Friday, February 26, 2016

Themes of Harvest of Corruption

In the play, Harvest of Corruption, Frank Ogodo-Ogbeche treats a number of issues many of which reflect the current situation in Nigeria. A few of them are examined as below:

Corruption: Throughout the play, the most important issue is corruption. The playwright seems to pass this play as a commentary on this anomaly. Everywhere you turn, in Jacassa, you see corruption, even in places you least expect. With Chief Ade-Amaka at the forefront of this evil, stealing, fornicating and abusing public office at will, Ogodo-Ogbeche seems to wonder why corruption is always thought to be only stealing of public funds. Aloho's gullibility and desperation, Ochuole's mistress role to Chief, Madam Hoha's role, as well as Justice Odili's, the Police Commissioner's extortion of Chief and even Ayo's request for bribe, all point to the fact that corruption is not limited to those at the helm of affairs. It permeates every facet of life of the people who sow it. Just as in the play, public officers in Nigeria have almost always culturalised corruption, with a single individual, a chief of staff to be precise, stealing a mindboggling sum of $2.1b meant for arms purchase.

Unemployment: Unfortunately, many jobseekers have lost their dignity and souls to the devil just because of their desperate attempt to be gainfully employed. But can we blame them? How can it be justified that after rigorous school life, one spends two to three years still jobhunting? Of course this can be psychologically traumatizing! No wonder, jobless graduates are quick to succumb to societal pressure; they engage in any form of activities in the name of job insofar something comes out of it. Aloho and Ochuole are victims of this terrible situation in Jacassa. Consequently, one dies and the other is sentenced to jail. In Nigeria today, about 40 million people are unemployed and as found in Harvest of Corruption where Aloho becomes a drug trafficker and fornicator all in the name of being employed, many Nigerian youths are now gullible of several crimes and all other self-destructive acts. Needless to say, an idle hand is the devil’s workshop, as the popular saying goes.

Everyday is for the thief: Evil may last so long that people may wonder whether the perpetrator would ever bear the brunt of her action. In the play, the case of Chief Ade-Amaka is a clear indication of this assertion. He abuses public office by stealing with impunity while also engaging in cocaine pushing. Madam Hoha’s hotel is his haven for all the planning and scheming of the political bastardization. It is also, where he engages in sexual pervasion with Ochuole and then Aloho. He is doing this and having his way in such a manner that one might think he would never be caught. However, the law later catches up with him when Ogeyi Ogar, the Inspector Inaku and ACP Yakubu team up against him and the law of karma catches up on Chief.  

Patience is a virtue: Had Aloho listened to the voice of reason from her good and well-meaning friend Ogeyi Ogar, she would probably have been saved from the shame and her eventual destruction. When her best friend warns her against her working with Ochuole and Chief, Aloho pays deaf ears and replies: “You can call me a rebel, but I need a job. That’s what matters to me.” (page 9) Patience is indeed a virtue that Aloho lacks. He who has patience has everything but he who does not, has nothing. This is true of Aloho and it is the reason for her tragic end. Because of her stubbornness, she is made to peddle hard drugs unknowingly and is arrested. However, Chief, her boss, bails her out through corrupt means by bribing the judge though, Aloho’s shame and disgrace and frustration are heightened when she becomes pregnant for Chief. At last, she dies at childbirth. This is indeed a great lesson that trying to achieve any goal by all means, damning the consequences, always leads to a disastrous end for the person.