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         The predominance of satire in West African fiction since independence is closely linked to the historical evolution of the various states. Present-day socio-political reality in Africa is generally characterized, among other things, by greed, corruption, violence and general mismanagement of national affairs. Disgusted by the prevailing social order, Achebe assumed the role of the watchdog of the nation and the novelist in particular, has wielded the power weapons of satire with dexterity in varying degrees to defy and challenge the established order, which he rightly considers as a betrayal of the great hope engendered by the transition from colonial rule to independence.        

    A widely erudite view is that corruption in politics has remained a major setback to the advancement of democratic creeds and principles in a good number of developing democracies such as Nigeria and other sub-Saharan countries. The widespread supposition is that in developing economies particularly; this problem is widely viewed as endemic and claims that institutions and structures of democracy are still weak.

        In recent years, the issue of corruption has always been a topical issue and persistent decimal among scholars, politicians, security personnel, ordinary Nigerians, entrepreneurs and stakeholders within and outside Nigeria (Ajah, 2019; Yusuf &Yahaya,2014). The reason is clear and not farfetched. It is because corruption has sudden risen and permeated every aspect of governance in the country. For instance, a study by Transparency International (2000) ranked Nigeria as the most corrupt country in the world out of 90 countries surveyed, including Kenya, Cameroon, Angola, Nigeria, Côte-d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, India, Venezuela, Moldova, and others.

         In 2001, Nigeria was ranked the second-most corrupt nation in the world by Transparency International out of 91 countries, second only to Bangladesh. A study by David (2017) observed that despite corruption being a destructive and complex practice; it remains pervasive in the functioning of society and economic life in Nigeria. Accordingly, the estimated that close to $400 billion was stolen from Nigeria’s public accounts from 1960to 19991 and that between 2005 and 2014, $182 billion was lost through illicit financial flows from the country. Corruption is a disease, a cancer that eats into the cultural, political and economic fabric of society, and destroys the functioning of vital organs. In the words of Transparency International, “Corruption is one of the greatest challenges of the contemporary world. It undermines good government, fundamentally distorts public policy, leads to the misallocation of resources, harms the private sector and private sector development and particularly hurts the poor”.

      Gakwandi (1977), and Onwuka (2010)).Basically premised this study on the view that literature and society have a synergetic relationship that is mutually impactful and enriching to both aspects as each borrows from and feeds the other. Literature is thus an absolute site of representation where societal forces and conflicts are explored so that art becomes a moral prism through which social issues could be viewed to appreciate their diverse ideological colourations. This study views the phenomenon of the military in Nigerian politics a glitch that throws up conflicts that threatens the wellbeing of society. It is important to note that a major factor that lured the military into Nigerian politics is the paucity of leadership ethics among the political leaders. It is that same cause that has elicited the critical response of writers to military repression in the Nigerian polity.

         Nigeria’s political problems sprang from the carefree manner in which the British took over, administered, and abandoned the government and people of Nigeria. British administrators did not make an effort to weld the country together and unite the heterogeneous groups of people. Though, many things (from railroads, to education to the sports people play, from the religion we practice, to the language we speak.) we have today is due to their enlightenment, they still left us limp. According to Ademoyega (1981), when the British came, they forcibly rubber-stamped the political state of the ethnic groups of Nigeria, and maintained that status quo until they (the British) left. According to him upon their departure nearly a hundred years later, the people resumed fighting for their political rights. When the British came to Nigeria as an imperial nation to take over the ruler ship of the country from 1861 (with the cession of Lagos), they met the people of the south totally free, only observing and regulating their own monarchies and institutions.

       According to Adjei, 2010), psychological etc, from, inter alia, sociological and psychological perspectives. Literature portrays man in his environments in a creative fashion. African literature has increasingly gathered much interest in literary research within the last three decades, among both African and non-African scholars alike. Reddy asserts that The African novel, in its essence and origin, is highly political. It emerged as a kind of reaction to the negative views about the history of Africa and Africans, which were developed in Europe in order to justify the transatlantic slave trade and colonialism. In the years immediately before and a few years after the independence of many African states, the novel was meant to restructure and aver the true cultural identity of the African people and guarantee them “that their past—with all its imperfections—was not one long night of savagery from which the Europeans acting on God’s behalf delivered them” (Achebe, “English and the African Writer” 30). In the postcolonial period, the novel has been used to criticize the continually degenerating African society, occasioned by poor governance and a reckless lifestyle that has become so prevalent in modern urban centers. Achebe (1987/8), attacks, inter alia, the irresponsible display of power, corruption, and cynicism that characterized the military regimes in Nigeria after independence. The story is set in the fictional state of Kangan and revolves around three friends, Sam, Ikem, and Chris, and one influential female character, Beatrice Oko. Through the use of multiple points of view, Achebe gives voice to these characters (with the exception of Sam) in order to present different perspectives on the postcolonial situation he reproduces.

