Character: Honorable Chief Doctor M. A. Nanga, M.P. L.L.D
Author: Chinua Achebe’s
Book: A man of the people
Chief Nanga is an ex-teacher, turn politician: Minister of culture. Politics changed his moral stance on certain issues. Such personal change was necessary at the time to maintain his political influence and the accompanying lifestyle. The book satirizes political happenings in post-independence Nigeria through the eyes of Odili, a young school teacher who ventures into politics as both a response to his disgust at the conduct of politicians and to spite his, once admired teacher, Chief Nanga, who slept with a girl Odili had penciled down for himself.
The depth of the Chief Nanga character reveals the sort of exposure Chinua Achebe had to the political elite by virtue of his prominence in the literary world.
Although chief Nanga is portrayed as a corrupt, do or die politician, I can identify with Chief’s ability to adapt. After all, “who no like beta thing?” Chief Nanga found politics as a stage to better his situation and took advantage of it. While I don’t subscribe to using public funds to better one’s lot, I admire the drive to better one’s situation.
I am an opportunist, quick to spot an opportunity and take advantage of it (of course, within my ethical limits). Chief Nanga showed he was one also when Odili brought his female friend over to the house. Chief was housing and feeding Odili; why Odili had not “organized” a girl for Chief is beyond me. Chief, not wanting to “carry last” that night, used his position and influence to snatch Odili’s would be entertainment for the night.
Finally, Chief Nanga had a very comedic, jovial manner about him and I cherish people who make me laugh. My liking of Chief Nanga’s character mirrors my love-hate relationship with Nigerian politicians: I can’t stand many of their actions, but I get some form of comic relief whenever I pick up the newspaper and read about some of these actions and statements. As they say, laughter is good for the soul.
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