ANALYSIS: HARVEST OF CORRUPTION BY FRANK OGODO OGBECHE Harvest of Corruption is a play (drama) written by Frank Ogbeche to condemn the ills and foibles of the contemporary Nigerian society. The play is a satire illustrating how corruption permeates the fabric of the Nigerian society and affects institutions like the police force, the judiciary, and government ministries. The play revolves mostly around Aloho, a naïve and jobless university undergraduate who is desperately searching for a job. Her meeting with Ochuole, a notorious old school mate of hers leads to a series of events which lend credence to the popular saying ‘You reap what you sow’. About the Author Frank Ogodo Ogbeche is from Yala in Cross River State, Nigeria. He studied Communication Arts and currently works as a Senior Council Affairs Officer in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). He is a member of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ),and has to his credit a number of plays and poems including The Intruder and the Promises of the Gods. PLOT The play revolves mostly around Aloho, a naïve and jobless university undergraduate who is desperately searching for a job. She meets Ochuole, a notorious old school mate of hers who is the Chief Administrative Officer at the Ministry of External Relations. Ochuole offers to help her secure a job by speaking with the Honourable Minister of External Relations, Chief Ade Haladu-Amaka on her behalf. Aloho is offered a job as one of Chief Ade Haladu-Amaka’s protocol officers. However, she does not know that Ochuole is actually being used by the Chief to perpetrate criminal activities especially drug trafficking. Madam Hoha’s hotel is the hideout for these criminal activities. Chief Ade Haladu-Amaka gives Ochuole a package containing hard drugs to deliver in the United States of America. Ochuole unknowingly accepts the package and gets arrested at the airport by drug law enforcement officers. Chief Ade Haladu-Amaka bribes the judge and the prosecutors to set Aloho free. Upon Aloho’s release from detention, she discovers she is pregnant for Chief Ade Haladu-Amaka. She makes futile attempts to abort the pregnancy and eventually dies while giving birth to the child. Meanwhile, a honest police officer, ACP Yakubu initiates investigations into allegations of embezzlement of the sum of One point two billion naira embezzled by Chief Ade Haladu Amaka. Ayo, a clerk in the office of Chief provides necessary documents to the police to unravel the crime after receiving a bribe. Ogeyi, Aloho’s friend seeks justice by reporting Chief to the police. Justice prevails in the end as all the corrupt characters are punished and made to pay for the crimes committed. TYPE OF DRAMA The play, Harvest of Corruption is a satire. A satire is a literary work that exposes vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement.Through this play, Frank Ogbeche condemns the ills and foibles of the contemporary Nigerian society. Harvest of Corruption illustrates how corruption permeates the fabric of the Nigerian society and affects institutions like the police force, the judiciary, and government ministries. Harvest of Corruption is also a tragedy. A tragedy is a play portraying the suffering of the main character, especially one concerning the downfall of the main character and having an unhappy ending. Aloho endures years of joblessness, struggles to get a job, gets arrested for drug trafficking and eventually dies in her struggle to make ends meet. SETTING The play is set in Jabu, a fictional Nigerian city. Much of the action takes place in different locations- Ogeyi’s apartment in Pannya, Madam Hoha’s hotel at Darkin, Police Headquarters at Darkin, Ministry of External Relations in Maisama, and the Court Room. The play was written during the period of transition to democratic government. CHARACTERS 1. ALOHO Aloho is the main character in the play. She is a young and naïve university female graduate desperately searching for a job. In her desperation, she ignorantly becomes part of a criminal network involved in drug trafficking in spite of her friend’s constant warning to keep away from notorious Ochuole. Aloho is arrested and detained for drug trafficking. Upon her release, she suddenly realizes that she is pregnant for Chief Haladu-Amaka and eventually dies during child-birth. The author uses Aloho’s character to portray the ordeals of many young and jobless Nigerian graduates, how they are easily taken advantage of and lured into crime in their desperation to eke out a living. 2. OCHUOLE Ochuole is Aloho’s classmate in the University. She is portrayed as notorious and wayward. Ochuole works as Chief Administrative Officer at the Ministry of External Relations. She aids Chief’s sexually immoral lifestyle by providing him with ladies. She lures Aloho into drug trafficking in the guise of helping her to secure a job with the Ministry of External Relations. 3. CHIEF ADE HALADU-AMAKA He is the Minister of External Relations and the epitome of corruption in the play. He is the ring leader of a criminal network of drug peddlers. He engages in bribery, large scale embezzlement of public funds, sexual immorality and fraud. His character is ironical. As a Minister of External Relations, he is supposed to promote his country’s image in the comity of nations. On the contrary, Chief Haladu-Amaka through his many vices portrayed his country in a bad light. 