Corruption And Violence In Iyayi’s Violence And Achebe’s A Man Of The People

Corruption And Violence In Iyayi’s Violence And Achebe’s A Man Of The People
Corruption And Violence In Iyayi’s Violence And Achebe’s A Man Of The People

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

With postcolonial experience as an embodiment of socio-political turmoil, corruption, political discrimination and political violence, this study examines how Iyayi‘s Violence and Achebe’s A Man of the People   reveal the socioeconomic factors that had hindered the effective nation-building in Nigeria. Moreover, the ideals of nationalism and independence progressively degenerate as a result of bad leadership, endemic corruption, moral decadence, political instability and social insecurity affecting the society. The plight of ordinary Nigerians worsens steadily as corruption and incompetent leadership despoil the country since the 1970s when Nigeria transformed into a major oil producer. Corruption has become one of the major antinomies that create a deepening crisis in our contemporary Nigerian society.

Corruption And Violence In Iyayi’s Violence And Achebe’s A Man Of The People

It also engenders a scandalous wealth among the ruling class with growing poverty, misery and degradation among the masses. It is on this problem writer lie Delap Mick posits that, the face of appalling political mismanagement, corruption has become an endemic monster that impoverishes and devastates the nation. Faced with this catastrophic situation. Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and other literary writers of the 1960s and 1970s were the first to switch the focus of their creative writing towards such pressing “public political issues ruthlessly articulating a public and published resistance to the steady… often savage erosion of freedom and justice taking place around them” (5).

In discussing Iyayi’s understanding of the problems militating against the development programmed in Nigeria, The Contract portrays its revelation and condemnation of corruption, rampant scarcity of personal integrity and failure of the state, thereby fulfilling some of the challenges thrown at African novelists to be sensitive to the faintest nuances of injustices in human relation. Iyayi further argues in hiscritical novel Violence that the degeneration and dehumanisation which deny the Idemudia’s human right in the society is as a means of survival and self respect are caused by the bourgeoisie or the rich. The inability of the government to educate its citizens and cater for their welfare is nothing but naked violence.

He says, Acts of violence are committed when a man is denied the opportunity of being educated, of getting a job, of feeding himself and his family properly, of getting medical attention cheaply, quickly and properly (185).  Having got his life denuded right from the village, Idemudiais defeated due to poverty and social injustices imposed on him and his wife, Adisa. In the face of a starving wife and a riotous stomach, Idemudia does not even remember his promise to take care of his mother. In fact, he has even added woes in the village by sending his only son he cannot provide for to her. What is more, like his much hated father, Idemudia batters his wife unbelievably:  his hand to strike her again. She threw herself on the floor and began to scream wildly. Very slowly, the blood welled from the side of her nose and trickled down the corner of her mouth to her chin (14).

In the same vein, Iyayi portrays the working class not as passive but as individuals who believe in struggling for their freedom who are conscious and are prepared to face their problems courageously. Similarly, they are presented not as faultless heroes but also have their human weaknesses. For example, Idemudia is tempted to propose to Queen even though he realises that this might seriously affect the ongoing struggle between Queen, the contractor and Idemudia’s own labour union.  Iyayi therefore, presents a balanced picture of both the working class and of their exploiters as seen in the characters of Queen and her husband Obufon. 

On the other hand, Chinua Achebe is one of the best African writers whose critical works exposed the effects of Western customs and values on traditional African society as seen in Things Fall Apart. As an eminent African novelist and critic, in his famous book entitled The Trouble with Nigeria exposed  the  Nigerian leaders  which according to him they are causes of the Nigeria’s problems…and it their  selfishness and corrupt  habits that inhibit Nigeria from becoming a modern and attractive country. He went further to states that:

The only trouble with Nigeria is the failure of leadership…because with help of good leaders Nigeria could resolve its inherent problems such as tribalism; lack of patriotism; social injustices, the cult of mediocrity; indiscipline and corruption. The trouble with Nigeria is simply a failure of leadership…The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership (1).

No doubt, Most of the issues Achebe discuss hold true to Nigeria, and other African countries today. In addition, Corruption, indiscipline, tribalism, lack of patriotism, illiteracy and greed are killing administrations in several African nations today. Moreover, in his novel, A Man of the People, he portrayed Nanga as a political opportunist. Nanga according to him has no concept of political morality rather he has become rich through bribery, corruption, intimidation and knows how to work these things to his advantage. No doubt, Nanga and many others pursue self-interest with false promises of sharing with everyone. Achebe therefore uses Odili as a character who is totally disillusioned at seeing such a debased form of politics in his country. It on these challenges affecting the Nigerian masses Iyayi and Achebe exposed in their critical works under investigation.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The statement of this study proposes the fact that, Iyayi’s Violence and Achebe’s A Man of the People are novels that critically examine the fact that corruption and violence are the major issues affecting our Nigerian society today.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine Corruption and Violence in Iyayi’s Violence And Achebe’s A Man of the People and its consequences in our contemporary Nigerian societies.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study will be significant in the following ways: the novels of Festus Iyayi and Chinua Achebe will be of beneficial to students of English and literature by exposing the problems of corruption and violence that are affecting the Nigerian society. The study will also be of immense benefits to researchers who would love to research more on corruption and violence using the above novels under study.

1.5 Objectives of the Study

The study intends to examine the following objectives:

  1. to portray the elements of corruption and violence in the two selected novels
  2. to investigate the causes of corruption and violence in our contemporary Nigerian society as portrayed by Iyayi and in this study
  3. to proffer solution to the consequences of corruption and violence in Iyayi’s Violence and Achebe’s A Man of the People

Corruption And Violence In Iyayi’s Violence And Achebe’s A Man Of The People

1.6   Research Methodology

This study will focuses on Iyayi’s Violence and Achebe’s A Man of The People as it primary sources, while the secondary sources of the study will make use of internet sources, textbooks, academic magazines and other literary novels from library.

1.7   Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The scope of this study will be delimited to Iyayi’s Violence and Achebe’s A Man of the People.

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