Is corruption the main theme in A Man of the People?  

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eabeytia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, corruption is one of the main themes in Chinua Achebe's novel A Man of the People, a novel that explores greed, corruption, politics, and power in an unnamed postcolonial African country.

In A Man of the People, Chief Nanga amasses wealth and power as the Minister of Culture when his country is granted independence from white rulers. But, Chief Nanga is not as just and good as he claims to be. Rather, he uses his wealth to bribe others and garner more political power. Likewise, he uses his political power to acquire more wealth, which he then uses to repeat the cycle. With these actions, we can see clearly how easy it is for power to corrupt and for a single person who is given too much power to then use that power to corrupt others.

A pointed contrast to Chief Nanga is the protagonist and narrator, Odili, who later leads an opposition party against Chief Nanga's corruption.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Achebe's " A Man of the People" explores the issue of power and corruption.  Using post colonial Africa as ths metaphor, Achebe uses Chief Nanga as the supreme example of power in developing nations.  Rising from poverty, Nanga gives voice to his citizenry in articulating a nation's dreams and the visions of a successful body politic.  In the process, he becomes seduced and entranced with the trappings of political power.  Corruption and graft become a part of this political process, where Nanga speaks of a vision of purity, and then engages in the opposite.  Using Nanga as an example, Achebe makes the suggestion that in the wake of a post Colonial world, nations must be guarded in electing their leader and ensure that processes are transparent, resistant to the lure of corruption and the enticements of power.