By NBF News

• Achebe
President Goodluck Jonathan has expressed regrets over Prof Chinua Achebe's decision to reject, once again, the conferment on him of the national honour of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR).

He has, however, said despite the rejection which might have been borne out of misinformation as to the true state of affairs in Nigeria and hopes that he will find time to visit home, Prof. Achebe will continue to be held in very high esteem.

The President said Achebe 'remains a national icon, a Nigerian of high attainments, indeed, one of the greatest living Africans of our time'.

In a statement signed by Presidential spokesman, Dr Reuben Abati, President Jonathan further expressed surprise over Achebe's claim that the issues which caused him to reject the same award seven years ago, still remain unresolved.

'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.

'As reflected in the immense improvements recorded in the conduct of the last general elections which were applauded within and outside the country as the most credible elections in Nigeria in recent years, the Jonathan administration has made tremendous efforts to positively change the political architecture complained about by Prof. Achebe and other Nigerians.

'Politically, 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 citizens.

'The President continues to hold Prof. Achebe in very high esteem in spite of his regrettable decision which may have been borne out of misinformation as to the true state of affairs in Nigeria and hopes that he will find time to visit home soon and see the progress being made by the Jonathan Administration for himself.'