“corruption” in the novels of adaobi nwaubani tricia’s i do not come to you by chance and labo yari’s the climate of corruption
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1.0 Introduction and statement of the research problem
Corruption refers to any act of practice which is deviant to the norm of a given society. It signifies a form of behaviour that departs from morality, ethics, tradition, law and civic virtue.
Corruption is a phenomenon which reaches far beyond the giving, demanding, and receiving of bribes, by money by public officials. Corruption is an “Umbrella offence” as it covers a variety of illegal activities.
Bayley David supports this perspective. He argues that corruption, while being tied particularly to the act of bribery, is a general term covering the misuse of authority. In essence, it is a result of considerations of personal gains, which need not be monetary (720).
Joseph Nye opines that corruption is behaviour which deviates from the normal duties of a public role because of private-regarding (family, close private clique), peculiarly or status gains or violates rules against the exercise of certain types of private-regarding influence. This includes such behaviour as bribery (use of reward to pervert the judgement of a person in a position of trust) nepotism, (bestowal of patronage by reason as ascriptive relationship rather than merit), and misappropriation (illegal appropriation of public resources for private – regarding uses), (419).
According to Carl Friedrich, individuals are said to be engaging in corruption when they are granted power by society to perform certain public duties. The result of societal expectation from public officer sometimes precipitate corrupt tendencies because the holder of the office is expected to meets certain demands above his income (15).
Bayart and Hibron, cited in Akano see corruption as a malaise that currently afflicts African states. Due to this, Governments in Africa have ceased to operate as political entities and become willing participate in a wide-range of corrupt and criminal activities (69).
In another perspective, Alam defines corruption in developing countries as an unavoidable outcome of modernization and development. “In Africa, many people see corruption as a practical problem involving the Outright theft, embezzlement of funds or other appropriation of state property, nepotism and the granting of favours to personal acquaintances the use of public authority and position to exact payments and privilege (Harsch: 33).
Pita Agbese has observed that in post independence Nigeria, all political coalitions and groups have been engaged in determined efforts to capture the apparatus of state in order to use the state’s redistributive powers to a mass wealth for themselves. Soon after capturing the government, the incumbent regime usually erects significant barriers to entry and monopolizes the study of legislation, thus making certain that other groups do not participate in the allocation of resources. For locked out groups, participation in the economic systems must be obtained through payment of bribes to incumbent bureaucrats, all of whom are members of the politically dominant group (229-230).
Nigeria is not the only country in Africa in which the apparatus of government has become an instrument for the enrichment of members of the politically dominant group. South Africa, long regarded by many scholars in the West as a bastion for free enterprise in Africa, has for many years promoted laws that allowed white minority to use the redistributive powers of the state to enrich itself, while sentencing the black majority to perpetual poverty and deprivation (Mbaku).
Odugbemi cited in Akindele, support this perspective. He argues that corruption is a major problem in developing countries, a problem which diverts countries scarce resources away from development and eradication of poverty (7).
Corruption has affected the entire social systems in Africa and especially in the Nigerian society. Kurata cited in Akindele, quotes former United States of America Bill Clinton as describing Africa as “A continent with enormous potential afflicted with the devastating effects of corruption” (18).
Corruption at the level of religion is the act of using fear and ignorance to control and manipulate people for the betterment of a select group or individuals.
At the level of education, corruption is any attempt to influence, illegitimately, the process of endorsing the capacity of learners for a higher academic level, acquisition of knowledge or skills with a view to obtaining undue advantages for one or more parties.
Advanced Fee Fraud is a phrase used to describe scam related offences on large-scale projects and investments or illegal huge currency transactions. Basically, the scam involves pre-payment of some amount of money to the fraudster for an agreed course of action, which the fraudster may never execute.
Many of the Nigerian writers have written about corruption as a theme. Nigerian writers exposed the social ills in terms of socio-cultural, racial, political, economic exploitation between the blacks in the Nigerian society. For instance, Achebe’s A Man of the People (1966) attacks corruption as a way of using one’s position to become rich.
Similarly, in Olu Obafemi’s Wheels (1997) corruption is a dishonest way of misusing power for ones advantage especially for money. Also, in Helon Habila’s Waiting for An Angel (2002), corruption manifests through excessive government regulation that hinders the proper functioning of the people. Teju Cole’s Everyday for the Thief (2007) exhibits the greedy and selfish dimensions to corruption.
Understandably, then, scholars have shown great deal of interest in the problems of corruption. Scholars have been equally pre-occupied with the work of literature and re-interpretation of the work by examining and re-examining of matters related to the social development of the country.
An interesting dimension is, however, seen in Adaobi Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come To You By Chance (2009) and Labo Yari’s The Climate Of Corruption (2009) major attraction lies not only in its dramatic depiction of life in the Nigerian society but also in how the events and developments they describe fictionally for the contemporary society equally hold true under sub-sequent regimes in Nigeria. Adaobi and Labo explore how ordinary people are affected by the larger issues of found in the Nigerian society.
This research questions could be rendered thus:
[i] Is education an achievement?
[ii] Can Advanced Fee Fraud be an alternative to unemployment?
[iii] Do religious values stand for materialism?
[iv] Could family support enhance success?
1.2 Purpose of study
The purpose of the study is to identify the presentation of corruption in the two novels of Adaobi Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come to You By Chance (2009) and Labo Yari’s The Climate of Corruption (2009).
This study seeks to examine the action and reaction of both writers toward the problems of corruption and the way they have proffer solutions to solve the problems that faces many young Nigerian society.
This research work will discover the peculiar levels of corruption in two novels to show how corruption has eaten deep into the family, education and religious institutions.
1.3 Justification of the study
In recent times, more and more attention has been devoted to corruption in Nigeria and the effects of racism, struggle for societal refinement among the black race and corruption as a state of despair.
This study is being embarked upon because corruption is dangerous and harmful to the systemic existence of any society. It should be discouraged in the society because once it sets into any part; it automatically contaminates all the society.
This study also aims at seeing the effective role played by literary artists in correcting social ills in the society. This is therefore highlighting the presentation of corruption in the two novels chosen in order to expose the social decadence in the Nigerian society.
1.4 Scope and delimitation
It will be clear from the purpose of study that even though the impetus for this study that even though the impetus for this study was generated in the Nigerian society, the scope of the study has been restricted to the novels of Adaobi Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come To You By Chance (2009) and Labo Yari’s The Climate Of Corruption (2009). This restriction has been dictated by the need to attempt social issues within the novels. This will enable the researcher to focus attention on the aspects of religion, education and Advanced Fee Fraud in the novels.
The restriction notwithstanding, however, there is strong indication from the available literature that the conclusions will be generalized to many people in the contemporary Nigerian society.
1.5 Research methodology
The intention of this research work is to examine corruption in novels of Adaobi Nwaubani’s I Do Not Come to You By Chance (2009) and Labo Yari’s The Climate of Corruption (2009) through sociological theory.
Sociological theory is the internal motive of the work of art which exposes the relationship between art and society. This will lead to the critical analysis of the two novels which aim is to identify corruption as a problem in the Nigerian society.
Ogunjimi argues that sociological theory is relevant because art has a role to play in the development of the society.
Inkeles cited in Lai Olurode states that the major proponents of sociological theory namely Comte, Spencer, Dukheim and Weber support the opinion that sociological theory is the appropriate theory that believes in the didactic nature of literature because it sensitizes the society.