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Bad Leadership and Oppressive Government in Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and Ayi Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

Bad Leadership and Oppressive Government in Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and Ayi Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born 

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ABSTRACT

This study is set out to analyse the bad leadership and oppressive government in Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and Ayi Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. In Violence, the author pictures a society with two classes of people- the rich and poor, the oppressive forces fighting against the poor to submerge them in perpetual state of poverty and the poor masses, on becoming a way of these forces fight back to gain freedom.

  In Mine Boy the author portrays the problems experienced by the Africans during apartheid regime. It portrays the struggles of African to attain equal right and to be treated as humans. In conclusion, the novels expose the social injustice and deprivations of the poor masses of their economic rights by the rich.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Bad leadership and oppressive government are the worst forms of government affecting every society of the world today. This is why Chinua Achebe and Ayi Armah expose the problems of Nigeria and Ghana as countries that are not left outof the evils of bad leadership and oppressive governance. These writers used their literary works as arsenals for effective change in their societies.

African writers as social crusaders, use literatures proactive tool for exposing the evils committed by colonial masters, the present political leaders and what is happening in the society.

In The Beautyful Ones are not yet Born, for instance, Armah describes the level of corruption, bad governance and exploitation which has caused psychosocial effect on the poor citizens of Ghana.

He also writes for the Ghanaian government to provide the citizens with their human and political rights and put an end on issues affecting the masses. Similarly, Achebe in his essay entitled The Trouble with Nigeria says:

There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land, climate, water, air or anything else. But, the trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. Nigerian problem is the unwillingness of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which is the hallmarks of true leadership (1).

The above assertion is awful to Nigerian politicians and their unwillingness to quit corrupt practices and help the masses. Achebe and Armah’s novels therefore portray a clear object of corruption, indiscipline and political thuggery among others which culminated in poor governance due to corrupt leaders.

It is for this reason that the researcher is prompted to examine the effects of bad leadership and oppressive government in the two novels under study, with a view to finding the causes and solutions to build a better society.

Bad Leadership and Oppressive Government in Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and Ayi Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

1.2 Statement of the Problem

It is obvious; the Nigerian and Ghanaian masses are suffering due to bad governance and oppressive system of government. Indices of this bad governance include: exploitation, selfishness, corruption, bribery and embezzlement of government funds.

While oppressive government facilitate criminal enterprises such as money laundering, restriction of human rights and illegal abuse of power by maladjusted cognitive and behavioural processes. It is on this notion the key problem of this study forms the bad government corrupt nature of the political leaders in Nigeria and Ghana.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this research work is to examine the effects of bad leadership and oppressive government in Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and Ayi Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study will be important to the Nigerian government on the issues affecting the masses as a result of bad leadership, corruption and embezzlement the government fund that was supposed to carter for the welfare of the masses. Studies will also use the findings of this study useful for further research work.

Educational planners will also see this work important by introducing Chinua Achebe’s novels to the teachers teach the student the important of literature and the effects of bad government and why it should be aborted for the betterment of the society.

1.5 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study are to:

  1. examine the effects of bad leadership and oppressive government in Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and Ayi Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born.
  2. portrays the main issues behind bad leadership and oppressive government in Nigeria and Ghana
  3. proffer solutions to the above problems and investigate the authors’ points of writing these novels.

1.6 Scope and delimitation of the Study

The scope of the study is delimited to Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and Ayi Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born.

1.7 Research Methodology

The primary method is the use of Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and Ayi Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born. The secondary method is the use of African novels that deal on bad government and corruption. Novels from library, internet and academic magazines will also be used in the work.

1.8 Bio-Data of Chinua Achebe

Chinua Achebe was born as on the 16 November, 1930. He was raised by his biological parents, in the Igbo town of Ogidi in South-eastern Nigeria. Achebe was an excelled at school and won a scholarship to study medicine, but change his studies to English and literature at the University College, now the University of Ibadan.

He became fascinated with world religions and traditional African culture and began writing stories as a University student. After his graduation, he worked for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and later moved to the metropolis of Lagos Nigeria. He alsogain worldwide attention for his novels, Things Fall Apart in the late 1950s, while his later novels includes; No Longer at Ease in 1960, Arrow of God in 1964, A Man of The People 1966 while Anthill of the Savanna 1987.

In 1975, his lecture An Image of African Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, feature a famous criticism of Joseph Conrad as a thoroughgoing racist; it was later published in The Massachusetts Review. In 1990, Achebe returned from the United States and began eighteen-year tenure at Board College as the Charles Stevenson Professor of Languages and literature.

1.9 Bio-Data of Ayi Armah

Armah was born on October 28, 1939 in Takoradi, Ghana. His heritage was Fante, one of the major ethnic groups in the country;he also came from an elite family. At the time of his birth, the West African nation was a colony of Britain. On March 6, 1957, Armah’s land became the first colonial African country to win the sovereignty struggle.

Around this time, Armah was a student at the Achimota College, a secondary school in Accra, Ghana’s Capital and in 1959 he won a scholarship to study at the Groton School in Massachusetts, a prestigious boarding school for boys whose alumni include President Franklin Roosevelt as well as numerous Wall Street titans.

After graduation, Armah went on to Harvard University, where he earned a degree in sociology. His first published short story appeared in 1964 at Harvard Advocate issue. Healso lived in Algeria and worked as a translator for Revolution Africaine magazine in 1963 before coming back to take a job as a scriptwriter for Ghana Television.

He also taught English at the Navrongo School in Ghana’s city of the same name in 1966 before leaving for Paris to edit JeuneAfrique (“Young Africa”), a French-language weekly news magazine, for the year.

He taught at the University of Massachusetts and then settled in Tanzania in 1970. After 1976, he taught at the National University of Lesotho, a country located within South Africa. He continued to produce essays for various journals, including Black World and West Africa, on literary and political topics, while working on his third novel, Why Are We So Blest 1972.His writings include:

The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born 1968, Fragments1970, Why Are We So Blest 1972, Two Thousand Seasons, 1973 and The Healers, 1978.

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