4. OGEYI Ogeyi is Aloho’s friend and confidant. Aloho lives with Ogeyi in her small apartment in Pannya. She tries to discourage Aloho from taking Ochuole’s job offer and warns her to keep away from Ochuole. She seeks justice for Aloho by reporting Chief to the police. She is the voice of reason in the play. 5. MADAM HOHA Madam Hoha is the proprietress of Akpara Hotel. The hotel is where Chief perpetuates his criminal activities. She is sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labour along with Ochuole and her hotel was sealed. 6. ACP YAKUBU Yakubu is an Assistant Commissioner of Police. He stands out as an incorruptible and honest police officer. He withstood pressures from his boss, the Commissioner to stop investigating Chief’s activities at the Ministry of External Relations. His investigations led to the arrest and prosecution of Chief, Ochuole, Madam Hoha, the Commissioner of Police and the corrupt Justice Odili. THEMES 1. Retribution This is the central theme of the play. The main idea is that a man reaps what he sows. All the corrupt characters are brought to book in the end. Chief is convicted and sentenced to twenty-five years in imprisonment with hard labour and ordered to refund the embezzled funds. This punishment is his harvest of corruption. The humiliation suffered by Aloho for drug trafficking, her pregnancy and death also portray her harvest of corruption. Ochuole and Madam Hoha are sentenced to ten years in imprisonment with hard labour while Madam Hoha’s hotel is also sealed. This is their harvest of corruption. Justice Odili and the Commissioner of Police are sentenced to twenty years in imprisonment for receiving bribe. Ayo, the clerk is also punished as he is sentenced to five years imprisonment for receiving a bribe. 2. Corruption The author illustrates the bribery, large-scale embezzlement in official quarters, drug trafficking, sexual immorality perpetuated by highly placed personalities who are supposed to be policy makers and law enforcement officers. Frank Ogodo Ogbeche shows how corruption permeates government institutions and every fabric of the society as well as the devastating effect corruption has on our everyday life. 3. Betrayal of Public Trust Chief Haladu-Amaka, the Minister of External Relations betrayed the trust reposed in him by virtue of the public office he holds through large-scale embezzlement of public funds, forgery, fraud and bribery. The author advocates a political, social and moral re-birth. LIKELY QUESTIONS 1. Discuss the following characters: i. Aloho ii. Ochuole iii. Chief Ade Haladu-Amaka 2. Attempt a summary of the plot of Harvest of Corruption 3. Describe the setting of the play Harvest of Corruption 4. Identify and discuss the themes of the play Harvest of Corruption 5. Discuss Harvest of Corruption as a satire. ANALYSIS: THE BLOOD OF A STRANGER BY DELE-CHARLEY The Blood of A Stranger is an interesting play written by a Sierra Leonean writer and playwright, Raymond Dele-Charley. This play was performed at the 1977 Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) and won an award for the best play. The play illustrates how Europeans, with the active collaboration of some unscrupulous Africans, exploited and stole Africa’s rich resources during the colonial era. Maligu, the Chief Adviser to Santigi (King of Mando) had received a letter to the effect that a white man (Mr Whitehead) was coming to Mando for tobacco farming. He approached Soko, the corrupt priest of Mando and convinced him to prophesy to the king and the people that they should welcome the visitor. Meanwhile, Mando had witnessed a number of wars in the past and had not been accepting visitors. To them, visitors meant sickness, disease and war. However, because they viewed Soko as a trusted intermediary between them and the spirit of their forefathers, they welcomed Mr. WhiteHead. Kindo, the chief warrior and king’s son was suspicious of Soko’s claims having known Soko and Maligu to be corrupt men. On his arrival, Whitehead reveals to Maligu that his true motive was to harvest Mando diamonds and not tobacco farming. He planned to take advantage of the people’s ignorance by telling them that the diamonds were the devil’s stones. Whitehead had also lied to the king that he was going to help the village. Whitehead gave the people including the king, hard drug, gin and tobacco which intoxicated them and made them misbehave. This represents the bad influence of western culture. Whitehead attempted to rape Wara, Kindo’s woman but his plan failed. This represents the rape of Sierraleone’s (and indeed Africa’s) rich resources by the British (and other colonialists) during the colonial and pre-colonial era. The story ends on a tragic note. Soko the priest was killed by Parker, Whitehead’s right hand man. Kindo found out and killed Parker and exposed their evil plans. Maligu and Whitehead insist that Kindo should be banished in line with custom and tradition since he killed Parker during peace time. The king banished Kindo, his own son. Kindo killed Whitehead and left the village with his warriors. Kindo remained the voice of reason all through the play. Theme: The Blood of A Stranger is a story of greed, selfish ambition, human deceit, corruption, and exploitation. Setting: Its location is the village of Mando, old Sierraleone during the colonial era. The play is a tragedy with a linear plot structure.
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