Corruption in Nigeria – Obinze and Chief

Jillian DiOrio, Mannat Bhatia, Collin Bowers


We will be focusing on the scene in Chapter Two where Obinze talks about how he became successful with Chief. Particularly when they have dinner for the first time at Chief’s place and Obinze recognizes the business/political hierarchy that goes on, and how it is corrupt. “Corruption takes many forms, starting with embezzlement, bribery, rituals, and election rigging. In fact, corruption levels are highest in Nigeria’s political system. In both the Senate and the House of Representatives, corruption is seen as normal (Uzochukwu, 2014).By corrupt, we mean that Nigerian men within power are known for bribery and subordination. Early in the novel, Obinze takes note of Chief’s personality and tendencies and later realizes that Chief may be corrupt.  Adichie describes Obinzes feelings, “Obinze felt repulsion and longing; he pitied them, but he also imagined being like them” (Adichie 30). We chose this specific section of the novel because Chief is a character who is described as a “big man”. This refers to him being wealthy, holding a high political status, and being an egomaniac. Chief’s character in this particular scene shows an underlying issue with the correlation between political status and wealth.Chief says “Everybody is hungry in this country, even the rich men are hungry, but nobody is honest” (Adichie 30). Chief holding a wealthy status in Nigeria allows him to easily get what he wants through fraud or bribery because of the corrupt government. The author depicted Chief in this way to show the culture of corruption and materialism. Not only do Chief and Obinze exemplify the political corruption in Nigeria, but Nneoma says to Obinze “Even Chief has some white men that he brings in for show when he needs them. That is how Nigeria works. I’m telling you” (Adichie 31). This quote describes that white people are considered as a token in Nigeria and are the ones who make things happen. This shows that most characters, in one way or another, have been impacted by the political corruption in Nigeria.

We chose this specific topic because of the political corruption in Nigeria that is currently affecting immigrants. The Business-Anti-Corruption Portal Group which is a collection of free anti-corruption compliance and risk management resources including e-learning training, country risk profiles, and due diligence tools is a site that focuses on all aspects of corruption in Nigeria. A specific section in this source describes how Nigeria’s civil society is affected by corruption:

“Civil society in Nigeria is weak, fragmented and lacks resources, although there is a positive trend in its development (BTI 2016). While the landscape of civil society organizations is among Africa’s most vibrant (FitW 2016), civil society organizations continue to suffer from weak representation and limited organizational resources (BTI 2016). Labor unions suffer from similar limitations (BTI 2016). Private media and religious groups have increasingly taken on the tasks of civil society (BTI 2016)” (GAN Integrity).

We can tie this civil society corruption to Obinze’s mother and her situation within the University that she works at. In this situation, Obinze’s mother called out another professor for misusing University funds publicly. The accused Professor was insulted and decided to slap her. She wrote articles about this and many students got involved. This then let to Obinze’s mother leaving due to sabbatical. We can incorporate this in our storyboard by adding a dialogue element where Obinze is at the dinner with Chief and he realizes Chief’s corrupt tendencies and it reminds him of the situation that his mother is in, and how Nigeria’s civil social and specifically labor unions are “weak, fragmented, and lack resources” (GAN Integrity).

To visualize this ongoing social issue we will be creating a storyboard. In this storyboard we will be tying multiple scenes from the book, Americanah, to provide insight to the political issues and corruption in Nigeria. These issues will be supported by our research and give real world insight. We chose the storyboard medium because we felt that it would best portray the nepotism and bribery in politics within Nigeria. Our storyboard viewers will demonstrate empathy and consideration for the immigrants affected by the discreditable government in Nigeria. By creating a storyboard that contains still images, it allows for expansion into the virtual reality realm. This gives the ability to bring the storyboard to life and create realistic scenarios. By transferring the story to virtual reality, viewers will be so in the moment that the story will leave a lasting impact on them.

  1. Script & Storyboard

Introduction: Recreate Obinze’s meeting with the Chief at his house. Chief’s house is really a mansion with a luxurious interior design, it is a home that most people would dream of. Obinze notices Chief’s “big man” personality and realizes his corrupt tendencies. Once, Obinze understands this, he begins to reflect on his mother’s situation. This contains a memory of discussion with Obinze and his mother, about her feelings about the university, and the civil corruption that ties to that situation.

Section 1: Obinze going to Chiefs party and learning about his personality. He then reflects on how Chief is corrupt. This section is inspired from chapter 2 in Americanah by Adichie.

Box 1:
Nneoma: “Chief, this is my cousin, Obinze. His mother is my father’s sister, the professor”
Nneoma: “She is the one that paid my school fees from beginning to end. If not for her, I don’t know where I would be today.”
Obinze: “Good evening, sir”
Caption: Nneoma introduces Chief to Obinze.
Setting: Chief’s mansion, for a dinner party.

