Shuaib Ozoku rebukes Nigeria with the Bribe

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By Solomon Akin Oremodu

The Bribe, by Shuaib Ozoku, published by New Dawn Books, is a writer’s perception of the problem of corruption in the Nigerian Society. Corruption is an endemic disease that has eaten deep into the fabric of our society. It seems to be an enduring phenomenon, especially in a country like Nigeria where it is no longer news to hear of top government officials stealing public funds.

Over the years, and throughout human history, it is not unusual to find reactions to such cancerous phenomenon. Some individuals might use violence in terms of “Revolution” while some use their pen – remember the old age adage “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

In chapter one, the story begins with a perception of what an ideal society should be. The gist is that if things are working well, perhaps people won’t need to develop avarice.

In chapters two and three, the hero, Onimisi, leaves the ideal society to an environment of absolute primitiveness called the NILE Republic. The condition of the environment in the Nile is awful “people sleep in poverty, and wake up in torture – they have neither shelter nor clothing.”

In chapters two and three, we see Onimisi, having grown into adulthood, deciding by instinct of an “earlier existence” to acquire Western Education knowing fully well, that education is the bedrock for development.

In chapters four and five, Onimisi interacts with great intellectuals like Professor Ohize, Professor Nnda and Dr. Jaga, who Onimisi sees as a “moving encyclopedia.”  Here, the author proves that interacting with great minds has a positive influence on a person’s destiny.

In chapter four, Onimisi completes his education and return to his village to find the place as he left it – “no improvement, no development.”  In spite of this, Onimisi clings to his kinsmen. “Yet, I cannot forget my roots”  he says, asserting how important our roots are.

In chapter five, Onimisi moves into the wider world, and gets introduced to politics.

In chapters six to eight, we read of the painful struggle of a determined mind and its eventual defeat by corruption. With acceptance of a bribe, Onimisi loses total consciousness of whom he used to be, and becomes worse than his initiators into crime. With the ill-gotten wealth, he establishes oil, media, shipping, even the banking businesses.

Chapters nine to twelve see Onimisi realizing the futility of avarice.

With this book, the author takes a swipe at the Nigerian society, considering it to be too docile. He painfully remarks: “A proverb says if you push a goat to the wall, it would turn round and bite you. But in Nigeria, the goat would break the wall and keep on running”.

The author notes that our corrupt political leaders use religions sentiments to enslave Nigerians. He exposes a nation as thoroughly rotten and completely condemns bad influence and association with bad characters.

According to him, the problem is not Nigeria, but its citizens. The author’ style of writing reflects strong influence by John Bunyan of “Pilgrim Progress”, D. O. Fagunwa who wrote “Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmale”, and Sir Ridder Haggard of “She”.

The author used a suspense style of writing, and a brilliant use of flashbacks. His style is beautiful and flowing, keeping the reader spellbound till the end. The Bribe is a brilliant addition to the literary world, and therefore recommended to everyone.

  1. *Akin Oremodu is an Historian, Freelance Journalist and a Doctoral Degree Research Student

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