        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 exploitation and humiliation. 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.

        Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah are a representative of all military regimes in Nigeria, and Achebe’s fatal end is also symbolic of the artist’s consignation of military dictatorship to the dunghill of history.


       The problems facing African societies are multi-dimensional and in phases. Political corruption on one hand is the abuse of political powers by the government leaders to extract and accumulate for private gain. Corruption on the other hand has eaten deep into the system and has destroyed lives and communities and undermines countries and institutions. The legacy and practices of corruption in different level of ethnic groups leads to war which leaves painful memories behind. The novel portrays the dimness of the political system and political situation in the country that has piloted the nation into an ocean of corruption. Hence, this research is initiated to examine Achebe’s mimicry of political corruption in the nation with intents of purging the political leaders of this socio-political cancer, using Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah.


The main aim of this research is to investigate satire in Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah. Other specific objectives of study are:

  • To identify the problems caused by political corruption to the growth of Nigeria as a country
  • To ascertain the extent of educational achievement in a politically corrupt society.
  • To provide measures for checking political corruption and find a way to ascertain how effective the author has presented the evil of corruption in the novel.


  1. To what extent does corruption affect a nation’s developmental stride?
  2. How can education eradicate corruption in society?
  3. To what extent has the author been able to expose the evil of corruption in African political leadership?

1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY        A satire of Political corruption using Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe, will serve as a good material to student’s researchers. This work will show how the government and the citizens and foreign allies abetted in the corruption of the society and her environment and how the act of corruption has disordered everything.               It exposes through struggle by the oppressed, the various leadership activities that inflict pains on the down trodden members of the society plus the self-help steps taken to overcome oppression. It is of academic concern and relevance because it constitutes a body of knowledge which gives a clear picture of the complex realties that confront contemporary Africa. It serves as a source material for researchers and also significant as it ironically sees silence among the oppressed as contributing to oppression and thus projects them as an option for a changed society through consistent struggle that exposes and ridicules leadership burden on them. The text therefore illustrates how satire can be used to explore the tension between the oppressed and their oppressors. In essence, the novel is an example of how writers indirectly deploy satire to ridicule leadership from the perspective of the oppressed. This shows the dynamics that characterise the use of satire in the process of representation in literature.    1.6 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY      This project is restricted to the study of satire of political corruption using Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah and other relevant literary work of some other Nigerian and African prose writers and commentaries on corruption. Because of time and financial constraints, the research will only focus on this primary text but leave out other important issues discussed in the text for further research.


Satire: satire as used in this project refers to mimicry or ridicule of a system of government.

Corruption: is used here to refer to sharp or dishonest practices by political office holders.

Political Corruption: is the used in the novel to explain the abuse of political power and authority that leads to tragic consequences.


       Chinua Achebe (1930-2013) is a post-colonial author originating from West Africa. According to most accounts, Chinua Achebe was born on November 16, 1930 to Isaiah and Janet Achebe. He grew up in the village of Ogidi in Eastern Nigeria and he was deeply influenced by Ibo culture and by British colonial and post-colonial elements that are often apparent I his writings. Although was raised Christian, he was drawn to the traditional Igbo culture and its mythology. He began to learn English Language at eight. At the age of fourteen, he went to Government College of Umuahia 0ne of the top and best schools in West Africa. At the age of eighteen, he joined the Ibadan University College in pursuit of higher education.

     Not long after graduation, Achebe joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Company (NBC) where he opted for a radio career. However, his radio career that lasted more than a decade was abruptly put to an end because of the Biafran Civil War that caused the political and religious unrest that swept the entire country for three years. The political turmoil forced Achebe to leave his position as Director of External Broadcasting. Achebe then joined the Biafran Ministry of Information in which he pursued a diplomatic career and in 1971 he became the editor of Nigerian Journal of New Writing.

      Chinua Achebe was a widely recognized author in literary academic circles and a respected teacher and lecturer both nationally and internationally. He was professor of English at university of Massachusetts at Amherst from 1972 to 1975. Similarly, in 1987 he accepted one year position as professor of African studies at university of Connecticut at Storrs. He has also been Professor Emeritus and senior research fellow at university of Nigeria Nsukka.

        Achebe began practicing writing since he joined the Nigerian Broadcasting Company, but he did not pursue a writing career and showed full commitment to it until he left the radio. Achebe touched on many literary genres such as poetry, short stories, novels and children’s writings. Some of his famous works include his first novel Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, which gave him international recognition in the literary artistic field. Achebe also published No Longer at Ease, the Sacrificial Egg and other Stories, Arrow of God and A Man of the People. Then twenty one years later, he published Anthills of the Savannah.

       In his writings, Achebe had a tendency to combine his sense of responsibility toward his continent, country, people and his genuine African culture and heritage with his artistic talent and gift of storytelling channelling them in such a way to convey simple, yet deep political and cultural messages and profound insights often presented in his usual satirical style.


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