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This project work is on political corruption and symbolism. This project work brings out the corrupt practices by politicians and military rulers. To also brings out the symbols used in the novels. Chapter one is an introduction on political corruption in Nigeria and the way the military took over and ruled Nigeria. Chapter two is on the related literature review, chapter three is on political corruption and symbolism in Adichie Chumamanda Ngozi Half of a yellow Sun. Chapter four is on the political corruption and symbolism in Okey Ndibes Arrows of Rain chapter five of this project work is the conclusion. This project research concludes that though the coming of the British to colonise us brought civilization and also divisions among the ethnic groups which led to war. War leads to destruction of lives and properties, it should therefore be avoided.



Political corruption is the use of power by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality is considered political corruption. Most economic political and social problems in under developed societies like Nigeria emanate from corruption. Some of these problems include lack of accountability, diversion of public resources to private ownership, different types of discriminations, ethnicity. Lack of competence, inefficiency etc.

There are many causes of political corruption such as ineffective political processes, ineffective political financing, and poverty. Ethnic and religious difference.

A lot of secrecy still pervades government document and this underlies the need for the passage of the freedom of information bill presently before Nigerias National Assembly, also law public participation in Government to mention a few.

The pervasive corrupt practices have been blamed on the colonial masters. According to this view, the nations colonial history may have restricted any early influences in an ethical revolution.

Throughout the colonial period most Nigerians were struck in Ignorance and poverty.

The level of corruption raised serious alarm that attracted the concern of both Nigerians and international community which rated Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries.

Although, the government embarked upon anticorruption measures but were not sincerely and properly implemented such that the expected objective and goal were not achieved. The problem was rather aggravated. Since then, corruption has continued to militate against national development.

In Nigeria corruption is a problem that has to be rooted out.

Owusi 2002, however in his book, The Root Causes of Corruption in West Africa, was of the view that;

Corruption is made up of opportunist manipulation or branches of existing laws and regulation for advantages.

He emphasized that;

Our inordinate desire for wealth, power prestige and high status and its desirous consumption of scarce, expensive and prestigious import commodities is no doubt one of the roads to corruption in the society.

Over the years, the country has seen its wealth withered with little to show in living conditions of the average people.

As with many other African nations, Nigeria was an artificial structure initiated by former colonial powers which had neglected to consider religious linguistic and ethnic differences.

The causes of Nigeria Civil War were diverse although, in his memoir, journalist Alex Mitchell blames involvement of the British, Dutch, French and Italian oil companies whose battles for the rich Nigerian oil fields started the Civil War and kept it going.

Nigerians political problems also started from the manner in which the British took over power, administered and abandoned government and people of Nigeria. The British administrators did not make effort to weld the country together and unite the heterogenous group of people. Though many technologies we have today are due to their enlightenment.

Northern leaders however, fear that independence would mean political and economic domination by the more westernized elites in the south, preferred the perpetuation of British rule. As a condition for accepting independence, they demanded that the country continue to be divided into three regions with the North having a clear majority.

On January 15, 1966, major Kaduna Nzeogwu and other junior Army officers mostly majors and captains attempted a coup detat. It was generally speculated that the coup had been initiated by the Igbo and for their own primary benefit, because of the ethnicity of those that were killed. The two major political leaders of the North, the Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa and the Premier of the Northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello was executed by major Nzeogwu. Also murdered was Sir Ahmadu Bellos wife

The coup was not only generally carried out in the Northern region, it was most successful there. The fact that the officer, Lieutenant Connell. Arthur Umegbe was killed can be attributed to the more fact that the officers in charge of implementing Nzeogwus plans in the East were incompetent. The coup, also referred to as the coup of the five majors, has been described in some quarters as Nigerias only revolutionary coup. This was the first coup in the short life of Nigerias nascent democracy. Claims of electoral fraud was one of the reasons given by the coup plotters. This coup resulted in General Johnson AguyiIronsi, an Igbo and Head of the Nigerian Army, taking power as General becoming the first Military Head of State in Nigeria.

These actions by the local and foreign leaders made the people to seek for independence. Many of them were not thinking straight anymore. The present leadership blame the colonial masters and fore runners of independence for their actions for not doing what is expected of them and also for the embezzlement and stealing of public fund. The political elicits in other to become rich and influential in the society, steal and blame it on the economy and leaders. No one takes responsibility for his own crime and actions.

The politicians and military rulers blame one another for a bad government no one agrees that the other is better than himself.

Emeka Nwabueze is of the opinion that, the question is not weather we should wage war against corruption or not, my quarrel is that the fight should be waged within the context of the constitution.

Several opinions hold that Nigerian political and economic underdevelopment since independence has been as a result of pervasive corrupt practices in both private and public fields: Nepotism which means favouratism granted in politics or business to relatives regardless of merit.

Bribery which is an act of giving money or gift giving that alters the behaviour of the recipient.

Political Scandal is a kind of political corruption that is exposed and becomes a scandal, in which politicians or government officials are accused of engaging in various illegal, corrupt or unethical practices.

Electoral Fraud is the illegal interference with the process of an election. Acts of fraud affect vote counts to bring about an election result whether by increasing the vote share of the rival candidates, or both. Embezzlement, abuse of office etc.

Arnold saw corruption as receiving or offering of money or other advantages in return for contract, acquiring an opportunity, unqualified favor, pervasion of Justice, leading ahead of a queue and the likes. He saw corruption as poverty in juxtaposition to great wealth and luxury or crook in order to live big.

A symbol is an object that represents, stands for or suggests an idea, belief, action, or material entity. Symbols take the form of words, sounds gestures or visual images and are used to convey ideas and beliefs.

Its also a sign, shape or object which is used to represent something else.

Symbol is seen in every culture, religion and society. This makes symbol universally acceptable in the sense that it does not exist in one society and is absent in another. There are cultural and religious symbols. Cultural symbols are seen in language, traditional attire, and tribal marks, sacred objects of ancestral qualities; like ofo in Igbo culture as the communion of the ancestors. In Igbo culture, grey hair is a symbol of old age and should attain contesy and respect, proverb also in Igbo society are symbolic because they are embodiment of wisdom and tradition.


Political corruption is the abuse of political powers by the government leaders to extract and accumulate for private gain.

Corruption has eaten deep into the system and has destroyed lives and communities and undermines countries and institutions.

The legacy and practices of corruption in different level of ethnic groups leads to war which leaves painful memory behind.

The attempt to create a common understanding has led to the research of this project work.


The purpose of this paper is to identify the cause of political corruption, its consequences, find a way to prevent it and effect a change. There are also issues were readers find it difficult to identify the presence of symbols in Nigerian fiction and also to understand its meaning the study of this work is to emphasis more on its way out.


The project is the study of political corruption and symbolism and it is mainly focused on two novels: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Arrows of Rain by Okey Ndibe and other relevant literary work of some other Nigerian and African writers and commentaries on corruption and symbolism.


This research paper will help inform readers who have interest in political corruption and symbolism with the help of using Half of a Yellow Sun by Adichie Chimamanda and Okey Ndibes Arrows of Rain.


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