Box 2:
No dialogue
Everyone: *Enjoys their dinner and engages in small conversations*
Caption: The conversations go on, and everyone enjoy their meals.
Setting: Chief’s mansion, for a dinner party.

Box 3:
Chief: “Come and see me again, next week”
Obinze: “Will do, Chief”

Caption: Chief gives Obinze a gift of red wine, and wants to see Chief again, so they can get to know each other better.
Setting: Chief’s mansion

Box 4:
Nneoma: “Obinze, keep hanging around Chief until he does something for you”
Obinze: *Obinze thinks to himself why he should continue to hang around Chief*

Caption: Obinze and Nneoma talking about how Obinze should continue to hang out with Chief (pg 28)
Setting: Obinze’s car, driving home from Chief’s dinner

Box 5:
Obinze: “Chief, if there is something I can help you do, please tell me. You can depend on me”
Chief: “We need more people like you in this country. People from good families, with good home training. You are a gentleman, I can see it in your eyes.”

Caption: Chief has been drinking and is upset/frustrated. He talks about people stabbing him in the back, Obinez offers his help. Chief replies by praising Obinze’s character traits.  (Adichie 31)
Setting: Chief’s mansion, another gathering

Box 6:
Chief: “I’m going to buy seven properties for five million each. You know what they’re listed for on the books? One million. You know what the real worth is? Fifty million.”
Chief: “I need someone to front this deal”
Obinze: “Yes, sir, I can do that.”

Caption: Obinze finally gets a job opportunity from Chief, although the job may be unethical.
Setting: Continuation of the previous box, Chief’s mansion

Box 7:
Nneoma: “This is your opportunity! The Zed, shine your eyes! They call it a big-big name, evaluation consulting but it is not difficult. You undervalue the properties and make sure it looks as if you are following due process”
Nneoma: “And after you register your own company, you must find a white man. Find one of your white friends in England. Tell everybody he is your General Manager. You will see how doors will open for you because you have an oyinbo General Manager. Even Chief has some white men that he brings in for show when he needs the,. That is how Nigeria works. I’m telling you”

Caption: Nneoma is excited for Obinze’s job opportunity and gives him advice on why he should do this job for Chief. She also gives further insight on how political Nigeria works (pg 32)
Setting: Nneoma’s bedroom

Box 8:
No dialogue just picture

Obinze goes through with the job, and closes the deal on the properties. He begins to realize how easy his life has become from working for an unethical business man.
Setting: Obinze is shaking hands with Chief after closing the deal.


Box 9:
Chief: “The earth is seemly flat”
Everyone in the room: “Exactly! You are correct, Chief! Thank you!
Obinze: *thinking to himself* “It seems as if rich Nigerian men think they’re better than everyone else and want everyone around them to acknowledge his power”

Setting: Back at Chief’s for dinner party

Box 10:
Obinze: *Thinks to himself* I have everything I have ever wanted but somehow I am still not satisfied. Chief seems to have control over everyone and is bringing me down the same path.

Caption: Obinze has an epiphany, and realizes that Chief may be a corrupt, egomaniac, and sleazy businessman. (pg 21)
Setting: Obinze’s thoughts.




Section 2: Obinze connects his mother’s university issues to Chief’s political power and his corrupt tendencies. This section is inspired from chapter 4 in Americanah by Adichie.

Box 1:

Obinze: * to himself* “Mother was a part of a big scandal at the University she teaches at. She was discriminated against by her bosses and colleagues”

Obinze begins to reflect on his mother’s situation with the university, and his feelings toward it.
Setting: Obinze’s thoughts


Box 2:
Obinze Mother: “Me and the committee found out that you are misusing university funds!”
Professor: “Who are you to talk to me like that” *SLAP*

Flashback of the specific situation with Obinze’s mother and the school. She publicly accused another professor of misusing university funds, and he slapped her.
Setting: The University in a public setting


Box 3:
Obinze Mother: “Son we need to go to Lagos, I was put on sabbatical leave due to the incident at the university.”
Obinze: “Why can’t we just stay here?

Obinze’s mother being put on a “sabbatical” after the situation
Setting: Obinze’s home in Nsukka.

Box 4:
Obinze Mother: “Equal rights for all!”
*civil society organizations continue to suffer from weak representation and limited organizational resources*

Obinze’s mother going/participating in strikes for equality and justice. Incorporates research.
Setting: Downtown/Outside the University.


Box 5:
Nneoma: Obinze, you’re still not ready! We needed to be Chief’s 10 minutes ago.

: After Obinze’s flashback he is very sad, and doesn’t want to go to Chief’s house, but his wife pressures him.
Setting: Present day, Obinze and Nnenoma’s bedroom.


