Issues of Corruption in Africa in Chinua Achebe's Novel, No Longer at Ease

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The issue of corruption has been a phenomenon which has pervaded not only Nigeria but other colonies in Africa for quite a while. Chinua Achebe uses this book "No Longer at Ease" to portray the corruption in the Nigerian society and how deep it has eaten into every aspect of the Nigerian civil and business organisation. This pervasive corruption has been blamed on colonialism with the most convincing argument point being that the lifestyle of the Europeans and Nigerians such as Hon. Sam Okoli who worked in high positions influenced people holding special positions to receive bribe and misuse their powers. The fleet of flashy cars, big houses and clothes used by these people made it even more impossible to turn down a bribe offer, especially in such financial conditions. So strong was it that it made a well- principled and strong-willed man like Obi Okonkwo ignore all his values and principles to make money.
Chinua Achebe uses the theme of corruption to portray a transition in Nigeria from a colony to an independent state. In the novel, Obi being accustomed to the English way of life is not a fan of bribery. This is evident in his encounter with the young boy upon his return to Lagos: "A young man, almost a boy in fact, was dealing with Obi's cabin. He told him that the duty on his radiogram would be five pounds. 'Right,' said Obi, feeling his hip-pockets. 'Write a receipt for me.' The boy did not write. He looked at Obi for a few seconds, and then said: 'I can be able to reduce it to two pounds for you.' 'How?' asked Obi. 'I fit do it, but you no go get Government receipt.' For a few secon...

... middle of paper ... sleeping asked him , "Why do you want a job in the Civil Service? So that you can take bribes? " This simply indicates that they all are aware of the corruption happening around them but no one is willing to do anything about it.
In conclusion, we can say that corruption is a menace which has eaten deep into the Nigerian society and is a driving force in Nigeria's struggle for independence. Like every other country under colonial era it is difficult to erase the bad habits inherited whilst under the rule and this affects the country politically, socially and economically. This novel portrays Obi and his struggle to create a change in society as Nigeria as they attempt to gain independence and make a change in the country. However, the ill fortune that befell him is kind of a pre-monition of what would happen to Nigeria if they succeeded in gaining independence.
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