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Chinua Achebe has proven his worth among English-speaking African novelists by representing the African social and political environment in a thoroughly realistic way. His novels depict life within a particular historical background, and convey a sense of growing disgust and unrest within Nigerian society, a society that has started to emerge from the ‘colonial complex’ caused by years of denigration and self-abasement. A Man of the People

(1967) is Achebe’s fourth novel. It describes Nigeria in its post-independence phase, during which time the country became a ‘cesspool of corruption and misrule’ in the context of colonial-style social and economic development, a situation that resulted in conflict between the emergent elitist middle class and the general populace. Achebe’s reputation as a novelist rests on his impartial understanding of, and ability to represent the Nigerian environment.

His realistic characterization and diagnosis of his country’s malaise has the power to inspire a revolution informed by African ideologies.


His works have primarily focused on “African politics, the depiction of Africa and Africans in the West, and the intricacies of pre-colonial African culture and civilization, as well as the effects of colonization of African societies” (Achebe, 1988b). His well-known literary critique An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’sHeart of Darkness” (Achebe, 1988a) is considered by many to be the most assertive, debated, and seminal treatise of its type. Achebe rejected Joseph Conrad as “a thorough going racist” who projected Africa as “a metaphysical battlefield devoid of all recognizable humanity, into which the wandering European enters at his peril” (Ibid: 38). This said, the present paper investigates themes of corruption that appear in Achebe’s novel A Man of the People, and describes various political and social corruptible act that have taken place in Nigeria since its publication in 1967.

Born on March 10, 1952 in Niger State, Abubakar Gimba attended Government College, Keffi (1965-1969), School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, (1970-1971), Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, for his B.Sc. Economics (1971-1974) and University of Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A. (1976-1977), where he obtained a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Economics. He has been a civil servant for most of his life, rising to become a Permanent Secretary in the Economics Planning Department of the Niger State Ministry of Economic Development between 1981 - 1983. Between 1988 and 1993, he


was Executive Director of Union Bank of Nigeria plc and United Bank for Africa plc. In 1997, he assumed leadership of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) becoming its National President. Gimba’s formative experiences and his maturation in the 1980s and 90s expose him to the complex realities of state formation, national integration, politics and other issues related to modernization in Nigeria. This experience highly influence the subject-matter of his novels.

As a prolific and proficient writer, Gimba had within the span of a decade taken the Nigerian Literary scene by surprise with the following titles: Trail of Sacrifice (1985), Witnesses To Tears (1986), Innocent Victims (1988), Sunset for a Mandarin (1991), Sacred Apples (1997), Footprints (1998), a collection of essays Once Upon A Reed (1999), a collection of poetry, Inner Rumblings (2000). He is a writer who is interested in the world and the people around him, particularly in the intrigues and intricacies of the civil service and the bureaucracy. His works revolve around morality, encoding sympathy for the innocent characters who are usually persecuted and unfairly treated by the system. Gimba’s works are intensely concerned with decency, proper use and control of power and the creation of an egalitarian society. The emergence of Abubakar Gimba in the mid-eighties was to further expand the scope of the novel in English in Northern Nigeria beyond the point of Tahir’s The Last Imam. Beyond the concern with the people’s contact


with Islam and their ensuing attempts at adjustments, Gimba explores the many vagaries of human experience. The significance of Gimba’s works lies in the way that he locates his motifs strictly within the bureaucratic structures of post-colonial Nigeria from where he takes a panoramic view of the entire society.


The problems facing African societies are multi-dimensional and in phases. Slavery is the worst and darkest experience in the history of African people. Colonialism immediately followed and now neo-colonialism through African dependent on the Western World for its economic and political stability. To sustain and promote their interests at the expense of Africa, the international hegemonic forces have ensured that their African collaborators remain in power to do their biddings. These agents consider and pursue policies that satisfy their interest and those of their imperialist masters even at the brink of economic collapse occasioned by the “fictitious debts” ostensibly owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other Western banks and financial institutions, like the London and Paris clubs.

Day in and day out, the African continent is racked by afflictions, disasters, macro-economic crises and dysfunctions, debt over-hang, corruption, high level


illiteracy, squalor, disease, hunger and other negative and destabilizing conditions thrown up by imperialism in cahoots with greedy and unpatriotic ruling class.

According to Ali Mazrui (2000), these problems are brought about as a result of Africa being at the bottom of the global heap, with the Western world at the top. Africa has the largest percentage of poor people, the largest number of low- income countries, the least developed economies, the lowest life expectancy, the most fragile political systems. Moreso, it is most vulnerable continent with high incident of HIV/AIDS (whatever relationship there might be between HIV and the collapse of immune systems in Africa).

Moussa Issifou (2012), opined that after the independences, faced with a growing corruption and political violence in his native Nigeria, Chinua Achebe published A Man of the People to expose the mischievous behaviour of the political elite, thereby warning them about the consequences of such behaviour.

Chinua Achebe has been particularly successful in creating a realistic representation of an African environment. He is one of the major writers from the African subcontinent who have given a new direction to English-language African literature by representing, realistically, an African environment and giving expression to a sense of increasing disgust and unrest within its population. Carroll wrote that Achebe appears to


be continually haunted by nostalgia for the “rediscovery of Africa’s past” (Caroll, 1975: 11). His novels appear to be an attempt to come to terms with a struggle, or, “as it were, to sensitively register his encounter with history, his people’s history” Ngugi (1975: 39) as well as to help his “society regain belief in itself and put away the complexes of the years of denigration and self-abasement” (Achebe, 1975: 43). Such realism is explicit in Achebe’s novels; he has written about the subjugated, exploited majority of the African population, and their vision of the future after gaining independence from colonial rule and emerging from the “colonial complex” (Duerden & Pieterse, 1972: 8). Explaining that this history dominates their lives, Achebe says, “I would be quite satisfied if my novels (especially the ones I set in the past) did no more than teach my readers that their past with all its imperfection was not one long night of savagery from which the first

European acting on God’s behalf delivered them” (Achebe, 1975: 44). Novels such as Things Fall Apart (1958), Arrow of God (1964), No Longer At Ease (1960), A Man of the People (1967), and Anthills of the Savannah (1987) exemplify his goal of social realism and his attempts to restore the lost dignity of his people by allowing his readers to examine their past and to resolve what he terms a ‘crisis in the soul.’

African country named Kanga, which clearly represents Nigeria. The novel dramatizes political struggles between Africans, illustrates the continuing influence of


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