Box 6:
Chief: “I like that girl. Give her to me and I will give you a nice plot of land.”
Middle Class Man: “Sir, that is my wife you are talking about. You have no respect for women!”

After this flashback, Obinze realizes that Chief is exactly like the other rich men in Nigeria that treat others, especially women, unequally.
Setting: Obinze’s thoughts.


Box 7:
Obinze: “Dear Ifemelu, I am not proud of the man I have become. These rich politicians have taken over me and have made me into the man I never thought I would become. It’s time for a change and im hoping you can help me see my old self.”

Obinze becomes disgusted with himself, and wants to make a change. He realizes that he not only associates himself with these kinds of people, but he may become one of them. Whether he wants to or not.
Setting: Obinze’s Office writing out his feelings.



  1. Bibliography

“Nigeria Corruption Report.” Business Anti-Corruption Portal, May 2017,

Nigerian Corruption Report from the Business Anti-Corruption Portal is a profile-like information page about the corrupt aspects of Nigerian government. It goes through each section of government, analyzes it, and determines its corrupt, if so, how corrupt and why it’s corrupt. The Business Anti Corruption Portal is the most used resource for this content. It has been around since 2004, and is comprised of a team of international leaders within this industry. We used this source to connect the personality traits of Chief, with real world corruption characteristics. We also used this source to connect Obinze’s mothers’ situation with her University and the strikes that she inevitably participated in, to real world issues with Nigeria’s civil society.


Oji, Mazi Kanu, and Valerie U. Oji. Corruption in Nigeria : The Fight and Movement to Cure the Malady. UPA, 2010. EBSCOhost,

Corruption in Nigeria addresses the effects of corruption in Nigeria and provides a concise overview for a lasting solution. Offering insight from the authors’ original thinking and experiences, the book traces corruption from colonial rule through nearly fifty years of successive civilian and military government, counter coupes, and ethical reform programs that were launched using Mazi A. Kanu Oji’s ideas. The experience of Nigeria, as the most populous country in Africa with great potential for becoming one of the world’s leading nation-states, is relevant to African studies, political science, public administration, and leadership studies, as well as U.S. and global policy interests on health and human rights, ethical leadership, and governance in Africa. This source was a big help when it came to addressing the overall corruption in Nigeria and showing how strong it truly is. 


Iyam, David. “‘Full’ Men and ‘Powerful’ Women: The Reconstruction of Gender Status among the Bias of Southeastern Nigeria.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des Études Africaines, vol. 30, no. 3, 1996, pp. 387–408. JSTOR,

Wealth plays an important role in acquiring a social position; it is to her that we owe the differentiation between persons classified in a hierarchy based on social prestige; but once rich, women discover that there is a distinction based on sex. The social and economic success of a woman rarely allows her to climb the social ladder; in fact, it sometimes has the opposite effect, that of lowering its position. bias research in southwestern Nigeria suggests that a woman’s respect for social and economic wealth does not give her access to a more privileged social position or political authority. although this respect is greater than that accorded to the occupational group to which it belongs. In addition, it is no longer the difference in gender roles that explains gender inequality, but deep differentiation between the sexes. Wealth has become an important foundation from which even women in seemingly egalitarian cultures place themselves in clearly defined social squares within the social hierarchy. This source was a help when it came to backing up the wealthy man status of Chief throughout the novel and also gave insight on what Obinze was trying to avoid becoming. 


Okwuagbala Uzochukwu Mike P. (2014, November 25). Corruption in Nigeria: Review, Causes, Effects, and Solutions. Retrieved from

Corruption in Nigeria is one of its biggest challenges. Apparently corruption is found in every part of society. Corruption is a broad topic that could be separated into smaller sections. It could be the illegitimate use of power to benefit a personal interest, the offering of a bribe to an official so the truth could be hidden, embezzlement of public funds, and any  act that is considered to be criminal in nature. In the political nature in Nigeria, due to the level of corruption, politicians find it difficult to align themselves. They believe once they take any position in politics they’re stuck and have to use corrupt trick to fill their pockets.

Nigeria, which is the setting of our script and storyboard. Most importantly, it was the setting of the novel, Americannah. This source has very valuable information to help us. First, it connects to our proposal. What exactly is corruption, and what does it entail in Nigeria? Corruption in Nigeria can be interpreted in many different ways. It starts with embezzlement and ends with the Nigeria’s political system, where corruption levels are highest. Obinze comes into contact many times with political corruption. Obinze doesn’t like the way Chief is and how everyone acts when around Chief. Chief also has Obinze go and participate in a shady act for him. Obviously, when Chief first brings this opportunity to Obinze, he looks forward to it due to the rewards he gets. Eventually, Obinze feels as if his life has gone down a wrong path and isn’t what he wanted in his life.