Let us now take a detailed look at the character and role of the character called Aloho in the play, Harvest of Corruption by Frank Ogodo Ogbeche.
Aloho’s physical attributes
- She is a slim young woman
- Aloho is dark-skinned
- She is of medium height, about 4 feet, 6 inches tall
Aloho’s Social and economic background
- Aloho comes from a stable family background.
She is the eldest of her parents’ children. Her parents are living in her hometown with her younger siblings. One such sibling is Okpotu, her 22-year-old brother who will bring the news of her death during childbirth to Ogeyi, her bosom friend.
- Aloho is unmarried
- Aloho is a brilliant university graduate.
She graduated with Second Class Upper in Mass Communication from the University of Azuka
- Aloho is jobless at the beginning of the play.
This is in spite of the fact that she was a serious student and a born again Christian with very high morals
Being unemployed and without any source of income, Aloho cannot afford to rent accommodation of her own. She has therefore been squatting with Ogeyi since her arrival in Jabu in search of a job. Ogeyi works as a receptionist at ABC Company, Ayokolo.
The two friends live at Number 2 Gbossa Street, Pannya.
Key aspects of Aloho’s character
- In her desperate search for a job, Aloho acts naively with a rather childish sense of judgment.
She is very much aware of the corrupting influence that Ochuole can have on anyone who comes close to her. In spite of this knowledge, Aloho still goes ahead to accept a job offer from Ochuole’s boss and casual lover, Chief Haladu Ade-Amaka.
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More shocking is the fact that Aloho, blinded by her desperation, persistently refuses to listen to good advice from Ogeyi, her only trusted friend, not to entangle her life in the dark dealings of Ochuole.
Aloho agrees to go on a dubious errand to the United States “to deliver documents” (which turn out to be cocaine) she has not seen with her own eyes. The haste with which this trip has been arranged and the fact that Chief and Ochuole will not let her have any say in the preparations seem not to bother her much. So Aloho walks blindfolded into a situation she will live to regret.
Thus, Aloho discovers too late that she has been used as an innocent sacrificial lamb on Chief’s altar of corruption.
Another proof of her naivety is the speed with which she allows Chief to have sexual relations with her. Ogeyi gets to know of this sordid affair only when a distraught Aloho announces her three-month-old pregnancy.
- Aloho is easily deceived
We are tempted to conclude that apart from her childlike behaviour, Aloho is also easily fooled by outward appearances. This trait is exhibited so eloquently in the way Aloho easily brushes aside her born-again Christian principles upon having a peep into Ochuole’s ostentatious lifestyle.
After visiting Ochuole’s home, Aloho begins to develop an appetite for material possessions. She ignores Ogeyi’s warnings to be careful. Aloho now finds no reason why she should continue to suffer when her Christian decency and dignity has not been of any visible benefit to her so far. She must follow Ochuole, come what may, so she too can have a slice of the good life.
- Greed and self-interest begin to cloud Aloho’s judgment. She asks Ogeyi,
“Don’t you want to live in a good and big flat, wear decent clothes? Let’s face it. I think we are cheating ourselves. Being born again does not mean we should sit down and fold our arms waiting for God …”
And this clouded judgment is what will become her undoing – a deeply embarrassing arrest for drug trafficking, unwanted pregnancy and premature death.
- Aloho is stubborn
Her stubbornness is seen in the way she is able to continue to follow Ochuole despite the unrelenting efforts made by Ogeyi to save her from danger. If she is not naturally stubborn, then it is her unending state of joblessness which may have led to this.
“… Don’t you pity me? Don’t you want me to actualize my dream? Common, Ogeyi give me a chance. At least you have something doing, what have I? How long do I have to depend on you for everything? I still believe that God is in control, Just pray for me, okay! I have not deviated from the path. All I need is a job like you or any other person.”
Either way, it is clear that Aloho sees fire and consciously steps into it. Her obstinacy is largely responsible for her troubles. Ogeyi’s prophetic remark, “You are really determined to kill yourself” sums it all up.
Positive attributes in Aloho’s character
- Aloho is an adorable child
Her younger brother, Okpotu gives testimony to this effect when he comes to deliver the sad news of Aloho’s death to Ogeyi. She was a child of great promise upon whom her parents and siblings placed all their hopes.
Unfortunately, however, Aloho, consumed by a corrupt social system, fails to fulfil her own aspirations and those of her loved ones.
- Aloho is a cheerful and likeable friend
This is why Ogeyi never abandons her in her moment of trouble even as Aloho has blatantly refused to heed the good counsel of her trusted friend.
In fact, even in her stubbornness, Aloho remains loyal and very friendly towards Ogeyi. She makes every effort to allay Ogeyi’s fears.
“Ogeyi, I am going right now. I want to get a job and I will try to be careful about it.”
Sadly, however, Aloho in her desperation appears to throw all caution to the wind. In Ogeyi’s estimation, Aloho’s terrible choices that have led to her ruin could only be attributed to either her being daft or greedy or both.
The role of Aloho in Harvest of Corruption
- Aloho contributes to the development of the plot of Harvest of Corruption in a significant way.
Frank Ogodo Ogbeche’s play, Harvest of Corruption, is mainly about the Aloho phenomenon in many African countries. She is, therefore, the central character around whom all the action revolves. Aloho’s dreams, her inadequacies, her choices and the outcomes of those choices are what move the drama from one stage to the next and to the final resolution.
For instance, her decision to accept the dubious job of Protocol Officer to the Honourable Minister of External Relations creates what we may call the rising action of the play.
The turning point in the plot is reached at the time she is arrested at the airport.
The pain caused her by Aloho’s death is what will move Ogeyi to assist the incorruptible ACP Yakubu by giving incriminating evidence against Chief and his criminal gang of nation wreckers. This court case marks the climax which culminates in the resolution of the conflicts when the bad people are punished and Aloho’s death avenged.
- Aloho’s experiences are used by the playwright to develop the theme of corruption in the play.
There are lots of other Alohos in the society who, in their desperate search for economic opportunities for a decent life, become unsuspecting tools in the hands of corrupt government officials like Chief. The extent of abuse of power, immorality and financial malfeasance in high places is mind-boggling.
This explains why, rather than being pleased and relieved, Aloho is horrified at the fact that she could easily be let off the hook by Justice Odili in the cocaine case, right in the face of glaring incriminating evidence.
“… This country is bad. How can the Judge say he discharged me for want of evidence? I wish to God I know what Chief must have done to him. I am sure they are both collaborators in the same game. Everything was with me red-handed. Ogeyi, can you believe that? That Chief is a devil. The very Satan himself. I am yet to understand what is really going on. I feel like a lamb being slaughtered on the altar of corruption …”
Aloho also believes that she has become both an unwitting accomplice and victim in the widespread corruption in the society. She regrets rather too late that she failed to listen to Ogeyi’s advice. Her profound and moving statement,
“I think I have started the harvest of corruption” speaks eloquently to the title of the play, Harvest of Corruption.
- Finally, in many respects, Aloho represents what Ogeyi is not.
We never can tell what would have happened to Ogeyi if she too had found herself in Aloho’s jobless condition. Under the circumstances, however, Aloho is used to portray Ogeyi as a young woman with very high moral and Christian principles.
It is Aloho’s experiences that provide us with the opportunity to see how supportive and loyal Ogeyi is as a friend. She provides shelter for her jobless friend, admonishes her, though unsuccessfully, against falling into bad company and stands by her, even in her death, by making sure that those who caused Aloho all her troubles are duly punished.