The Postcoloniality of Poor African Leadership in Achebe’s Fiction: A Close Reading of Arrow of God and A Man of the People

Confidence Gbolo Sanka, Patricia Gustafson-Asamoah, Charity Azumi Issaka


The paper aims at tracing the genesis of abuse of power and the irresponsibility that goes with it to its full blossoming in Achebe’s fiction through a close reading of Arrow of God and A Man of the People. Disenchantment with leadership in Africa, especially after independence, is not new on the African literary scene. But to Achebe, the problems associated with poor leadership in Africa did not start after independence. Failure in leadership only worsened in most African countries after independence due to the perpetuation of colonial vestiges. By doing a close reading of the two novels and by using the theory of postcoloniality, the researchers compare the traditional world of Ezeulu in Arrow of God to the post-independence setting of Chief Nanga in A Man of the People. The paper concludes that Africa has gone beyond the politics of post-colonialism and is now at the postcoloniality stage. In order for Africans to truly overcome the perennial problem of poor leadership, there is the need for us to first accept our role as a continent in contributing towards the failure of leadership in Africa. There is also the urgency to encourage grass root participation and understanding of modern democracy, to build stronger institutions and to put in place heavier punishments for those who abuse power.


Africa, Poor Leadership, Postcoloniality, Power, Responsibility, Greed, Corruption, Social Tension

Full Text:



Achebe, Chinua.(1986) Arrow of God, Oxford: Heinemann Educational Publishers. pp.230.

Achebe, Chinua.(1988) A Man of the People, Oxford:Heinemann Educational Publishers, pp. 149.

Achebe, Chinua.(19840) “Where Lies the Problem”, The Trouble with Nigeria, Oxford: Heinemann Educational Books, X, pp.1-3.

Adichie, Ngozi Chimamanda. (2006) Purple Hibiscus. Lagos:Farafina.

Akech, Migai, (2011) “Abuse of Power and Corruption in Kenya: Will the New Constitution Enhance Government Accountability?” Idiana Journal of Global Studies, 18(1), pp. 341-394.

Akingbe, Niyi.(2010). “Saints and Sinners: Protest in Wainting for an Angel.” The Journal of Interntional Social Research. 3(11), pp. 27-32.

Armah, Ayi Kwei.(1995) Osiris Rising, Popenguine: PER ANKH, , pp. 305.

Ascherson, N.(1988),“Betrayal”, Review of Anthills of the Savannah by Chinua Achebe, The New York Review of Books.

Chiripanhura, B and Miguel N.(2015). “Aid, Political Business Cycles and Growth in Africa. Journal of International Development, 27, pp.1387-1421.

Egbue, N. G. (2006). “Africa: Cultural Dimensions of Corruption and Possibilities for Change” Journal of Social Science, 12(2), pp. 83-91.

Idachaba, F. S. (2014) “Government Corruption and the Underdeveloped Nigerian Agriculture.” , a lecture delivered at the Prof. Samson Olayide Memorial Lecture, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, 20th March 2014, pp. 15-25.

Ihonvbere, O. Julius. (1998) “The Military and the Nigerian Society.” The Military and Militarism in Africa. Dakar: CODESRIA.

Igue, John O.(2010) “ A New Generation of Leaders in Africa: What Issues Do They Face?”, International Development Policy, translated by Sarah Jordan, Geneva:Graduate Institute, 1/2010, 115-133.

Jenjekwa, Vincent.(2016) “Locating Indiginous Knowledge Systems: Discourse on Corruption in Zimbabwe.” Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies, 9(1), pp.188-201.

King, Bruce.(1980) The New English Lieratures, ed. Professor A. N. Jeffares, London: The Macmillan Press Limited.

Konadu, Asare, 2002, A Woman in Her Prime,: Adaex Educational Publication Limited, Accra, pp. 139.

Mbaku, John M., (2000). “Governance, Wealth Creation, and Development in Africa: The Challenges and the Prospects”, African Studies Quarterly, 4(2), pp. 29-46.

Ndibe, Okey. (2000) Arrows of Rain. London: Heinemann.

Obeifuna, Philip Ojimadu. (1994) “How the Military Wrecked Nigeria.” in Tell, Februay 14, 1994.

Oluwatayo, Isaac B. (2018) “Walking through a Tightrope: The Challenge of Economic Growth and Poverty in Africa.” The Journal of Developing Areas 52(1), pp. 59-69.

TheDecolonized Librarian(2013)“Postcoloniality/ies.”

Tuvi, Raymond.(2008), “Leadership: A Call to Serve”, Daily Graphic, Accra: Graphic Communications Group Limited, pp.23.

Uneke O. (2010) “ Africa South of the Sahara: Bureaucratic Facilitator or Handicap to Development?” The Journal of Pan African Studies 3(6), pp. 111-128.

Young, RJC(2009). “What Is Postcoloniality?” https://



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2013-2021 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

International Journal of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies

You may require to add the '' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.