, is one of the latest celebrities to receive national honour from the federal government.

K1 was among the over 400 Nigerians who received national honours from President Buhari on Tuesday, October 11.

He was conferred with the rank of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).


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