A Man of the People
Rod Daniel P. Antonio
II-11 BSE Major in English
Ruth A. Alido
Professor in Afro-Asian Literature
“It didn`t matter what you knew but who you knew.” (Page 17) How far would someone go to eradicate corruption in politics? Oftentimes, due to ignorance we tend to believe the things that are presented to us, as true and valid without any hesitation whatsoever. What would be the criteria to get or to be called “A man of the people”? Is it the one who manipulates everything using money, fame and charm? Or is it the one who lacks the might and the financial muscle to engage in the murky water that is politics? And an incorruptible man - with an idealist view about the world? Good governance is when you think not of yourself but of the welfare of the people you govern. You look at things as a whole and decide with everybody. To make sure that you will not hurt anybody. A man of the people shows the way of Politicians to persuade the mass in believing that everything`s going to be okay and everything`s under control. But in reality they are only up to getting something to their advantage like (Living in a palace-like home, owning a prestigious car, engaging in different recreational activities and most importantly establishing a good name among the common people.) What matters to them most is that the people know and trust them. Most politicians avoid intellectuals for they might destroy the image they are defending. Definitely it is easier to poison the minds of the common people with poor knowledge than those with enough education. Now, I can also say that corrupt people want to keep the poor people in poverty and never to get them up, because they are afraid that it might be the end of their lives as Angels in disguise that will later be revealed as the evils of a crook society. In A Man of the People, Chief Honourable M.A. Nanga, is referred to by the first person persona who speaks and serves as the narrator of the story, Odili, as a man of the people, and the most amicable politician in the country. He is the minister of culture and his speeches to the public represent everything that a politician should do and be. But as the story continues, he appears to be totally different from the image he portrays in front of the public. The money that is supposed to be for the betterment of the community and its people he uses instead to build four-story buildings, which he rents out for his own profit. Chief Nanga is holding on the traditions and pre-colonial African culture by means of defending the common people and contradicting the European-post oriented intellectuals. As a leader holds the position for so long, he learns more of its political system, thus if s/he happens to be wicked motives it entails great danger. Chief Nanga, is becoming more and more greedy as he learns the political system. The novel also shows the switching of old and new ways of politics. It is indeed hard to embrace change especially if the people have lived in that way for so long. The duty of each one has to be the pursuit to see the world change because of them. It`s heartbreaking to know that Chief Nanga can still win the next election for the reason that the people trust him. The people believe in him because he is protecting their most valued culture. He learns to win elections through corrupt way of politics. Too bad for him and what a shame for he is entitled the “Minister of Culture”. By representing his country after colonialism keeps him away from the European intellects. He only says what the people wants to hear, thus, wins the hearts of many people. Odili, on other hand, happens to be his student before and is now working as a teacher. He admires Chief Nanga so much because he sees him to be noble and just. When it comes to culture he is very European in the way he talks, thinks and acts. Therefore, posing contrast to the quality of the persona he admires. Chief...
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