Socio-Political Conflicts in Chinua Achebe a Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah

Socio-Political Conflicts in Chinua Achebe a Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah
Socio-Political Conflicts in Chinua Achebe a Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah

Abstract: This study examined the Socio-Political Conflicts in Chinua Achebe a Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah. The essence and problems of this study is to reveal the socio-political conflicts that revolves around the society such as corruption, bribery, violence, oppression and exploitation. From the findings this study also exposes the political leaders who profit from the suffering of the less privilege, the sorrows of the majority, the intrigues and the obnoxious political and over ambition of the President is the major causes of socio-political and economic problems in the society that we live in. In conclusion, Achebe educates the readers of these novels and the people the negative effects of military rule in Kangan. The recommendations of this work is that no country should allow a military or an ex-military personnel to rule any African country to avoid violence and killings as seen in Achebe’s works.


 1.1       Background to the Study

Literature depicts man in his environments within a creative mode. Socio-political conflict is a theme in African literature due to the presence of the Europeans in Africa. This means that European came with their own favoured benefits.

In A Man of the People, the groups are the old and the new generations of politicians and the two characters Maxwell Kumato and Odili Samolu represent them. Odili, the narrator represents the new intellectual generation while Chief Nanga represents the old style of old politicians. Chief Nanga is referred to as A Man of the People. He is the Minister of culture and his speeches to the public represent everything that a politician should do but it becomes clear that Chief Nanga does not practice what he preaches.

However, in A Man of the People Achebe focuses more on the politics of West African Communities. Achebe shows the switching of power between the old and new styles of politicians and how the old style politician Chief Nanga, becomes more and more greedy as he learns the political system.

The politicians in the novels. A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah stand as an intermediary between the government and the common people but are portrayed by Achebe as the evil side.

In A Man of the People, Chief Nanga learns how to win election through corrupt ways. As a matter of fact the people ignorantly trust Chief Nanga and he only tells the people what they want to hear depending on their culture and way of thinking, and Nanga acts in a voracious way to obtain what he wants in his personal life, money, power and women.

Anthills of the Savannah on the other hand reflects a socio-political commentary set in the fictions nation of Kanga. It reveals that the country has a shaky two years of existence, having coming from a chaotic political upheaval, oughting a dictator from the highest office of the land.

The story revolves around three characters: Sam, Chris Oriko and Ikem Osodi. Sam is the defacto leader, the president of the Republic of Kanga, Chris is the head of the information Ministry, Ikem is the editor-in-chief of the National Gazette, a widely circulated, government controlled newspaper. Sam is a hard stern man who came into power through self imposition but it is clear that he does not have his people’s interest. Sam in his desire to hang on to his power decides that he wants to become President for life: a position unheard of in the nation’s history. This move requires a nationwide plebiscite but Abazon, of the regions in Kanga rejects the nation of putting Sam in power for the rest of his biological life. In response to their refusal he deprives the region of his support during a drought in the hopes that this would break their spirit. His embargo forces the region to send representatives to the capital to plead for their cause and get the necessary supplies.

However, Sam instructs Chris to remove Ikem from his post as editor because Sam believes that Ikem is somehow involved in the “rebellion” being organized by the leaders of Abazon. Ikem still being field, government propagandist capitalize on a joke he has made about Sam issuing a command to case new coin with his head on them. They twist this joke and assert that Ikem wants to have the President decapitated. Ikem is abducted late at night and assassinated by government forces. Chris on the other hand exposes Sam as a murderer and dictator then goes underground. Chris is now on the government most wanted list and orders that anyone caught assisting him or withholding information about him is to be arrested as well. The novel ends with a grieving Beatrice as she holds a naming ceremony for Ikem and Elewa’s child.

In A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah, Chinua Achebe reflects the unmistakable concern for the selfishness, avarice and misuse of political power and position by many politicians of the newly independent African states.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The novels portray the weaknesses of the political system and political situation in the country that has resulted into the violence and killings in the nation. The causes of the political leaders selfish interest and the chaos that their ambitions have exposed the people and the nation to tragedy and insecurity are the problems under investigation in the project.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to sustain the political integrity and honesty among political leaders so as to prevent conflict protest and overuse of power in Nigerian politics.

Using A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah the study will therefore seek to:

  • examine the primary and the immediate causes of socio-political conflicts in Nigeria, economic and social environment.
  • portray the effects of ineffective political leadership in the post-colonial and contemporary Nigerian society.
  • examine the socio-political conflicts in the novels which the novelist tries to send across to the populace.

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are:

  • to state the causes of socio-political conflicts in the novels under study.
  • to expose the corrupt nature and characters of the leaders in the two novels.
  • to expose how mis-conduct, nepotism and discrimination in the novel bring violence, distrust and create problems for the unity of the nation.

1.5       Significance of the Study

The significance of the study is to inform Africa and the entire world to comprehend why African literature revolves around socio-political conflicts. The study also will be of benefits to literary students and other researchers in the following ways:

  • it shall help the student of literary studies to understand the role of literature in the fight against socio-political conflicts in the society.
  • the possible solutions that will be proffered as ways of preventing and combating socio-political conflicts in Nigeria. It shall be very useful tool for nation building in the country.
  • it shall aid subsequent researchers as it shall serve as a reference materials to them in their own research works.
  • the references that shall be made in the course of this research work shall help to develop Nigeria political and social life style.

1.6       Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The research study centers on the Themes of Socio-political Conflicts in Chinua Achebe A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah. It focuses on the corrupt nature and characters of the political leaders that lead to socio-political conflicts in the society.

1.7       Research Methodology

The research work uses both primary and secondary research methods. The primary research work entails the use of the two primary novels under investigation in the research while other information from the internet, articles, literary journals, copies of former projects from library and other related resources will be used as the secondary sources.

Originally posted on February 21, 2021 @ 8:12 am

About Peter Lawson 2732 Articles
Peter Hezekiah Lawson (Sir Pee). The CEO of A reputable researcher, Web Developer, ICT Instructor and a publisher of many research works in Education.

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