Abstract: This study is about the socio-political conflict in Achebe’s A Man of the People and Anthills of the Savannah. The essence and problems of this study is the 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.
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
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.